I'm running awfully low on subject ideas, given that's it's all meat meat meat for me again. I'm loving the return to digestive comfort, tasty meals, minimal preparation, and fat loss! My energy levels are back to normal, probably due to the conclusion of the school play more than diet, although now I'm battling the 'too-much-free-time' boredom demon that has me sneaking up to the Nola container far too often! I'm resisting its charms for now though, spurred on by the numbers on the scale.
I spent some time this week looking into new lamb & beef suppliers, after my concerns regarding the nature of the 'organic' label placed on my current supply of red meat had me worried that my animals were raised on organic grain. My butcher couldn't tell me exactly which farm my meat was from, as they buy from a range of farms, some of which were grain feeding their animals. Organic Direct remains a reliably grass-fed option, but their once-a-month delivery restriction often left me in a pickle. My research led me to a local farm, The Farmers Market. I chatted with the owner, Farmer Dan, via email, to enquire why he has not had his farm certified as organic, though his methods would easily qualify for certification. His answers were fascinating, and I will share the interview with him in my next post. But in the meantime, here is a choice extract from the website:
The Farmers Market is a subsidiary of Farmer Dan, an all natural, branded beef and lamb company based in Gippsland Victoria. Suppliers to The Farmers Market raise cattle and sheep using natural production methods, on natural feeds without added growth hormones or antibiotics in a free range environment. The company was started in 2005 by Farmer Dan and is dedicated to supporting family farms.
You can also read an independent review on Cows In Clover.
Given the lack of the organic label, Danny can sell his meat at a much more affordable price, but my preference to buy in bulk to minimise traffic meant that I bought an 1/8th beef pack and a full lamb pack, judging the amount via the price, assuming comparability to my usual orders from Organic Direct. Wrong!
The beef and lamb were boxed separately, and I left them both resting on my dining table as I gathered up my wicked packing skills, bound to be necessary were I to get all that meat into my freezer compartment of my fridge (a space barely the size of the small of the two boxes!)
I opened up the lamb box, and laid out the pieces on the kitchen bench. The pile in the photo below is four layers high at its thickest, and do note the massive legs and what I assume to be racks at the back...
I somehow, miraculously, managed to fit all the lamb into the freezer, but I knew that there wouldn't be the slightest chance of fitting the beef in as well. So I took out one leg roast and one rack, as well as the sausages that I wouldn't be able to eat thanks to their rice flour content (I had asked for them to be replaced with mince, but Farmer Dan forgot).
I then tackled the beef container:
All but one package of round steak fitted into the other area of the freezer, so I was only left to deal with the excess of lamb. The solution was simple - be an awesome sister and give it to my little brother. He was very happy to accept the gift, especially given his Uni student status, although it means that Dad has now lost both of his meat recipients! Dad loves giving us meat, as its one connection to the farm that he can offer his kids, but it's not as though he raises the animals himself. And given that mystery, I'm not comfortable as I don't know whether the animals were dipped in pesticides (quite likely) or fed grain (less likely).
Thus far, I've been LOVING the lamb forequarter chops from Farmer Dan, and I'm very picky about my lamb chops! The beau has also tried the round steak, which smelled as amazing as it apparently tasted. I'll be sure to give more detailed reviews as I make my way through my immense supply!
Farmer Dan is also expanding his offerings to draw on other Gippsland farmers that follow his ideals, so soon I'll be able to get wonderful free-range chicken, pork, and maybe even dairy for the beau! It's too much to hope for raw dairy though, since that's still near-impossible to get a hold of on a regular, convenient basis. Fingers crossed...
And now the usual run-down of my eats this past week - hover over the image to read the description:
And now forward I march into another working week - it's report writing and exam marking time! Yay! Have a good one!
Escabèche – Fried and Marinated Mackerel
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