100_4489We’ve belonged to our current meat CSA for nearly a year, and unfortunately, since the drought last summer, the quality has decreased while the price has increased.  We are now getting cuts that we don’t mind once in a while like ham hocks and neck bones, but these items come fairly frequently.  Our last CSA delivery is next week, and after that, we’re not going to renew.

We still want to buy local, grass fed meat, though.  An internet search on localharvest.org put us in touch with a family farm about 2 hours from our home.

Before we signed up for this CSA, though, we decided to visit the farm.  My husband and I wanted to see how the animals were raised, talk to the farmer, and let our children see a working farm in action.

Last week on a gorgeous spring day, we headed out to the farm.

Visiting the Farm

The farmer and his wife have 7 children, and farming is a family effort.  They have approximately 80 cows, 50 pigs and chickens both for eggs and meat.

The pigs stay in the barn, though both ends of the barn are completely open so they get the fresh air and sunshine.  I found it amazing that the frisky, running piglets grow into large 250 to 300 pound animals in just 6 months.  I also was surprised to hear the sounds they make–more like barks than snorts.

The cows are on pasture, and when we saw them, they were just lounging in the grass.

The chickens produce about 140 eggs a day.  They also had baby chicks that were only 8 days old.  My kids loved seeing those!  The farmer’s daughter also brought them a baby duck to pet.

What We’ll Order

Right now, we’re paying $3.40 per dozen for organic eggs at Costco.  However, after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma (a book review of that is coming shortly), I learned that just because eggs are organic doesn’t mean that the chickens are raised humanely.  Instead, large egg farms keep them enclosed in barns in such tight living quarters that they cut off the chickens’ beak tips so they can’t attack one another.  That’s not how I want to get my eggs.

Eggs from this farm, where the chickens have plenty of room to graze and our free to go outdoors, cost $4 per dozen.  My husband and I will gladly pay the price difference of .60 cents, and we can’t wait to see how much better the eggs taste and look.  We’ll get our first delivery in May.

We also signed up for the meat CSA.  We’re going to skip the beef from them since I get beef from my cousin’s husband.  Instead, we’ll be getting at least two whole chickens per month and cuts of pork.  We’ll pay $90 for approximately 18 pounds of meat.  That’ll equate to $5 per pound, which I think is a great price for eating local, organic, mostly grass fed meat.

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