Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Full Disclosure

For almost a year now, we have been getting all of our meat and vegetables (and some fruit) from a series of farms in Long Island, upstate New York and Vermont.  We are members of a CSA and there is an amazing farm that works with over 30 CSAs in the New York City area from Astoria to Yorkville, even West Chester and Long Island.

Lewis Waite Farms partners with a number of other farms to bring fresh products to people who care about things like organic, humanely raised meat, eggs and cheese.  They also offer products like honey, granola, bread, flour and beans.

The amazing thing is that you don't have to be a member of the CSA to order from them!  They simply use these drop off points as a matter of convenience.

What you see above is a month's order of meat, which arrives frozen straight from the farm.  All that you see there cost me $107.00.  That comes to about $25 a week and this order will feed us for the whole month.  That's 28 meals for 2 people for $25 a week.  This is how it breaks down:

Turkey breast, 1.5lbs: This is 2 meals, easy.  I cut it up so I end up with 4 cutlets.

Pastured Pork Sausage, 1lb: This is 4 meals.  It gets browned, one link at a time, and added to soups, pasta, or eggs to add a little flavor.

Two, 3lb. chickens: 6+ meals.  One night it's the best roast chicken you ever ate.  Then the leftovers get frozen to be made into tacos or to go into chicken soup.  Then, each carcass becomes 4 quarts of chicken stock (which also goes in the freezer) to be made into soup or risotto. (So really that's 14 meals.)

Pork Shoulder, 5lbs.:  This is about 6+ meals.  I'll braise the pork on a Sunday afternoon and serve it over polenta or mashed potatoes with some fresh veggie slaw.  The rest gets portioned out (about 1 cup per portion) and frozen.  This will become tacos, added to tomato sauce for a heart pasta, or bulked up with veggies and more broth for a pork based stew.  This is bone in, too, so add 4 quarts of stock or 8 meals.

1lb. each ground pork, beef and turkey:  This is 4 meals.  Destined to become chili.  Several lunches or dinner for friends.

A dozen eggs: This 6 meals. We eat eggs for breakfast, but also often for dinner, in the form of nice frittata with some cheese, sausage and veggies, or poached on top of a pile of kale and polenta.

Marinated feta in herbs and olive oil:  This is, like, 12 meals.  No really.  The feta will be eaten, little by little in salads and omelets, but the olive oil, infused with herbs and sun dried tomatoes, becomes a vinaigrette!  (OK, so vinaigrette isn't a meal, but think of the money you save not buying that fancy bottled salad dressing.)

38 meals, for $107. that's about $3 per meal.  Obviously, I'm not counting the extras, like olive oil or pasta, and our CSA share costs us $20 a week, but add it all up and it's still maybe around $50 a week. For two people.  That's not bad.

I learned my lesson early.  The fancy lamb chops, at $15 a pop, were not really a bargain and best saved for very special occasions.  It was best to get the more humble cuts of meat and let them do more work.  I do spurge on $15 chickens, but they are soooo worth it.  (I actually look forward to roast chicken night like it's Christmas Eve.)  But is it really a splurge if one chicken can give us 7 meals?  Also, thick cut, hardwood smoked bacon, without nitrates.  The best bacon you'll ever eat.

This post isn't sponsored by Lewis Waite Farms.  I just think what they're doing is really great and want to spread the word.

And I want people to know that getting really good, really healthy, humanely raised meat is not a luxury reserved for people who have lots of money to throw around.  It's affordable if you go right to the source.

Our CSA starts up again in 2 weeks and I am insanely excited!  I want to share more of that with you as well and maybe some sample menus.  What do you think?  Is that something you'd be interested in?


CityMinx said...

That looks so good! I wish my sched was predictable enough to do a caa, but I'm afraid we would get busy and half the stuff would spoil

Karen said...

I wish I could buy like this. I have a pre-teen boy who eats me out of house and home, and eats portions meant for 3 or 4 people. It's becoming more and more impossible to make something and have leftovers to use for something else. And I have another 7 or 8 years left of him at home to continue eating me out of house and home. Yay? :)

Rebecca said...

Jill, make the freezer your friend! Veggies we don't get to in time get blanched and frozen. Also, sometimes I have marathon cooking days, where I make tons of soup and stock and freeze, freeze, freeze!

Rebecca said...

Karen, sometimes I'm definitely shocked when The Man eats half a chicken! I'm, like, "That was supposed to be lunch!"