Bonus Bits

April 18, 2011

April Meat CSA

The Jamaican work visa problem was resolved, which means Massachusetts farms will have workers for the spring and summer. The timing couldn’t have been better, as it’s lambing season at many of the farms, including Stillman’s, where I get my monthly meat fix. This weekend’s share was lamb-centric: lamb ribs, lamb stew meat, and lamb leg steak, along with ham steaks, pork cutlets, Italian sausage, and a whole chicken. Now that I know how easy it is to make my own, I’m not nearly as enthusiastic about getting sausage every month as I used to be.

Within an hour of putting away my share I received this message from Tamar, the bad-ass line cook I’ve mentioned before:

A farmer friend was raising pigs for me and the restaurant when she brain froze and forgot that taking the pigs to slaughter on a non-USDA inspection day would mean that we can’t use it. She sold the meat to others, but i have all the offal. Would you be interested in heart, liver, fatback, trotters, and kidneys from a very happy pastured pig?

You know what my answer was, so yesterday afternoon I drove out to Tamar’s place, bearing a gift of vegetable scraps for her chickens. She led me to her meat freezer, the contents of which bore a startling resemblance to the Belm Utility Research Kitchen Deep Storage Facility, and let me take home this pile of pig parts:

That’s six huge trotters, a chunk of leaf lard, two hearts, two kidneys, and a massive slab of fatback. Some of the trotters will become a new batch of trotter gear, the lard will get rendered, the fatback will be added to new sausages, and the hearts and kidneys are destined for the grill, probably accompanied by homemade bacon. All of these gifts from the magical animal cost me a mere dollar a pound. Time to get cookin’.

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