Top Ten reasons to join the Meat CSA
Good morning friends and local food eaters,
Pay by the month options are now open for July to November CSA season!
Top Ten Reasons to join the Meat CSA:
1. Eating “clean” meats free of growth hormones, pesticides, GMOs, antibiotics, and preservatives reduces the amount of toxins you and your family are exposed to. Every day, we are exposed to way more chemicals (and simultaneously less nutrients due to plant breeding and soil depletion) than our ancestors were. Some of this we have very little control over, like the diesel fumes and EMFs. However, in many areas of our life, we do have significant control over what we are exposed to, such as water, food, personal/home care products, and container use to name a few. This is important because our immune system, which is basically our body’s ability to maintain good health via immunity to disease and reproductive ability, depends on it. In order to help maintain our own high functioning organs, as well as ward off degenerative diseases including cancer, it should be a priority for all of us to reduce our toxic load, at least as much as we can. Most pesticides and contaminants are known to accumulate in the adipose tissue, too, so especially make sure the fatty meat you eat is organic.
Still not sure? How about the fact that environmental toxins we are exposed to will affect the health of our children and grandchildren by setting them up with a healthy (or not) genetic start.
2. Pasture-raised meats are healthier for you, the farm, the animals, and the environment. You can learn more about how we raise animals on pasture, and see them for yourself at our farm visiting days. I’ve written about the health benefits of pasture raised meats as one of the primary ways that buying meat from North Mountain Pastures is different than buying meat at Wegman’s. For more about why pasture-raised meats are a healthy choice, check out EatWild. What it comes down to is the common sense reality that animals (including farm animals and humans!) allowed to express their natural instincts, move in natural ways, and eat a natural diet are generally healthier and happier than when constrained by modern diet and norms (such as excessive sitting and driving. More about natural movement). We would not be surprised to hear about breeding problems of large mammals in small zoo enclosures - it’s somewhat obvious that they may not have what they need to be healthy and reproductively capable in that artificial setting. Yet for some reason, consumers often do not think twice about the meat that they buy coming from pigs crammed into a warehouse with no natural sunlight, plants, soil, or space, and fed chemical laden grains and antibiotics. To us, forced feeding and breeding of animals in indoor, tight confinement is not only inhumane; it is (at the risk of oversimplification) unnatural, and therefore unhealthy for them and us.
3. NMP meats are delicious. Many older folks have told us that our food tastes “like it used to taste”, back when they were young, on their grandparents farms. We’ve also been told, repeatedly, that it is very difficult to go back to store bought meats once you’ve tasted good fresh pasture-raised meats. Our basic premise is to just try to raise animals that are as healthy and stress-free as possible; this is done by our focus on improving pastures, paddock rotations, and moveable shelters. The quality produced with these practices speaks for itself in the taste of the finished product. With our naturally cured meats (sausages, hot dogs, beef sticks, etc.), we are purists about ingredients. The only thing we add to our cured meats is unrefined himalayan sea salt and certified organic spices. No nitrates, fillers, preservatives, or any other junk.
4. Convenience is paramount these days, as we all run around, some of us no longer having time for daily showers let alone regular meal prep. How is buying a CSA share convenient? Don’t you have to go to the place and pick it up at a certain time? Yes. It’s true. However, we do have freezers at four PA locations now to greatly extend the pickup hours to fit your schedule. We also provide eggs and additional items at the delivery, as well as options for extra quick cooking convenient cuts of meat. But the real perk of the CSA share is that because it is pre-packed, you are relieving yourself of decision fatigue. No need to decide which cuts or how much, no need to peruse aisles or go from vendor to vendor. If you order the correct meat share type and size for your family, then you should have enough healthy choices to last you for the whole month. Then the real convenience presents itself: the fact that you have everything you need in your freezer, and no need to shop for a month.
5. Buying an NMP meat CSA share WILL improve your cooking skills. That is a promise. We make a point to make sure at the delivery that you are familiar with the cuts you are getting, so that you know what to do with them. It might take a little recipe reading initially, and there is always that pesky bit about taking things out of the freezer ahead of time. But after a few months, anything “shanks” won’t seem daunting. True foodies abound in our membership, but so do busy working parents who just want a hot meal… and sometimes those groups aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, regardless of your ambition in the kitchen, you will probably be spending less overall time and energy cooking while creating awesome meals. This is because you’ll be getting used to the art of slow-cooking, thereby letting your crockpot robot do most of the work for you.
6. The meat CSA really can be affordable, even if your family is on a tight budget. We have a lot of recipes on our website for how to make stock, casseroles, and generally stretch meals for those who don’t really like to eat too much meat or can’t afford bacon for breakfast and steaks for dinner every day. Many of our meats including our sausages and hot dogs are cheaper than lesser quality options available at stores like Wegman's. When you make high quality food a priority but are on a tight budget, the question is not just "Can I afford to buy organic food?", but "Which foods are most important to buy organic?" The answer is that meat is high in importance due to the hormones and toxin accumulation in the fats.
7. Being a meat CSA member will make healthy eating a habit. This is a small step in the right direction of positive, healthy life habits. When you have a steady supply of the highest quality meat in your freezer at all times, you’ll probably take some out and cook it. And when you cook it, you’ll eat a meal that contains healthy protein, fats, vitamins and minerals instead of fast food or processed foods. And when you do eat this meat, you probably won’t usually want to eat potato chips and soda on the side. If you have meat in the oven or on the grill, it just makes sense to throw in some potatoes and vegetables with it. When you’re so satisfied with your meat and potatoes and salad, you won’t even have room for dessert. You’ll basically be ditching sugar, staying organized, and losing 20 pounds just by joining the meat CSA (gym membership and house-cleaning service not included).
8. Support local foods with a CSA membership. When you buy a product directly from a local farmer, you are supporting something much bigger than just that farmer’s business (thank you!). It is part of our mission as small farmers to create a change in the food system for the better. You are using your dollars to vote for a food system that is made up of many more small, diversified, local farms. This makes highest quality choices viable, as well as provides food security in a country where more and more of the grocery store products are variations of midwest GMO conventional corn and soy products and byproducts.
9. Choosing to buy a meat CSA share is environmentally responsible. We all feel the pressure of impending climate change and the societal and economic doom and gloom that goes along with it. Many consumers have chosen to eschew meat and eat as vegetarians to personally opt out of contributing to environmental decline. We believe that meat eating can be the environmentally responsible choice, IF it is meat that is raised responsibly. Our aim on our little patch of land is to improve the soils and biological diversity here so it improves the land’s vitality and production capability for future generations. That is in stark contrast to the conventional mindset of milking the soil of everything it’s got in an attempt to produce the maximum amount of commodity per acre. Shannon Hayes says of the contrast of pasture-raised meats versus conventional, as it affects the environment: “For one thing, it uses a lot less fossil fuels to produce. Animals walk to their feed; it doesn’t have to be produced in a monoculture setting and shipped to the farm [as can be the case with corn, which often constitutes the bulk of a grain-fed cow’s diet]. It’s better for the environment because proper grazing management decreases runoff, making the pastures more drought resistant and also spongier—able to take up more water in a flood situation. It increases biodiversity in the surrounding fields. And it’s shown to be practically carbon neutral. The pastures sequester carbon out of the atmosphere and fix it into the soil, which is what properly managed grass should do. And it protects the watershed because it doesn’t pollute. It’s not concentrating excrement.
10. NMP meats are all non-GMO. That means that our animals are never fed genetically modified organisms in their feed. What’s the big deal with GMOs? Your health. Although we are not certified organic at this time, we are serious about avoiding GMOs on our farm. Additionally, our practice of 100% pasture, all the time, is well beyond what certified organic standards are.
So there it is, the top ten reasons for joining the meat CSA. We hope that this season finds you and your family in a position to prioritize the health and wellbeing of you and your community.
Remember, our Farm Visiting Day is this Saturday June 4 2-7pm. See you soon!