A couple of weeks ago I kvetched about missing the deadline for the last meat co-op delivery. You can't keep a good woman meatless. Incensed about forgetting to hit the checkout button on my order, I emailed the farmer's wife to ask if there were any way to buy from a different delivery location. However, driving all the way to the farm, about two hours away, was not my preferred pick-up destination.
If you've kept up with the organic, non-GMO, local, free-range debate in books and movies over the past few years, you would know the farmer. The products he sells -- beef, pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, and sometimes rabbit, lamb, duck, and duck eggs -- are all free-range. After seeing the farmer prominently in one of the food debate movies and discovering just how close the farm is, my research turned up several co-op delivery sites in my neck of the woods.
Meat products are as seasonal as vegetables and fruit. Chicken lay more eggs when there's more sunlight in the summer before slacking off to almost none in the winter. Cows and pigs and sheep give birth in the spring in the northern hemisphere. If you want to have suckling pig or a leg of lamb for a spring holiday and expect to buy it a week before the holiday, chances are it's from Australia or New Zealand where it would be autumn and the piglet or lamb would be big enough for slaughter. If you want local piglet or lamb, you'll need to freeze it until the spring.
The farmer's wife wrote back allowing me to pick up at a different delivery site. Joy! Elation! And the delivery date isn't until the second week of December! That means that the freezer will have been emptied a bit more with all the Thanksgiving dishes having been eaten yesterday.
Good thing. Since this is the absolute last delivery until late spring next year, I'll need to stock up. My order included:
1/4 cow (approximately 110 lbs. of meat)
1/2 pig (approximately 100 lbs. of meat)
2 Filet mignons
5 Delmonico steaks
10 lbs. ground beef
That 1/4 cow and 1/2 pig means a quarter of the cow and a half of the pig. You can order a whole animal if you want, but we don't have that much freezer space.
My only regret is that the cuts won't include a standing rib roast for Christmas or a ham shank for New Year's. He didn't have any lamb available either. Maybe the other farmer who shows up at the farmers' market has a leg of lamb to stick in the freezer for Easter.
The one thing about holidays from my childhood home that I never liked was back-to-back meals. Mama served turkey for Thanksgiving and again for Christmas, and ham for New Year's Day and again for Easter. In my house, the now tradition is turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving, beef rib roast and Yorkshire pudding for Christmas, ham, collards, and black-eyed peas for New Year's Day, and lamb and asparagus for Easter. Oh, and pancakes on Shrove Tuesday which needs bacon or sausage as an accompaniment.
Darn it! I didn't order any bacon or sausage. Back to the order form!
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