On my way to the farm every morning, I slow down as I pass Fleetwood Farm to see if I can pick out Sam, the Maremma on duty, from the rams and ewes he guards day and night. I usually can’t, but I’m hopeful that one of these days I’ll spot him and then – like riding a bicycle – will be able to spot the dog(s) in a herd anywhere.
Last week, I volunteered to take some leftover produce to the mulefoot hogs so that I could spend a little time with the new lambs and Sam. Walt Feasel was there, working with a border collie in one of the fields, but took a break to introduce me to the new crop of babies, chat about his operation, and even sent me home with sausage that my taste testers ranked above all others. Seriously. Two out of two meatatarians said it was the best sausage they have ever had.
Here are five reasons to love, support and purchase from this farm:
5. Sam. Fierce when he should be. Friendly when you’ve earned his trust. Once you win him over, he squeezes between your legs, lifts you up, and nuzzles into your heart very quickly.
4. Diversified livestock. This handsome Bourbon Red tom waddles around with New Hampshire and Plymouth Rock chickens.
3. The close-knit herd. Seeing them moving around the pasture together will makes you all warm and woolly inside.
Can you believe Thanksgiving is less than a month away?! Neither can we. If you are going omnivore, this means it is time to get your orders in for birds. Local Harvest‘s Turkey Locator is a great way to find a free-range, heritage, natural, organic or whatever-your-fancy bird near you.
The honorary Compost2theMoon turkey, who we are calling Collin (after the famous chicken from the “Is it Local?” Portlandia skit), is coming from our friend Farmer Tom in Reisterstown, Maryland (unless our snuggley-sides get the better of us and pardon him). Farmer Tom gives his happy birds twice the recommended space to grow and lots of water, yummy feed and and fresh air daily. Processing begins just five days before the holiday. The birds are fresh water-rinsed throughout the entire process and then packed in ice to guarantee a fresh, moist bird.
After 70 years of steady incline, American meat consumption is on the decline. Considering we account for less than one twentieth of the world population yet have been responsible for one sixth of the world meat consumption (and therefore accompanying environmental implications), I think it is safe to say this is pretty good news.
Last week, Mark Bittman wrote a great piece about the swirl of discussions aiming to pinpoint reasons for the decline including: Growing exports making less meat available to Americans, ethanol and the rising cost of feed, federal government “waging war” on meat consumption, and the most optimistic reason (that I’m rooting for) conscious consumer decisions.
This week, Brent Kim put together an incredibly informative and thoughtful blog post about the USDA estimates that says everything I would say and more so I highly recommend reading heading over to the Center for a Livable Future blog and spending some time with his post (find it here).
Uh oh, loca-omnivores. The Washington Post is reporting a turkey shortage in Maryland. In a way, this is good news because it verifies residents interest in supporting local farmers. But on the other hand, for those of you who have not yet started gathering the goods for your feast, it could lead to a side dish of feedlot remorse.
Act fast and you may still be able to procure a Maryland turkey via Maryland’s Best. And keep in mind, you could always off-set the footprint of your chosen meat by serving up produce from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), most of which still have winter shares available.