While Mr. 416expat and I were exploring a food festival we came across Field and Flower. Started by a couple of guys straight out of agriculture college, they offer a selection of locally raised and butchered meats delivered once a month. Each month you log into their website, select your order and presto, it arrives the last week of the month. We signed up for their introductory box offer and waiting the 3 long weeks for our box to be delivered.
The box contained bacon rashers, minced beef, minced lamb, stewing beef, a roaster chicken, 6 sausages, a massive pork chop (could feed 3 people), a flank steak, and two boneless skinless chicken breasts. It’s a serious amount of meat for our small freezer but after some preparation (aka eating everything else in the freezer) we managed to fit it all in. Over the last week we have had some delicious meals. I made a turkish inspired lamb kebab with tomatoes and pita, toad in the hole (thanks mum!) and had bacon rashers for breakfast on the weekend. Today’s goal is to get that chicken roasted so that I can make stock overnight.
There is one fairly substantial barrier to me signing up for Field and Flower full time (getting a monthly box). Currently they deliver their meat via courier in styrofoam coolers with gel style ice packs (ensuring same day delivery and that your meat stays cold but not so environmentally friendly). If there was some way these coolers and packs could be reused I would sign up on the spot. Unfortunately styrofoam and I are not good friends and the idea of regularly receiving a styrofoam cooler which (1) can’t be recycled and (2) we can’t store and reuse ourselves, is not appealing. Until Field and Flower sort out a more sustainable delivery system, I’m not sure I can regularly support them.
In Toronto we supported Plan B Organics, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) that delivered a box of vegetables to a local depot each week. Within the CSA structure, you buy a “share” of the summer’s produce, and if it’s a dicey summer for tomatoes, you won’t likely see tomatoes. It’s a way of supporting smaller farms and of avoiding some of the less desirable traits of mega farms. Plus, the vegetables were delicious! I’ll admit, there were some weeks when I thought to myself, “seriously? more lettuce?” But overall I was quite pleased with the product and the service.
Growing up on a dairy and sheep farm we had a pretty ready supply of meat. I was probably the only undergrad student whose freezer was regularly stocked with steak. Once we settled in Toronto (with a chest freezer) we bought lamb from my dad and chicken from my aunt. I would have loved to go in with another family to get a beef cow, but we moved to the UK before plan came to fruition.
Check out what’s available in your area – it might be a 100 mile market, a CSA, or a meat share program. It’s an amazing way to support small farms and growers!