As many of you know, one of the major inspirations for this blog was High Point Farm’s Meat CSA — my very first CSA ever.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The basic CSA model is that you become a member of the farm, pay for a certain amount of food up front and come to pick up your “shares” at designated times throughout the season. CSA’s have all kinds of benefits. First of all, you support local agriculture, sustainable and environmentally- sound farming practices, and small farms. Second of all, you are able to form a relationship directly with your farmer. You learn about how your food is raised, how it is harvested, how your food gets to your table.
Most importantly, you get the best quality food for your money.
The meat is from our CSA absolutely amazing. All the beef is grass-finished, which means that the cows are fattened by grass — hay and baleage in the winter — not grain. The flavor is deep, rich and incredible.
I actually can’t have steak in restaurants now because it just doesn’t taste like meat!
I had always wanted to do a CSA. However, the only kind of CSA that I ever knew of before hearing about High Point Farms was either a vegetable or a fruit CSA. As someone who hates to waste food, I feared having to throw out more food than I could prepare or eat at any given moment — which is precisely what made a meat CSA so appealing.
Our farmer gives us our meat frozen. It is vacuum-packed in super thick plastic so that it keeps in the freezer really well. For anyone who claims that fresh meat is superior to frozen, I would say that this is really spoken from a place of ignorance as so much of the “fresh” meat sold in markets (even high-end butcher chops) was frozen — it just got defrosted by the shop or the butcher instead of by you!
You can go on the farm’s facebook page and see what a happy and wonderful life the animals have. If you are going to eat meat, wouldn’t you want the animals to be raised with love and care, and humanely slaughtered with deep respect and appreciation? To the argument that eating animals is “unhealthy,” I have to say that what is really unhealthy is eating pesticide-covered vegetables imported from Chile or some other South American country with horribly lax labor and safety practices — not to mention the carbon-footprint!
Some other vegetable CSA’s in the City offer meat through partnerships with other farms. However, I have to say that though I found High Point Farms almost by accident two years ago, getting involved with them has been one of the best and most rewarding things that I have ever done in New York City.
As I live close to the pick-up site in Manhattan, I am able to help the farm out on the distribution end by helping to coordinate the CSA’s bi-monthly pick-ups. Thanks to Tina and Bob MacCheyne, the farmer-owners of High Point Farms, I have learned so much. Not only have I discovered new cuts of meat and how to cook them, I have learned so much about being a better eater, consumer, and food advocate.
High Point Farms will be starting its next CSA season next week. There are still membership spaces available. The farm will be moving to a new model for this time around called a Buyers Choice.
This is how it works: there are different share options, beginning with a Trial Membership at $225 and going up to a Gourmet Share for $1000. That money goes directly to the farm, and is also your credit at the farm store for the season. Every two weeks, you go to the online store and load up your shopping cart with what you want: steaks, osso buco, oxtails, ground beef, roasts, chickens, eggs, cheese, pork chops, sausages, bacon. You can order as much or as little as you want. You can even skip that pick-up and wait for the next one. If you run out of credit, you can add more to your account. You come, you pick up your meat, you go home and cook it. And then you shiver with delight because it tastes soooo good.
And look, you just supported local agriculture and not evil giant agro-business.
• Our CSA season will run from March to December. You do not have to pick up something every pick-up., only on the days when you have ordered meat for pick-up.
• In New York City, we have three pick-up locations this season:
East Village: Jimmy’s 43 (on East 7th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
Williamsburg: Crossfit Virtuosity (221 North 8th St, between Driggs and Roebling)
Brooklyn Heights: Sweet Pea CSA (you must be a member of Sweet Pea Vegetable CSA to join this group)
• For the season’s delivery dates, click here.
• Membership Share Prices:
Trial Share: $225.00 (buys $225.00 of Farm Store Credit)
Single Share: $350.00 (buys $350.00 of Farm Store Credit)
Medium Share: $500.00 (buys $515.00 of Farm Store Credit + priority on limited items)
Large Share: $700 (buys $735.00 of Farm Store Credit + priority on limited items)
Gourmet Share: $1000.00 (b $1050.00 of Farm Store Credit + first priority on limited items)
There is a $25.00 Membership fee at sign up. ne time charge per CSA Season to offset the farm’s administrative and shipping costs.
For more information and to sign up, click here!
PS. See all that nice food pictured at the top of this blog post? You too can make all that awesomeness with High Point Farm’s meat!