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Food notes: Two new CSAs offer a departure

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/2/2019 9:45:10 PM
Modified: 7/2/2019 9:45:04 PM

CSAs are definitely not just for veggie lovers anymore. This summer, at least two unconventional CSAs are debuting in the region.

Brownsville Butcher & Pantry has just introduced a meat CSA, featuring both familiar and lesser known cuts of meat. Sold in eight-week shares for $280 each, the CSA is designed to provide three-to-four days of protein per week for two people. All of the meat is fresh (not frozen) and most of it comes from local farms including Yates Farm in Brownsville and Many Summers Farm in Cornish.

“Our big thing is focusing on non-GMO and animal welfare,” said Peter Varkonyi, co-owner of Brownsville Butcher & Pantry, which opened for business in November. “Beyond that we’re trying to be price-point conscious.”

Varkonyi, a trained butcher, said the weekly shares will contain $40 worth of meat per week for $35.

Along with being a good value, Varkonyi said the CSA is convenient for customers. The store serves as a pick-up spot for Edgewater Farms’ vegetable CSAs and is coordinating its offerings with the farm. Customers who purchase both CSAs “are really sustaining themselves with what the farm and the store provides,” said Varkonyi, who puts recipes and tips in each weekly share and is happy to consult with customers in person as well.

A typical weekly share will contain 1 pound of ground meat or sausage, 1-1.5 pounds of steak cuts and 2 pounds of poultry. Each week there will be one specialty item such as lamb ribs or beef shanks, for “people who are a bit more adventurous or maybe want to step out of the box,” Varkonyi said.

For more information or to purchase a share, visit butcherandpantry.com or call 802-546-2900.

■A passion for dumplings inspired Anna Magoon to start her dumpling business, Dumps-A-GoGo, last winter. What she didn’t know was how many other people loved dumplings. Business has been brisk from the start, but if she needed any more proof that her dumpling delivery business could deliver, she got it last week when she rolled out the region’s first dumpling CSA.

“I thought, ‘I really hope I can get, like, seven CSA members,’ ” said Magoon, who runs the business from her home in Hartford. Within a few days of posting it on a local listserve, she had 52 CSA customers. “I’m so thrilled that so many people have signed up,” she said. “It’s something that I totally forgot people are in love with.”

The dumpling CSAs come in two options: $50 for a three-month membership of 20 dumplings per month, or $125 for a three-month membership of 50 dumplings a month. Magoon has multiple pick-up locations, including Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, several area food coops, and Wing’s Market in Thetford and Fairlee. She also makes home deliveries around the region.

Meeting new people and seeing new places while making deliveries is one of Magoon’s favorite aspects of the business. “Once I make a personal connection to people, they remember that this is the face behind the dumplings,” said Magoon, who grew up in Thetford and studied culinary arts in New York before returning to the area and opening her business.

She also loves exercising her creativity in crafting her handmade dumplings, which almost always feature local in-season ingredients from area farms and stores. Lately, she’s been having fun with different types of sweet pea fillings, after scavenging all the peas she cared to pick from a friend’s farm.

“Making a dumpling filling is so much fun,” said Magoon, whose recent creations also include Mexican street corn, lemongrass beef and cauliflower and dill dumplings, and who offers vegetarian and vegan CSAs as well. “I try to keep it as fun as possible.”

Magoon is currently signing people up for her fall CSA but may be able to offer a few more summer shares. For information or to sign up, visit dumps-a-gogo.business.site or call 802-299-1280.

Sarah Earle can be reached at searle@vnews.com or 603-727-3268.




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