Locally Raised Beef, Rabbit and Lamb, Now Available
New program brings locally raised steaks to market near you.
When people think about the “local” food movement, they might think of growing vegetables in their own garden, or perhaps becoming a member of a food co-operative, or Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA), or shopping at the local vegetable stand or farmer's market.
Still, most people think of the vegetable side of their diet—maybe eggs too, but mostly vegetables as the only real way to go local.
Under a new program, the Southern Maryland Meats Program, consumers will now have the opportunity to purchase meat, including beef, lamb, and rabbit, grown in five Maryland counties—Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
Locally, the locations to purchase the meat will be at My Butcher and More in the Clock Tower Plaza on Forest Drive, the Anne Arundel County Farmer’s Market on Riva Road at Harry Truman Parkway, and Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville.
Allen Calhoun is the owner and operator of Ivy Neck Farm in Harwood. The farm has been in the Calhoun family since the 1600s. Allen took over operations from his father a few years back.
Calhoun and Ivy Neck Farm will be providing Anne Arundel grown beef to the program.
One of the hallmarks of the meat program, aside from the local aspect, is that all of the animals are raised, transported and processed humanely, and they are not fed animal byproducts or given growth hormones. They are not given antibiotics unless medically necessary.
Calhoun said he has noticed in recent years that consumers want more locally produced food items. Calhoun’s beef is raised in south county. It is taken to a family-run slaughterhouse in Catonsville, J. W. Treuth.
“We’ve very fortunate that they are around,” Calhoun said of the USDA-approved vendor.
Calhoun said part of the appeal of the locally grown movement is knowing where the food comes from.
“In general terms, if you buy meat at a grocery store, you have no idea where it is coming from," Calhoun said. "It could be from down the road, across the country, or from another country. If you buy hamburger, it could be from 100 different cows.”
Calhoun said hamburger purchased from Ivy Neck Farm is always from one single source: one steer raised on the Ivy Neck Farm.
In recent years, the co-mingling of different annimals from different farms at the slaughterhouse has created headlines when ground beef recalls can’t be traced to a single farm or source. The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently has at least nine nationwide recalls for ground beef, due to cross-contamination and/or bacteria.
Another case to be made for locally grown meat is that it travels only a short distance from farm to table. That is a smaller footprint in transportation costs, refrigeration usage, and energy consumption.
The Sunday Event at Homestead
The kickoff at Homestead Gardens will feature speakers including Dr. Christine Bergmark, the executive director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, Mike Smollen from My Butcher and More, and Calhoun.
Chef James Barrett from the Westin Hotel in Annapolis will be giving away sample sliders made from beef from Ivy Neck Farm.
The types of meat that will be available will include beef, lamb and rabbit from sources in each of the five participating counties.
Christine Bergmark, the executive director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, said that, until the introduction of the program, buying meat from a local cattle ranch has been hard.
“Consumers buying directly from the farm had to buy the whole cow, not just a steak,” she said.
In addition, the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp., which manages and promotes agricultural and environmental programs on behalf of Anne Arundel County is supporting the effort.