Two Spoon Farm - Meat with Integrity
Usually I leave the realm of local food and agriculture to the far more talented and prolific Ali over at the Cleaner Plate Club
, but I feel the need to spread the word about something really cool happening just up the road in Pownal.
Two Spoon Farm is a brand new operation just off of Carpenter Hill Rd in North Pownal, VT run by Angela and Brian McGinness. They are raising chickens, beef, pork and lamb on about 35 leased acres of gorgeous reclaimed farmland. What makes this farm truly special is that they are attempting to run it as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture
) much like the very popular, vegetable oriented Caretaker Farm in Williamstown
and the lesser known, but absolutely incredible Mighty Food Farm
More importantly, they are doing everything right from a health and environmental point of view. All the animals are free range. The cattle are grass-only fed. The pigs are given a few acres of wooded land to root around. The chickens get to trot across an open pen and develop their muscles which leads to one of the best tasting birds you can imagine.
There are absolutely no hormones or antibiotics given to these animals. The only outside food is grain for the chickens and pigs who quickly process it right into the eco-system if the pasture. I've seen a lot farms and processing plants in my years in the food biz. I've never experienced one that has the complete integrity, from start to finished product, of Two Spoons. The place really could be a chapter in one of Michael Pollan's
Angie and Brian are constantly moving the temporary fencing used to corral the animals. This allows the chickens to scratch and "fertilize" the ground plot by plot. Within a few weeks the areas that chickens have previously roamed are full of incredibly lush green grasses and meadow plants that just happen to be the favorite food of the steers. These cattle then devour and tramp the pasture down to the point where the sheep can come in and clip the lower lying grasses that make up most of their diet, which leaves the vegetation low enough for the chickens to come back to their starting plots and keep the rotation going.
I'm not going to try and kid anybody. Meat of this quality is not cheap, but the gap between the prices of farms like Two Spoons and conventional factory-raised meat is narrowing with the rise in grain and oil prices. It costs a lot of money to haul a pound of refrigerated dead cow from Nebraska to New England. I should also mention that by buying this local product you are directly supporting a young family living in your own backyard. The profits aren't being sucked up by Wall Street. It is also "clean" food, free of the various suspect elements found in your average supermarket meat section.
And did I mention that it is as good a chicken as I have ever tasted. Seriously.
Brian and Angie sell their harvest by the piece every other week at the Walloomsac (Bennington) Farmer's Market and on the farm. The most economical way to purchase is to buy a share of the animals you expect to eat. You pay part of the price up front and the rest later. This saves a fair amount of the total bill and "reserves" your purchase since the larger animals are only processed periodically. (Hmmmm... pork chops.... slobber)
After walking the pasture at Two Spoon with approximately 70 locals this afternoon, it is my sincere belief that this particular enterprise will explode in the next year or so. If you want to get in on this remarkable little corner of our world, I would suggest buying shares in your desired meats ASAP.
Angie and Brian can be reached at 802-823-7308 and at firstname.lastname@example.org