CSA Meat :: Eat Local
Since the official closing of the trial run of my beloved Meat CSA, the Sonoma Meat Buying Club, I’ve been mostly eating vegetarian. Between chickens from a local small farm, and eggs from a friend, I still couldn’t bring myself to try meat from the grocery store again. I’ve been spoiled by the fresh, local cuts, and I know that nothing compares.
There are a few other Meat CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in the area, and a number of local ranches that sell from the Farmers Markets, and those that sell by the whole cow or portion.
Wyeth Acres in Healdsburg is one of the few Meat CSAs that allow you to subscribe month to month, and a portion as little as 5 pounds a month. Most other require a pre paid minimum subscription of three or six months. What they don’t raise or grow there, they source from other small local farms. Rian also offers fresh vegetables as an option to add when you pick up.
GoLocal member Gleason Ranch in Bodega offers a few pickup locations besides their idyllic farm, and include portions of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. CSA subscribers also get 10% off of additional meat purchases from their booth at the Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, and Windsor Farmers Markets. The sixth generation family business also offers whole and half carcasses if you have a lot of friends or a really big freezer.
In the end, I subscribed to the Olufs Ranch CSA. They raise all their Angus cattle in Windsor, feeding them grain grown on site, as well as local barley, and rotate crops and livestock. The pork and lamb they offer in the CSA package comes from two other local producers, and Olufs Ranch provided a large percentage of meat to my dearly departed Sonoma County Meat Buying Club. For now the monthly Meat CSA shares are available at their ranch in Windsor, but plan to offer pick up locations around the county by November.
In the meantime, though, Olufs Ranch is opening up their pumpkin patch all through October, open from 1pm until dusk on weekdays and 9am to dusk on weekends. I’ll be sure to bring the kids to the October meat pickup (if not sooner) to check out the hay pyramid, a hay and corn maze, hay rides, and a petting zoo.
Besides the taste of locally and sustainably raised meat, it is safer, healthier, and better for the environment. The local economy is strengthened when you buy local, and a large portion of each dollar spent with any of these local family farms go back into the local economy. Did I mention that it tastes better, too? That alone sold me, but the other benefits keep me coming back.
(c) 2010 Cath Tullysmith
Cath Tullysmith writes about her house, family, food, and living Waldorf at home at waldorfmodern.com. Her house projects have been featured on Soule Mama, Apartment Therapy, the Kitchn, and AOL’s DIY Life.