Anyone use the Marin Sun Farms meat CSA?
Thinking about giving it a shot, but would love to get some feedback. One of the things that irritates me about our produce CSA is the quanity of some items (usually too little of a single item to serve to our family of three.).
I wanted to get feedback on how things are packaged ,etc. So I order say 10# of steak cuts, 10# of poultry, and 10# of stew meat. How do they package it up? 1# packs? A certain number of steaks? I need to make sure I get a reasonable amount of each item for recipes, etc.
I gather you feel the quality and value are good as well?
Ah okay. I order a custom share that includes both roast and premium cuts, poultry and eggs. The packaging is interesting. What you get is different every time and so is the sizing of what you get. So, for instance, this month, for poultry, I received one 5.5# chicken, one 3.5 # turkey breast, a turkey leg, a package of 6 chicken wings, on half chicken and 3 stewing hens (which I special ordered). Sometimes it's all whole chickens, sometimes it's breasts and legs/thighs. So, a mix. Same for the meat. Sometimes I get all beef, sometimes I get other animals like lamb (I received two frenched racks this time) or goat (received 4 goat chops) of various sizes. I haven't asked for specific cuts so if that's of concern, I'm sure you could correspond with them in advance. I think it's kind of fun to figure out what to do with whatever I get.
Happy to answer any other questions. Quality is good though there are other products I also like. For instance, I buy all sorts of meat from Pampero at the Mountain View FM on Sundays. They have longhorn beef but also have assorted cuts of lamb, pork, and chickens -- oh and milk straight from the cow. I like their meat a lot, but they haven't organized a CSA drop program yet. Value is good for the quality, but it's not cheap of course. Depends on how much you buy and it's a minimum of a 6-month commitment by EFT.
Let me know what you decide to do. I've learned an incredible amount by necessity to cook some of the cuts I receive. I am a master of stocks now and they enhance everything I cook. I don't know how I lived without them!
Oh, and customer service is good. They respond to emails and calls promptly.
We get Marin Sun Farms and are generally pretty happy with the quality and rarely have problems with the packaging. We get a 15 lb/month "roast and braise" package with no meat substitutions (So we get a mixture of beef, goat, pork, chicken and lamb). My one complaint is that there's too much lamb and goat and not enough pork - but there's always a mix.
I wouldn't say that they're the best butchers either and their finished products (like sausages) are good but nothing amazing.
Six months or so ago we got some of the premium cuts (dry aged beef, some pork chops) and they were nothing short of spectacular. Sweet, buttery pork chops, nutty well marbled beef. Something really special.
Regarding packaging - the stew meat usually comes in 1 lb packages and the roasts are usually deboned 2-3 lbs each. But that said, I did get an 11 lb bone in lamb leg and a huge 7 lb beef roast in my box one month. Chicken has been halved unless I special ordered it. Ground meat is always 1 lb packages. Steaks, chops are individually packed. Ribs are typically in 2-3 lb packages. Special orders like pig feet can be cut in half or left whole on request.
They are generaly responsive to any problems or questions over email.
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The spicing of the sausages is just not quite right for me - I don't have any on hand right now so that I can be more specific (and a much smaller quibble - it would be nicer too if they were just a little smaller so that there was say an extra sausage in a "portion pack" but the total weight was the same). That said, I usually order them if they're on special and keep them for fast last minute meals.
In general I'm very happy with the quality and price of MSF and regularly encourage other people to give it a try.
Not that anyone asked to be convinced but I really like the surprise of finding out what will be in the monthly box. When that 11 lb. leg of lamb arrived my first thought was "are you kidding me?". It was just giant. But it forced me to move a little beyond my usual recipes (and out of my kitchen). In the end we roasted it in one of the "Diablo Stoves" in Mt. Diablo park and made a day of it. Some pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abak/611...
The trip was planned because/around the leg of lamb. The MSF box suprise made one of my best summer afternoons.
Have any of you tried the meat boxes available from Avedano's for comparison?
I've had Marin Sun Farms meats, from the San Rafael market and occasional from markets in the city that sell it. Just curious about the benefits of the CSA subscription versus buying occasional meats.
235 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110