Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lamb, friends and the promise of stew

For 25 years, I was basically a vegetarian. Then, I got pregnant. A couple of months into my pregnancy I started craving beef like it was going out of style. 18 years later and I have never looked back. Well, I have been living in the country for the pat 12 years and have always tried to be a conscious eater. Moving to a rural community really shifts that consciousness up a few notches. Now my standards include mostly locally raised, grass fed and free ranging meat, poultry and eggs. I don’t eat a ton of fish anymore, tough to find super high quality fish this far inland and frozen lacks appeal.

Hester and Ermengard proudly display their wares.
(sheep skin waiting for the tannery in the background)

So, one of the ways I get my meat is from friends and neighbors. I have been living here long enough now that I know many a farmer and have sought out people that grow sustainable meat. My friend Frances is one of these folks. She has just started raising lamb in order to sell and I am the lucky recipient of the first batch. Sisters Hester and Ermengard proudly hold up the two packages I bought yesterday for a lamb stew I plan to make tomorrow. This is life close to the bone, so to speak. Not only do I know where this lamb came from, I probably know this lamb personally! Not to befriend or anything, that would be weird, but well enough to know it had a good life, was very healthy, and the meat is of the highest quality.

Life in the country these days can be an especially perfect place to settle. Coupled with the economic engine of a regional city, in this case New York and Boston, both communities, both types of people can be deeply nourished. I do believe a rural/urban symbiosis is on the horizon. Already happening and certainly a traditional arrangement, perhaps the re-emergence of more local networks can in fact help a healthier, economic as well as physiological, community unfold.