This may sound like a marketing gimmick, but it really is true. If you are of a certain age, you might remember frozen food being low quality. Long ago, it probably was. It might have been soggy and flavorless. You would never have gone out to a restaurant if you knew you were going to be served frozen food. And you certainly wouldn’t have bought it from a farmer. That would have defeated the entire purpose of buying fresh and local.
But these days, freezing techniques have improved greatly. Freezing allows meat, fish, and produce to be frozen in a way that not only saves the nutritional content, but also conserves much of the original texture and flavor. This happens by keeping ice crystals very small. That way, the cell walls are unharmed by the expansion of water molecules, keeping that fresh texture. There is far less moisture loss upon thawing, so your food will not be dry, but tender and succulent, or nice and crunchy, depending on the way nature made it.
You may be saying, I don’t care! I want my food fresh!
Well, which would you rather have: a chicken that’s been sitting in an industrial refrigerator for a week, or one that was frozen immediately after slaughter? The one that sits around day after day will still be growing bacteria, albeit at a slower rate, and it will get limper and less tasty with every passing day.
The frozen chicken, meanwhile, will taste as fresh as the day it was processed. It will be completely safe from any bacterial contamination, and after thawing and cooking you would never even know it was weeks or months old.
Of course, if you still prefer your meat fresh, we do have fresh meat available at certain times of year. Check the order form for information on when you can order fresh pork and poultry.
There is yet another reason why we have only frozen meat available sometimes. The reason we process our animals only at certain times a year is to allow them access to fresh grass, insects, and whatever other natural forage they choose to eat. We believe that’s what creates the quality product we offer. There is naturally high availability of fresh grass and other forages in spring, summer, and fall, but none in the winter. We could keep animals in the winter too, but they would be missing out on all the natural forage and fresh air. We believe this is part of a recipe for creating high quality products, and that it sets us apart from mass producers.
Our main concern at MacDougall Meadows is allowing our animals to live as close to nature as possible, and providing a high-quality product for our customers. We won’t use any techniques that get in the way of either of these goals. That’s our promise to our animals, and to you!