Get Your Pasture-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken

We’ve got pasture-fed beef and organic chicken for sale, and you can order both with our brand new, easy to use online order forms! Just tell us what you want, and we’ll deliver to our regular farmers market and CSA distribution sites.

upper-meadows-cowsAbout Upper Meadows’ beef: Born on farm, this Angus-Holstein-Herreford cross was 100% grass fed. Upper Meadows Farm has maintained all pasture under Organic Certification since 1992.This beef is lightly marbled with superior taste and exceptional quality. All packages are vacuum packed and flash frozen to ensure highest product quality. Please indicate which cuts you’d like to pick up at your local CSA distribution or market. Use our NEW Online Beef Order Form to place your order. All beef orders are filled on a first placed, first served basis. We cannot guarantee orders placed less than 48 hours before distribution or market.

Order Pasture Fed Beef

About Our Chicken: All chicken is 100% certified Organic. Our chickens are grass fed, chickenscratchpastured, supplemented with Certified Organic grains, and processed on-farm. Our birds come to you whole, with the giblets in a separate bag. Please indicate how many chickens and when you’d like to pick them up at your local CSA distribution or Market using our NEW Online Chicken Order Form. All chicken orders are filled on a first placed, first served basis. We cannot guarantee orders placed less than 48 hours before distribution or market.

Order Organic Chicken

Click here for Market and Distribution details.

What’s Coming Up This Season?

I want to take a moment to give you a little window into how the season is going here in the fields. The kale and lettuce have been really beautiful and bountiful, and we appreciate all of your kind feedback. You may have heard us during distribution talk a little bit about enduring all of the rain this spring. All of the rain (one of the top 10 rainiest Junes on record) and the unseasonably cool temperatures (one of the 12 coolest Junes on record) have had their impact on us.

So what does that mean?

To protect the soil condition we did most of our transplanting by hand. For those crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cool wet soils are a recipe for disaster due to a heightened likelihood of diseases wiping out the crops.  You may have read of the late blight situation that is destroying commercial tomato crops across the northeast (all of our tomato plants are in and looking good, our fingers are crossed and we’re taking every precaution to keep them safe).

So, to guard against the probability losing all that work and the plants we held off planting our tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and some others. We are going full tilt now and are catching up. I expect to have the first of the zucchini and other summer squashes in the next few weeks. The plants are in bloom and everything looks good.  The cucumbers are already on the vine and we have stakes in and will be setting trellis so I expect cucumbers in the same time period, maybe even next week. Our chard looks great and the successive plantings of lettuce will provide for an abundant Sept/Oct. We are direct seeding some of your favorites like arugula, mustards, radish, beets, turnips and beans.

I make every effort to have a broad array of vegetables ripe and ready throughout the season and expect that we won’t be missing any veggies this year, we certainly will be seeing more and more as we get into the second half of the season as a result of the rainy June. Fall squash and pumpkins are thriving so it looks like we’ll have a Real Thanksgiving this year.

Our first batch of pasture fed chickens are available this week at distribution by forward order only. Please contact Megan if you’d like to purchase one. Most of the chickens are between 2.5-4 lbs and are running $4.50 ($4.05 for members!)

Beef will be available mid-August. Keep an eye on your inbox for an order form!

We appreciate your feedback and questions, so feel free to contact us!

Green Eggs, No Ham

no cage in sight, free range chickens

No cage in sight: Upper Meadows free-range chickens

Barry Estabrook, who writes Gourmet magazine’s “Politics of the Plate” column says that the Humane Society intends to pressure McDonald’s to switch to more humanely raised eggs. The group intends to introduce a resolution at the fast-food company’s shareholder meeting in May asking McDonald’s to use so-called cage-free eggs.  The chickens that produce eggs for high-volume users like McDonald’s are often housed in cramped cages, a practice the Humane Society says has made chickens “the most abused animals” in the food business.

You won’t see any cages when you visit the chickens at Upper Meadows Farm. Leonard believes in pastured poultry, i.e. letting chickens roam as Mother Nature intended them to. He’s expanding his flock of egg-laying chickens this year to include Black Sex Link, Red Sex Link, Golden Comet, Ameraucana, and Barred Rock hens. (Yes, the names of the first two threw me for a loop, too. As I understand it, they got their names because you can tell by their coloring when they are chicks whether they are male or female.)

The eggs that these lovely ladies produce are one of the most wonderful things that I have ever eaten. Crack one on a plate, and the yolk stands in a high mound, with the white clinging tightly around it. The first time I ever brought home a dozen last year, my little guy tried one fried. A few minutes later, he appeared in the kitchen asking for another–scrambled. And when that one was gone, he tried to get a hard-boiled egg.

The eggs aren’t part of the regular CSA share, which Leonard keeps vegan. They aren’t cheap, and based on what he told new members at the Verona meeting last month about the rising price of organic chicken feed, they are likely to be even more expensive this year.  But I discovered something interesting when I began using Upper Meadows eggs last year: One filled me up way more than two supermarket eggs.

Nothing ever entirely fills small boys.

UPDATE 4/11: It’s not just my imagination. Thanks to another Gourmet blog, I found a 2007 analysis of eggs from pastured poultry that showed that the have:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene!

Follow The Plaid Piper

On the right side of this page, you’ll see a collection of links under the heading “Food Producers We Love”. One of those links is to Plaid Piper Farm in Branchville, NJ.

I was one of the people who helped Paul Dalrymple and Eileen Griffiths get started on their present farming adventure, taking them through the paces of pastured poultry. In the way of farmer neighbors of the past, Paul came and lent a hand with my fencing project and as we worked we discussed the rigors of pastured poultry management.  

Taking the advice I could offer and spending quite some time soaking up every bit of available information (not forgetting all the hard work), they have developed a superior product and many very happy customers.  Virginia, our Essex County CSA coordinator, got one of their turkeys last Thanksgiving and told me that it was the best turkey she had ever eaten. (She had been tipped off to Plaid Piper by her sons’ scout troop leader, not me.)  Having had the pleasure of trying all their products I can tell you that their chicken is also fabulous!

Upper Meadows crew at Plaid Piper. Paul in front Eileen hiding back right

Upper Meadows crew at Plaid Piper. Paul in front Eileen hiding back right

 So even though Thanksgiving is nowhere in sight, it’s time to think about Plaid Piper’s turkeys. Because of the recession, Paul and Eileen are asking for customers to help them determine what they should raise this year so they can make appropriate plans. If you plan on eating turkey, chicken or pork this year, take a look at Plaid Piper and tell them how much you might want.  Yes, I produce beef and eggs, and will have broilers and turkeys this year but you really want to consider Paul and Eileen’s too. (In 2007 I lent my crew to Plaid Piper for a day to help with the turkeys.) No one farm can or should be relied upon to supply everything. Supporting small farms with an emphasis on farms is vital to all small farms surviving. I am a very staunch advocate of supporting other responsible local farmers.  Plaid Piper deserves your support and with great products to offer, I can think of no better reason to eat locally this year.