Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Guide to Locally Raised Meat in the Boston Area

What I really want to be eating is more crunchy green things. But as I think I've whined about in every post in this blog so far, they're still not quite in season yet.

But fortunately meat keeps going all year round - and we're getting plenty of tasty things from our Chestnut Farm meat CSA. There are a few meat CSAs in this area, which all work pretty similarly - the season runs year round and you sign up and pay for 3 or 6 months of deliveries up front. Each month you pick up an assortment of meat selected by the farm based on what they've slaughtered that month. It comes frozen and you bring it home to your freezer and defrost it before cooking.

During farmers market season and at stores that specialize in local produce, these farms and others can also allow you to shop for specific cuts of meat.

Meat CSAs

Austin Brothers Farm in Belchertown has a monthly pickup in Central Square, Cambridge. The share includes beef and pork. You can order 5, 10, or 20 lbs for $9, $8.25, or $7.75 per lb respectively. You can add on eggs to the share. They offer metro pedal power bike delivery to your door (for an additional delivery fee) as well, to Watertown, Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, Charleston, Jamaica Plains and South Boston.

Chestnut Farms in Hardwick has a monthly pickup in Arlington Center (and a few other towns west of there as well.) The share includes beef, lamb, pork, and chicken. You can order 6 months at a time, 10 lbs for $8/lb, 15 lbs for $7.75/lb, 20 lbs for $7.50/lb, or 25 lbs for $7.00/lb. Shareholders can also add on Thanksgiving turkeys, easter hams, and buy eggs and bargain cuts (mainly offal) at the monthly pickups. You can request no-pork (kosher) shares or no-lamb shares if you wish.

Stillman's Farm in Hardwick has monthly pickups in Brookline, Jamaica Plain, Quincy, and Cambridge. The share includes beef, lamb, pork and chicken. You can order 6 months at a time, 5 lbs for $9/lb, 10lbs for $8/lb, and 20lbs for $7.75/lb, or 12 months at a time for additional discounts on 10 and 20 lb shares.

Other ways to buy local meat
Stillman's farm also sells meat at the Farmer's Market in Union Square, Somerville on Saturdays, as well as many other locations (downtown Boston, Lexington, Bedford, Cambridge, etc). A full list of their farmer's market locations is here You can contact them in advance to order specific items. Occasionally Cuisine en Locale sets up a meat order and delivery in the off-season in the Cambridge area as well. The price list to place orders is here.

Chestnut Farm sells meat at the Arlington Farmer's Market in Arlington Center on Wednesday afternoons, as well as the Natick and Lexington farmer's markets. You can also place orders in advance with them.

Austin Brothers Farm sells meat and eggs at the Central Square Farmer's Market in Cambridge on Monday afternoons, and some farmer's markets in Western MA. I believe they may have pasture raised veal available too, but don't see any references to it on their site.

Codman Community Farm in Lincoln has a farm store open daily (except Mondays, I believe - the farm itself is closed on Mondays) with meat from their cows, goats, and pigs and eggs from their chickens (supplemented often by eggs from Chip-in Farms in Bedford). Selection varies according to season. Choose meat packed into several freezers.

Drumlin Farm, a Mass Audubon site with many farm animals to visit as well as rescued birds, also has a freezer of meats for sale although selection is limited.

Natick Community Organic Farm sells meats at their farm store and at the Natick Farmer's Market and Natick Winter Farmer's Market.

River Rock Farm in Brimfield sells beef at the Somerville farmers' market in Davis Square on Wednesdays. They will deliver anywhere in Massachusetts for $10 for a $50-$150 order, $5 for a $150-$250 order, or free for orders over $250.

Signal Rock Farm in Charlton sells sheep milk products and lambs, at the Davis Square farmer's market on Wednesdays and the Lexington Farmer's markets on Tuesday afternoons in the fall.

Pete and Jen's in Concord sells chickens (which sell out like hotcakes), eggs, pork, rabbit, beef from another farm, and lamb by pre-order or from their mini-store in Concord.

Golden Egg Farm in Hardwick sells chicken and duck eggs at the Arlington, MA farmers markets, as well as sometimes whole chickens or the occasional lamb or goat. I'm watching closely - ducks may be available this summer.

Foxboro Cheese and Lawton's Family Farm in Foxboro are selling veal at the Davis Square farmer's market this
season (along with dairy products.) Dairy farms are often great source for local humanely treated veal - they have to do something with the half of their calves that aren't going to produce milk.

Sherman Market in Union Square, Somerville - a tiny locavore grocery store - has poultry and meat from a variety of local farms (not all mentioned here by name because they don't otherwise distribute to the Boston area) including Hardwick Beef, Misty Knoll poultry.