Saturday, June 26, 2010

Meat, Vegetables and CSAs

I admit it, I'm a carnivore. However, I have become convinced of the benefits of organic grass finished beef, as well as pastured pork, lamb, and even chicken and turkey. First of all, meat animals that have had something like a normal life, and that eat grass TASTE fabulous rather than like a combination of fat and and cardboard. Second, grain in an animals diet changes the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fats in a negative way. Grass fed animals (in other words, animals that are eating what they are evolved to eat) produce omega3:6 in, as you might expect, the precise ratio that makes them most beneficial for human consumption.

For this summer, rather than hitting the markets and farms as I have done in the past, I discovered a CSA that does organic pastured finished meats - beef, pork, lamb and chicken.

CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture". In general, a CSA farm sells shares of their crop to anyone who wants to buy one for a lump sum in the spring (Usually around $600-$800) and then every week until the end of growing season, you get a share of whatever has been harvested. Your money up front means that the farmer has some liquid cash to buy seed etc without having to go to the bank, and you also accept some of the risk - for example, if the lettuce gets attacked by some horrible bug, you don't get any lettuce. On the up side, you get loads (and I mean LOADS) of picked-today organic veg. Generally, CSAs have a number of central pick up points where you go to collect your goodies.

But I'd never come across a CSA that did meat before - until now. The Stoddart Family Farm offers 10 pounds of mixed organic meats per month for 6 months for $495. That's about $8.95 per pound. You'll never find organic grass fed meat at Whole Foods for that price! All the meats - lamb, beef, chicken and pork, are produced organically on their pasture. I also picked up an "egg share" - thats 4 dozen duck and chicken eggs per month. These are barnyard eggs from birds that spend their days on the grass. If you want to learn more about the Stoddart Family Farm, their website is

Today I picked up my first box. There are 3 chicken quarters, two cuts of berkshire pork, and  beef burgers. The challenge for Jeff and I will be to stay within 10 pounds of meat per month, but we decided to try it for the duration of the summer CSA, which goes until November. We also eat lots of fish, and I'm planning a couple vegetarian nights per week as well. We'll see how things go.

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