The Genuine Food Meat CSA had a ‘Meet and Greet’ Saturday. The farmers and chef hosted a gathering at Clementine restaurant in the Hamilton neighborhood of Baltimore, attended by about 18 CSA members. They gave an intro and explained part of the goals and motivation behind their formation of this CSA. I was nodding like a bobble-head doll. Steve Belkoff explained how even an organic label on a package of meat at the grocery store doesn’t guarantee that the meat was raised ethically, pasture raised, truly grass fed its whole life, etc. The only way to really know is to go meet that farmer, maybe even visit the farm and see the animals. Yup. Exactly the conclusion I had reached (well, the conclusion I arrived at with some pushing from friends, as I wrote about on my Journey to Local Food Part 2: Ethics.)
What’s in a Label?
Interestingly, they are not organic. For one thing, the only organic butcher they could use is in New Jersey. I hadn’t thought the way meat was slaughtered & butchered would be different for organic meat. But also, there is a significant amount of red tape in applying. Both those factors increase costs, which would have to be passed on.
Again, I was nodding. The veggie CSA I joined posted the same thing. I’d much rather buy products having met the farmer and seen the farm, although they don’t have an official “ORGANIC” label certification versus the opposite.
They fed us thinly sliced pork, beef, sausage, homemade pickles, and pork BBQ ‘sliders’ with homemade buns. I did take a small bite of the bun too but said to DH, “Meh. Nothing special, I don’t miss bread that much.” Everything was absolutely wonderful.
Sugar in Sausage – OK, how much?
I had a chance to chat with James, the maker of the sausage, and asked about sugar. I said, “I know sausage has sugar, but how much is it?” He estimated it’s about 4 tablespoons per 10 pounds of meat. LOL, 4 tablespoons per 10 # of meat – yes, that is certainly not worth worrying about!
Steve mentioned that the animals aren’t given hormones, and although the use of antibiotics isn’t routine, they will give them if an animal gets sick. However, that is a rare event. In elaborating in the way in which the animals are raised, Steve said that Bobby Prigel built some sort of structures for his pigs to play on; I believe with hay. He said it is actually amusing to watch them play.
They will be hosting another gathering in the spring at Prigel Family Creamery. Yes, you can bet we’re going to that one and you can bet we’re excited to see playful pigs. Hopefully I’ll capture some good video to post.
They have some availability so JOIN the meat CSA if you’re in the area!!
Oh, and my meat was frozen – haven’t cooked any yet, so I have nothing to report there. Soon to come!