Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mary had a Little Lamb but You can have a Lot

Like everybody else, I'm thinking about spring and a new season of fresh-off-the-farm produce. It’s easy to forget that eating local extends beyond the gorgeous fruits and vegetables that will soon (with a little cooperation from Mother Nature) be showing up at farmers markets all over the region. I just got a reminder of this from Kathy Breychak. She and her husband, Don, own Breychak’s Blue Egg Farm, a small family operation just 25 miles west of Cleveland in Columbia Station. They pasture-raise ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens, pigs and lambs the old-fashioned way. The animals are given no antibiotics, growth hormones or medicated feed. They live a pretty nice and natural life, enjoying pasture, sunshine and humane treatment. That's why the quality and taste of the meat is superior to anything from the grocery store.

The Breychaks are currently offering lamb and pork shares. (They've already sold out of the poultry.) If you have the cash, it’s a cost-effective way to stock the freezer with delicious, high-quality protein. You must commit to buying a whole or a half animal, but of course, you can split that with friends or other family members. The meat, professionally processed in Litchfield, Ohio, is cut and wrapped to your specifications, and you go out there to pick it up. It won’t be available until September, but you have to pony up a deposit now — $100 for a whole animal, $50 for half — to get in on the deal. More information and and order form are online. They're also selling veggie shares and seeds for your own garden.

And consider this: The money you spend does more than merely put good food on your table. Your dollars help put food on the Breychak’s table, too, because you’re supporting a small, local independent business; ensuring that this beautiful bit of farmland doesn’t turn into a mall or a subdivision; and investenting in the creation of a more sustainable community. Not bad for $6 a pound.

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