Last night, as the pork loin had just reached perfection and salads were almost complete, I realized it was 5:58pm! I turned off the oven, grabbed my keys, shouted “I have a farm pickup!” and ran out of the house to the car. I pulled up to another house, about 10 blocks from my own, where Brooks Miller was well bundled in front of a truck filled with coolers containing packages of pasture-raised meats and eggs as well as raw, grass-fed dairy products and more. Beside him stood a man I wasn’t familiar with yet, but am presuming was Emanuel Smucker.
Brooks and Emanuel, along with their wives, are local farmers. Their families’ own and operate North Mountain Pastures and Sunset Valley Farm respectively. Specializing in complimentary products, they recently teamed up by offering the North Mountain Pastures Buyer’s Club new items like raw, pastured milk, cheese, yogurt and honey as well as a super delicious grade b syrup (seriously, I had my first taste this morning). I’ve participated in both the Meat CSA and the Buyer’s Club with North Mountain and can’t emphasize enough how humble, generous and inspiring the Miller’s have been during our brief interactions or email exchanges.
We first participated with a medium ‘everything’ share which includes cuts of beef, poultry, lamb and pork. The packaging was by portion and sometimes offered a new challenge by introducing us to a cut of meat that I would not have otherwise chosen. Cooking was fun and interesting and the Millers offered recipes in their newsletter and on their website to help with culinary inspiration. Our family, however, is not a huge fan of the pastured pork. Next time we join the CSA, we’ll elect a pork free share instead. The medium-sized meat share fed our family of two adults and two small children almost an entire month.
More recently, I’ve chosen the Buyer’s Club option with North Mountain Pastures, which allows anyone to purchase as little or as much from their store as they’d like. I enjoy the ground beef, roasts, ribs, whole chickens and parts the most. The lamb has always been delicious, but more of a treat and less of a monthly staple. Their once monthly deliveries to Harrisburg and Camp Hill always include eggs for us, as well.
Of their newest offerings through Sunset Valley, I was most excited to see pastured butter and grade b syrup, which I have a hard time finding in the average grocery market. Another exciting purchase was local, raw honey. I first learned of the benefits of local honey from the Fredricksen Library’s Bee Local Festival last September. The immune boosting qualities of local honey alone had me hooked before I even found a source. I typically use honey as a sweetener in place of refined sugar, but may start adding a bit to tea for more frequent exposure. Sunset Valley Farm products are also available in the same building as Nino’s Bistro and Italian Market at 18th and Market Streets in Camp Hill, PA every saturday from 9am-2pm.
As I look forward to our next meal, provided by local farm(s) I also look forward to the expansion of North Mountain Pastures’ facilities. Check out their video in the link below (since I can’t figure out how to embed it, yes I pasted to HTML) for more information about their background, the work they do and their plans that will impact our community. You could help.