Due to a scheduling snafu on my part, I was not able to take photos of the final meat CSA from Clarion River Organics, but I still want to relay what we got, because it was pretty awesome.
The chickens were all stewing hens this month, since in other months we got more roasters. We found that slow cooking a stewing hen in the crockpot produced pretty flavorful meat for us to use in salads and wraps (that just fell right off the bone with minimal work required). We'll probably do that again soon so we can boost our supply of stock again.
For beef, we got a big roast, some bones for soup, sirloin steak and the usual ground beef, as well as some all-beef hot dogs. The bones will come in handy because I'm going to need a supply of beef stock for the winter as well.
As a side note, we have saved so much money over the last few years by making our own stock. Not only does it save us money, but it allows us to control the seasoning and the portion size for freezing to reduce waste.
This month it was the pork share that really got us excited. Not only did we get more sausage, chops and ribs, but two types of bacon. I adore bacon, but rarely eat it, since it's very expensive to buy pastured pork products in the store, and we don't often have pork belly for Mark to cure some of his own. We are going to enjoy every bite of that bacon.
Last but not least, we got pork fat. Yep, FAT. And we are psyched. Why? Because you can render pork fat into lard. LARD. Real lard. From a local farm. Which we have never found in the Pittsburgh area before (unless there's some place I'm missing). I've always wanted to make a pie crust with lard. (If you haven't guessed, we're not a fat-phobic household. We drink and eat full fat dairy products. Moderation is our philosophy. Plus you can't convince me a little pork fat is less healthy than a cup of Crisco. Anyway.)
I'll probably do a post when we render the fat and share how it turns out. Our CSA email provided a link to a how-to, so that should really help. (Yet another benefit of CSAs - they have a vested interest in you being able to actually use and consume their products.)
This was the last month for the meat CSA this season. If Clarion River offers the meat CSA again next year, we will most definitely sign up. (We've now got a freezer full of meat to eat for the next 6 months!) We've made a lot of great dishes with their products and the quality is high for the price. It's also made us really conscious of using up what we have and cooking from the freezer, rather than from the grocery store shelves. It was a great experience, and I encourage anyone interested in sourcing their meat from local farms to give it a try and check out their options. (They offer the chicken, pork and beef share separately so you can order based on your preference - we just really like chicken, pork and beef.)
Also, if you want to try their meat out before you consider a CSA subscription, visit them at the Pittsburgh Public Market this winter in its new location!
Thanks Clarion River Organics!