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Local farms take mystery out of buying meat

Knowing your dinner was raised locally takes the mystery out of meat

by Karen Miltner

Article from democratandchronicle.com

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have been the gateway products for consumers who want to foster a local food system for health and environmental reasons.

But fulfilling protein needs with a locavore strategy has not always been as easy. In the past few years, that has changed drastically, as the demand for local meats — including beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, turkey and bison — and the number of small producers have grown.

"It's a huge emerging market. There are so many little backyard operations. Some have (their) own Web site, others list classified ads," observes Nancy Glazier of Cornell Cooperative Extension's North West New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crop Team. "People are looking for more local products, whether they are all natural, hormone- or antibiotic-free, grass-fed or organic."

When buying local meat and poultry, advocates say you can generally be assured that you:

  • Are cutting down on food miles, or the distance a food travels;
  • Are helping small- or mid-sized family farms stay viable;

  • Are keeping dollars in a local economy;

  • Have direct access to the producer who can explain how the animals were raised and will often encourage customers to visit the farm; and
  • Are supporting farming methods that are generally recognized as more humane that large-scale industrial feedlots.

"I have had some consumers tell me that they actually prefer and seek out local meats due to the more subtle and pronounced flavors associated with the feed rations provided by small farms when compared to those associated with national brands. Some of this is grass fed, other folks just prefer the flavor of small-farm-raised pork," comments Robert King, director of the Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute at Monroe Community College, via e-mail.

In almost all cases, the meats are frozen.

Traditionally, small meat producers sell their products by the whole, half or quarter animal, but increasingly they are offering single pieces or packages that can accommodate smaller city or suburban freezer space. The advantage to buying in bulk is that you save money and can customize the types of cuts you want and how you want them packed.

Because grass-fed animals tend to be leaner (and therefore healthier, say many advocates), you may need to alter cooking methods and times to ensure the meats don't dry out.

[email protected]

Aberdeen Hill Farm: The Gorham, Ontario County, farm offers pastured-based beef, pork, lamb, chicken and turkeys at the Brighton, Chili and The Mall at Greece Ridge farmers markets and at Abundance Cooperative Market on Marshall Street. Home deliveries are available in the off season. (585) 526-5937; www.aberdeenhillfarm.com.

Bedient Farms Natural Beef: The Potter, Yates County, farm produces all-natural beef raised without hormones or antibiotics. Available at the Canandaigua Farmers Market or by special order for pick-up at the farm. (585) 738-3114; [email protected].

Calexis Livestock Farm: The Hopewell, Ontario County, farm offers Angus beef raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. Order by the quarter, half or whole. Home delivery available. (585) 396-0739.

Circle B Organic Farms: Sells pasture-raised chickens that feed on organic pasture at the Fairport Farmers Market and at the farm, 4256 Route 14, Lyons, Wayne County. Call before stopping at the farm. (315) 946-1262; [email protected].

Finger Lakes Family Farms: This Dryden, Tompkins County, distributor sells pasture-raised, mostly grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and chicken from small, family-owned farms in the Finger Lakes at the Rochester Public Market. (607) 351-4737; [email protected].

Gal-A-Tin Farms: Chili farm sells pasture-raised beef and pork by the whole, half or quarter. (585) 703-8754.

Heiden Valley Farm: The Lyons, Wayne County, farm offers grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and lamb, pasture-raised pork and chicken, and cage-free turkeys at the Rochester Public Market and the Fairport and South Wedge farmers markets, by appointment for pick-up at the farm and through local CSA organizations. Contact farm for details. (315) 331-0633; [email protected]

Hidden Rock Farms: The Gorham, Ontario County, farm sells its grass-fed lamb, mostly grass-fed veal and pastured chickens at the Canandaigua, Victor, Geneva, Waterloo and Clifton Springs farmers markets. Call for special orders. (585) 526-6540; www.hiddenrockfarms.com.

Honeyhill Farm: The Livonia, Livingston County, farm sells its pasture-raised, certified organic chickens at the Brighton and South Wedge farmers markets, the Farmers Market at Cibi in Mendon and by appointment at the farm. In the fall, Honeyhill also sells grass-fed small-frame Angus beef by the eighth. Call for details. (585) 346-3829; www.honeyhillorganicfarm.com.

Kyle Farms All Natural Lamb: Pasture-raised lambs from several Genesee Valley farms are available by the whole and half in the fall. (607) 206-6446; www.kylefarmsnys.com.

McDonald Farm: The Romulus, Seneca County, farm raises chicken, beef, lamb, pork and turkey entirely on organically managed pasture. Beef and lamb are entirely grass-fed; pork, turkey and chicken are supplemented with organic grain. Bi-weekly deliveries to the Rochester area. (315) 651-6267, (607) 869-9928; www.pasturepride.com.

Orchardland: Certified organic farm in Interlaken, Seneca County, sells quarters or sides of belted Galloways, a heritage breed. Meat is processed in fall or early spring, and Rochester-area deliveries are available. (607) 532-4213; [email protected].

Seven Bridges Farm: The Lima, Livingston County, farm raises all-natural beef without growth hormones, steroids, antibiotics or animal byproducts. Animals raised primarily on pesticide-free grains grown on the farm. Available at the Rochester Public Market, South Wedge and Upper Monroe farmers markets and at retail shop at the farm, 2191 Pond Road, Lima. (585) 749-6958, (585) 582-1670; www.sevenbridgesfarm.com.

Simple Gifts Farm: The Italy, Yates County, farm sells its pastured chicken and pork at the Brighton Farmers Market and by special order at the farm. (607) 522-5732; [email protected].

Sweet Grass Meats: The Italy, Yates County, farm sells 100 percent grass-fed beef and lamb as well as pork that's fed organic grains. Available at South Wedge Farmers Market. Sweet Grass also does monthly deliveries in the Rochester area. The farm store is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at 6114 Italy Valley Road. (585) 374-9913; [email protected].

Tee Pee Farms: The Clarkson farm sells live goats raised primarily on pasture (customers do the slaughtering). (585) 764-5777; Tee Pee and several other area goat farms sell goat meat and goat meat sausage through New York Natural Chevon, http://nychevon.com.

Teri's Dairy: Certified organic beef farm in Savannah, Wayne County. Available at Lori's Natural Foods in Henrietta and through occasional Rochester-area deliveries. (315) 594-8119.

Whitney Farms: The Avon, Livingston County, farm produces certified organic pork and grass-fed beef supplemented with organic feed and sells at the Irondequoit and Brighton farmers markets. Whitney Farms pork is sold at Palermo's Meat & Food Market in Irondequoit. Customers can also call to arrange pick up at the farm. (585) 690-0784; www.whitneyfarmsny.com.

Wild Side Ranch: The West Bloomfield, Ontario County, farm sells its grass-fed, pasture-raised buffalo (also called bison) at its butcher shop by appointment. It is also sold at Lori's Natural Foods, Abundance Cooperative Market and the Honeoye Falls Marketplace in Honeoye Falls. (585) 624-4603; www.wildsideranchllc.com.

Wilson Beef Farms: Dry-aged beef and pork (both finished and then processed on site). Various cuts available, as well as hot dogs, sausages and beef. 10751 Hess Road, Canaseraga, Allegany County; (877) 286-9706; www.wilsonbeeffarms.com.

 

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