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New meat CSA, delivering to Melrose

Houde Family Farm of St. Johnsbury, VT, is going to start deliveries next week to Melrose. This is his first year trying this, and he wasnt sure if he'd get enough people signed up to make it economically feasible, but he just emailed everyone who was interested and said it's a go. Yay!

The shares are available in 10 or 20 lb amounts. A 10 lb share is $6.50 per pound ($455 for a share) and a 20 lb share is $6.25 per pound ($875 for a share.) The meats consist of pork, veal and beef. Each share will get approximately 1/2 hamburger and stew meat, the other half the better cuts. Sometimes there would be more burger, sometimes mostly better cuts. The meats are humanely raised, antibiotic/growth hormone-free.

The meats will be delivered, frozen, on seven Thursdays, between 4 and 6:30pm to the Knoll field in Melrose (across from the middle school). Delivery dates are June 28, July 26, August 23, September 20, October 18, November 15, December TBA.

He's got a website but it's a work in progress. It's currently at http://pageproducer.wildblue.net/houd... but he says it will be redone by the end of the month and will be at www.houdefamilyfarm.com

The info on the CSA isn't on the website but it's not too late to sign up, and you can email houdefamilyfarm@gmail.com, or call David Houde at 802 748 2835 if you are interested.

I'm excited about this! It's a bit of a crapshoot since it's his first year, but I've talked to him and he seems like a really sincere guy who believes in organic farming. Depending on the cuts, I'm paying about that, on average, at Wild Oats anyway. I already belong to a produce CSA, so I'm used to the "you get what you get" mentality. I like the challenge of being presented with raw ingredients and having to figure out what to do with it. I'll be sure to post back here with a few reports, if anyone is interested.

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  1. Chris, please do post back here - I'd like to hear about it and potentially do this next year!

    I was wondering about the frequency of delivery - I suspect that even the 10 lb. delivery, once a month, would be a bit more than I could deal with as a single person, as I don't always eat meat - but then again, I *do* have a chest freezer in the basement. And family and friends might also want to buy into my 10 lb. share as well.

    I've actually done something like this a long time ago - I bought a 1/4 side of beef from my mother/stepfather back in the mid-80s when they raised a steer while living in central PA. My sister couldn't understand how I could eat something that had had a name (they named him Sir Charles - Sir for "sirloin" and Charles for "chuck"). I said at about $1.50/lb., I got everything from soup bones to sirloin, I had no problem with it. :-)

    Looking forward to hearing about it!

    1. Thanks for the update. I am glad this worked out- and hope to be able to participate next year- have bookmarked this thread. Unfortunately, I am away for all of the summer pickups, as well as the November pickup!! Hate to ask someone to get most of the deliveries! Look forward to hearing how it works out.

      1. Thanks for posting this. I *think* I've convinced my parents to share a share with me as i could never eat 10lbs of meat a month - i just don't cook it often enough. I do hope they go for it as I think this is a great idea and would love to support it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: heathermb

          Picked up our first 10lb share this week. Included:

          ground beef (4 lbs)
          pork bfast sausage (1 lb)
          pork country ribs (2 lb)
          Beef for stew (1.5 lbs)
          Pork chops (1.5 lbs)

          If there was any veal included in the share my father hid it before I could get over to their freezer!

          My parents and sister made burgers last night with some of the ground beef and proclaimed it delicious. I'm planning to try the ribs and some burgers this week. Pretty excited about this whole program...will continue to report on future shares.

          1. re: heathermb

            That's a pretty good assortment, heather! I would definitely have to share out the ground beef to my sister and mother, as 4 lbs. a month would be a LOT for just me.

            1. re: heathermb

              My share included:

              4lbs ground beef
              1.33 lbs loose pork breakfast sausage
              1 lb stew beef
              1/2 lb beef tenderloin
              1.84 ln pork country ribs (3)
              1.31 lb pork loin chops (2)

              I get the sense that we'll be seeing a lot of these little inconsistencies between shares, but I am sure it'll all even out in the end. David told me that, for example, we'd see more burger now and more better cuts later because of his butchering cycle.

              We made burgers as well and it was delicious. I'm starting to think I might want to consider upping to a 20 lb. share.

              1. re: Chris VR

                It's also entirely possible that my parents hid any tenderloin they received! ;-)

                I'll be picking up and dividing our share going forward...and my burger tonight was quite delicious.

                1. re: heathermb

                  LOL- but it seems you did have more stew meat than I did. So maybe they're not holding out on you :-)

          2. I had the pork sausage for breakfast today. Wow, really REALLY great stuff. More burgers for dinner (had company over) which were again, very good, and now I've gone through all 4 lbs. of my ground meat. Also had the country pork ribs which unfortunately got overcooked but even so they were pretty tasty.

            I suggested to David that they look into selling retail at the Melrose Farmer's Market, since that's also on Thursdays (10-3) right before they do the CSA pickup hours. I'm not sure if the market would want a vendor that would only do one day a month though. I suggested that if he does that, he pick up some local cheese, maple syrup etc. from his neighbors to sell as well. He's not sure that would happen this year but he sounded open to looking into it for next year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that works out-- I was having cheese envy at the Burlington VT Farmer's Market last week! He's also interested in seeing if he can find a way to distribute through the winter as well... it would be great if we could keep this going year-round, especially since I use more meat in the winter with braises, stews, etc.

            Heather, he said the veal wasn't ready yet, so that's why there was none in this share. Dad's not hiding it on you ;-)

            He's still taking orders for shares- I'm going to increase mine to 20lbs. We also talked about letting people opt-in to larger sized cuts of meat (for roasts and the like). He knows not everybody would be interested, but I know I would be, especially if I've got a larger share.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chris VR

              The pork chops. Oh lord. The porkchops. This is what pork has been developed away from? God these brought out the carnivore in me, as I sucked and chewed every last tiny bit of meat from the bones. The pig breed is "Tamworth" and I don't know if I can go back to supermarket pork now. Seriously. Good. Wow.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Really? I left those in my parents' freezer, but, as they are going out of town maybe I'll sneak back over and grab them!

                Good to know about the Veal, thanks!

                1. re: heathermb

                  Heck, I'll go steal them if you tell me where your parents live. And we can split them :-)

                  I started this thread too http://www.chowhound.com/topics/420298

            2. We upgraded to the 20lb share this month, because we went through the 10lb share pretty quickly. A meatloaf and a few friends over for a BBQ and the ground meat was wiped out! And after the trancendent Tamworth pork last month, I just have to have more. More, I tell you!

              In the 20lb share we got:

              Ground beef (8 packages, about 1 lb per package)
              Pork loin chops (2)
              Steaks (3/4 lb and 1/2 lb)
              Veal cutlets (3/4 lb)
              Pork Breakfast Sausage (1 1/4 lb)
              Stew beef (2 packages, about 1 lb per package)
              Veal chops (4)
              Ground veal (2 packages about 1&1/4 lb each)
              Veal tenderloin (3/4 lb)

              We had the veal tenderloin tonight. I'm not the best judge of veal because I have not been in the habit of eating it but this was lovely- so tender and luscious.

              We served the burgers this weekend at a BBQ and all agreed it was very good. One friend had also had some of the burger from our share last month and she told me she's starting to obsess over it :-)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chris VR

                We're still on the 10lb share but will upgrade before the next one. Our share this month:

                Ground beef 4 packages, 1lb per pkg
                Ground veal 1 1lb pkg
                Veal cutlets 1lb
                Veal soup bones
                Veal chops
                Pork Country ribs
                We also opted for some of the free stuff:
                1 beef livers
                1 veal liver
                1 package of veal sweetbreads

                Looking forward to the larger share next month!