I finally just picked up my first share for the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that I am a member of with Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, Massachusetts. Having just returned from Chicago, I drove out to meet my friend Jenn at her house who was kind enough to pick up my cooler and store my meat in the freezer while I was out of town; she recently joined the CSA as well.
I’m excited to be part of this CSA for many reasons. First and foremost I feel like I am doing my part to benefit my local community and support my local farmers. I’ve voted with my dollars to support their ideals while they provide me with a nutritious and respectfully cultivated sustainable food product. I am also excited because I will be eating sustainable food that, while not being certified as organic, was cultivated using natural methods without the use of chemicals or unnecessary drugs. My impact on the environment has been kept to a minimum. This is meat as nature intended. Another great benefit of being part of the CSA is that I am now closer to the food source.
When opening my cooler to see my meat share, I couldn’t help to think about Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, and his comment in The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection by Michael Ruhlman, about the US being a nation of noncooks taking the easy way out of food preparation, while he butchers whole animals and using every part for his dishes. Michael Ruhlman commented on the fact that the only butchering done at most restaurants was the slicing of the Cryovac packages that contained the meat. My situation has not changed as the meat has been butchered for me and sealed in plastic, although I feel that I am eating food that has been cared for properly and thus respected more so than what is available in big chain grocery stores. As I inch closer to the source and it’s preparation I wonder how far I’ll actually go. This whole food thing could get even more interesting.