Okay, so I realize that being a “meat-eating vegetarian” is an oxymoron, but it seems to best describe my diet right now. I eat mainly vegetarian, except for meals with friends (Thanks for the burger, Tony! It was delicious and I didn’t die!) and local meat that I can find at the farmer’s market or our Natural Living Center. I can’t remember how much I’ve babbled about The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I figured I may as well start walking the talk and focus on eating local, grass-fed, cage-free, non-CAFO meat, eggs, cheese, etc.
Thankfully, Maine is delightfully full of eggs, cheese, and meat if you know where to look for it. Actually, when it comes to cheese, it’s stupidly easy to find local gems – Hannaford (at least the one in Old Town – I find the Bangor one rather lacking) labels its cheese with their special “local” sticker. Many of them come from Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, and you really can’t find a better cheese. There are also some goat cheeses that come from the coast, and the farmer’s market has a stand with some amazing “bevre” (bovine chevre, which perhaps I would love for their clever name, but fortunately it is also the best soft cheese in the state).
Local eggs are also quite easy to find – last week, finding myself eggless when I was mid-cookie-batch, I ran down to “The Store” downtown and found a case full of eggs that were from just down the road.
This particular find, A Wee Bit Farm, makes pork sausage that is close-your-eyes-and-moan good (is that weird? maybe). The best part? We can buy it at the NLC, and it’s surprisingly inexpensive ($6 for almost a lb), especially if you view meat as a luxury, as we do. Another best part is that it’s processed at the Herring Bros., which is a butcher in Guilford, ME that I have driven by more times than I can count. My sister has a great story about driving to the slaughter house instead of the retail store…but we’ll save that for another time.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I’m pretty iron-poor, and even though I eat a lot of dark, leafy green vegetables and beans, it’s nice to get some meat in my veins every once in awhile. For this meal, I just sauteed up the sausage (squeezed out of the casing), drained off the fat, and added a jar of marinara sauce (I would have made my own, but alas…time does not grow on trees). I served it over whole wheat pasta with a little parmesan and a yes-there-is-too-much-dressing broccoli salad. It was a perfect example of a meal where the freshness and quality of the ingredient made the dish. I don’t find it hard to imagine why chefs always demand range-fed meat.