Sunday, January 20, 2008

Meet the meat

At Lucy's urging, I drove down to Four Mile River Farm today and met Nunz Corsino who runs the place with Chris Bourne.

Corsino raises beef cattle and hogs without the growth hormones and antibiotics commonly found in feedlots of factory farms. He has the animals slaughtered in Rhode Island, and produces beef and pork that is decidedly homegrown, as healthy as beef and pork can be, and delicious.

Four Mile Farm was recommended by Steve and Monica who partnered with some friends and bought a side of beef (you can buy smaller cuts at farmers markets attended by Four Mile, or at their "market stand)," which is the smallest amount of beef, or pork they will sell in quantity to individuals. Of course, they cut and prepare the meet, so your basement won't look like a meat locker.

It's not an inexpensive proposition, but, in the end, it's likely cheaper than buying the same cuts, and the same quantity from the meat cooler at Stop and Shop. And if you trust the chefs at some fine local restaurants (like Chester's River Tavern), who only buy their beef from Four Mile, then you might consider trying a roast or two from the farm.

Nunz is affable, honest and dedicated to raising health meat. He's a teacher, and when he talks to you about how a side of beef or pork can be divvied up, you get the sense that he enjoys educating you about the things you've eaten thoughtlessly for several decades. He's deeply involved in the movement to raise, distribute and eat local food, and he appears at several farmers markets where that is the goal. He recommends the Lyme Farmers Market and the City Square Farmers Market in New Haven, which are only held monthy in the winter.

When I tell him I'm the kind of carvivore who carries 20 lbs of smoked sausage back from Louisiana, Nunz gave me a package of hot dogs "on the house," and recommends that I visit the smokehouse where they are created, Noack's, in Meriden. As that kind of carnivor, and a central Connecticut boy, I was ashamed to admit I had never been to Noack's (nor heard of them).

"Visit," Nunz advised. "You'll never have to haul sausage back from Louisiana again."

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