Day 41–Farmhand Foods Meatbox

Meat in a box. When we began our journey almost 7 weeks ago, I wasn’t sure what resources were available to our family other than what we could find at the farmer’s markets (and that was more than I though also!). What a wonderful coincidence that I saw a tweet from @farmhandfoods for a winter meat box. Meat in a box sounded strange, but in the spirit of adventure, we thought we would give it a try. I promised an update on our experience, so here it is!

Farmhand Foods of Durham works with NC pasture-based beef and pork producers who have a commitment to sustainable livestock production and who raise antibiotic and growth hormone free animals that are pasture-raised and pasture-fed. After doing a bit of research and reading their online protocols, I found that Farmhand Foods is a highly reputable organization with a sincere passion for improving food supply options. Founded and operated by two smart women–Tina Prevatte and Jennifer Curtis, Farmhand Foods also works with small-scale, inspected processing facilities that practice humane animal handline and care. Together with Sales and Distribution Manger Drew Brown, Farmhand Foods connects pasture-based farmers with the consumers who love their products throughout the Triangle area. I really love their business model and commitment to having a sustainable food system.

But back to the meat box. When we ordered our box in January, I wondered if it would be an affordable addition to our budget. We ordered three boxes (Jan, Feb, March) and each box worked out to $45. Each box includes three different cuts of meat–a braising cut, a grilling cut and a roasting cut. Two of the cuts are beef and one is pork. I’m not positive, but I think our first box was about 8-10 lbs of meat, which is a decent amount of food for three people!

We just finished the last of our January box for Super Bowl Sunday, and I think we all agree as a family that it was a great choice. Our January box included two meaty beef shanks, a large skirt steak and a 3 lb. mini boneless ham. The beef shanks were braised for an Italian ragu and they were, quite frankly, amazing. The skirt steak was very flavorful and surprisingly tender (I think I had confused skirt steak and flank steak, but skirt steak is much, MUCH better). And the ham, which we roasted with a local honey and mustard glaze, was so darn good that I dreamed about it. Really. I have never had ham that tasted so good.

Each cut of meat provided more than one meal for our small family (the ham alone provided at least three meals), so were able to work it into our weekly budget very easily. The meat tasted a lot better than store-bought, was healthier for us, and provided us opportunities to experiment with new recipes and cooking methods. All in all, we deem this experiment a success. And we can’t wait for our February box, which arrives next week!

This is all to say, that if you are in the Research Triangle area, Farmhand Foods is a high quality resource that we recommend. If you aren’t in this area, I would encourage you to find out if something similar exists near you and to give it a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised!

Advertisements

Day 37–Local Produce and Art

And now, for something different…

Fresh, local, sustainable food nourishes our bodies, but art nourishes our soul. Artist Joe Wirtheim of Portland, Oregon has an inspired series of food posters that harken back to the Victory Garden movement of the 1940s. His “Victory Garden of Tomorrow” series is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I thought I would share them with you because being a healthy person is more than just eating right–it also includes seeing beauty and possibility in the world around you.

You can find the series on Wirtheim’s website, www.victorygardenoftomorrow.com or on Etsy at his online shop http://www.etsy.com/people/joeseppi# I love these prints–vintage, yet focusing on the issues with today’s food supply. Here is what Joe Wirtheim has to say:

I call my art project “The Victory Garden of Tomorrow.” It is a self-commissioned poster campaign designed to channel the bold energy of historical poster propaganda. It is committed to civic innovation and social progress — better food, better gardens, and better cities. It is design, politics and whimsy for the modern home front. [more on the web site].

I think these posters, cards and t-shirts are really inspired and inspirational. My favorite is the girl hugging a chicken. Or the atomic greens. Or the floursack dish towels…Or…

Check out his website!