Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meat - A Great Side Dish

Elaine and I have had a produce CSA for 3 years through Stillman's Farm in Lunenburg, MA and absolutely love it. For those of you unfamiliar, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a great way to support local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in your area. Purchasing a CSA share in advance allows the small farmer to have seed money in advance to grow his crops and allows him to better estimate how much produce he will be able to sell all season long. Not only are we supporting a local family farm, we are also getting fresh seasonal produce, which is conscientiously grown with the health of the earth and the eater (us!) in mind. Plus, its a really fun challenge to use up all of our produce every week. We love it and next to baseball, its the best thing about summertime. To find a CSA near you, check out these great listings.

Stillman's also offers a meat CSA which we had talked about signing up for for WAY too long before we actually did it. At first we just though it would be a cool thing to do, now I practically think its mandatory if I'm going to continue to eat meat. Movies like Food, Inc. and books like The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food have gone over these point ad naseum so I won't continue to belabor them here (but if you haven't checked these out, I would really encourage you to do so), but needless to say, I am really not interested in being a part of the the industrial food chain any longer.

This is not to say that I didn't eat really cheap (yet delicious) Chinese food on Sunday night. I did. I am not perfect (surprise!) and I am not always going to choose local, sustainable, organic. However, I am going to think twice about what I'm putting in my body and the fact that I am so lucky to have the luxury of choice - to not simply have to choose the cheapest quickest option.

Our Meat CSA includes 10 lbs. a month of conscientiously raised deliciousness. We split this among the three people who eat in this home and once its gone, no more until next month. This may seem like not a lot of meat for three people, but, let's face it, Americans eat far too much of the stuff and as Michael Pollan says at the beginning of In Defense of Food, meat may be better approached as a side dish anyway. We are lucky to have grown up eating a lot of vegetarian meals, so it is not too hard for us to eat less meat. One month in, we actually had meat LEFTOVER at the end of the month and are finding it more of a treat when we do eat it. Plus, we aren't scraping the bottom of the barrel here, this meat is really good stuff.

Here's what we got this month:
  • Two thick cut pork chops
  • Ground pork
  • Beef chuck steak
  • Three chicken quarters
  • Three sausages
  • Country style pork ribs
We'll let you know what we do with all of it.

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