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What’s in Your CSA Box?: Local meat options are plenty

Meat CSAs are becoming increasingly common in our country. My farm at The Well School started one last year in cooperation with Terrace Hill Farm in Peterborough.

Instead of boxes of veggies every week, meat shares usually offer fresh meats with several pickups spread throughout the season. For example, they might have chicken pick-ups in June and August, beef during the late summer, pork and lamb in the fall, and a turkey in time for Thanksgiving. The amounts are often sufficient to get you through the year, so a large freezer is a plus if you are considering one.

Other local farms are cultivating community by selling whole and half animals and offering classes on butchering and curing.

Dancing Dog Farm in Peterborough is one such farm. As the holiday season is a popular time to serve good meat, roasts in particular, to family and guests, I thought this month’s column would be a good time to talk about the many wonderful local meat options we have right in our area.

My family usually enjoys a ham for the holidays. Sunnyfield Farm in Peterborough, more commonly known for their milk, also raises pigs. They have hams and other pork cuts available, in addition to their beef and veal.

Other people I know prefer a good roasted chicken or turkey this time of year. Kim Graham of Oxbow Farm in Dublin has delicious whole chickens, and Farmer John’s Plot in Dublin has very tasty turkeys.

Another possibility is Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, which raises all of the above as well as lamb. All of these meats are pastured, naturally raised, and free-range.

By choosing local meats, not only do you get to know where your meat is from, but you also get to support the local economy, which is a great thing to do this time of year. Fresh, pasture-based meat is usually much more flavorful, too, so it’s even easier to impress your guests when you serve it.

Don’t forget to also check out your local winter farmer’s market for local sides and herbs to complement your main dish or for your main dish if you are a vegetarian family.

See the New Hampshire Farmer’s Market Association website, www.nhfma.org, to learn about local markets, and to find more local sources of meat.

Catherine McCosker is the farm and CSA manager at The Well School in Peterborough.

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