Ordering from Polyface Farms
These are the things I knew after watching Food Inc.:
1) I knew that I wanted to change my food purchasing and eating habits,
2) I knew that I really disliked Monsanto and all their radio ads made me hate them even more
3) I knew that farmer in the film w/ the really big glasses was AWESOME!
Knowing #3, I did some research on Polyface Inc. After several google searches, I found out that the farm was about 180 miles from DC – buying from the awesome farmer was cool and all, but not cool enough that I’d drive that far. Thankfully, I also found that you can join their buying club and it was pretty easy to do so.
First of all, these are the buying club locations in VA and MD (via their site):
- Falls Church
- Flint Hill
- Silver Spring
- Takoma Park
If you’re anywhere near these cities, all you have to do is email them and they’ll email you a link to the Buying Club website – I’d disclose the site, but I think the first rule of Buying Club is: you don’t talk about Buying Club. If you’re not near these areas, they’ll direct you to Eat Wild to find similar farms in your area.
From there, you simply sign up for Buying Clubs near you and order on the website. That’s the easy part; the hard part is actually finding something in stock that you want. Having been featured in the Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Inc., it’s safe to say that demand for Polyface products is high, so most items on the site are sold out shortly after being added. Though if you’re in the market for beef tongue, that’s one item that I’ve never seen sell out.
After you checkout, you’ll receive an order confirmation and then you simply show up at the drop off location at the designated time, pay with cash or check, and take home your products. They charge $0.25/lb for shipping and a $20 re-stocking fee if you miss the pickup. You can email them to request an order total a few days before pickup or give them a call.
As you might expect, the prices are pretty steep: $7/lb for beef brisket, $3.25/lb for a whole broiler chicken, $5.50/lb for Boston Butt, $9/lb for sliced bacon, $2.50/dozen medium eggs. If you’re used to shopping at Safeway/Giant and especially Sam’s Club/Costco, those prices are shocking, but these aren’t mass-produced, feed-lot products.
My first order from Polyface consisted of 5lb of pork fat, ground beef, and a dozen large eggs, since that was about all they had in stock that I wanted.
The eggs came in a Harris Teeter container.
Admittedly, the products from Polyface didn’t taste significantly better or fresher than those I buy at other grocery stores. In fact, I did a blind taste test w/ Polyface eggs and Eggland’s Best ($2+ for 18 large at Sam’s Club), and I couldn’t tell the difference. This was to be expected however, since one of the points of Food Inc. is that companies know how to engineer food to American’s tastes. So ordering from Polyface for me and my family did two things: 1) it made us feel better that we were supporting farmers who use sustainable farming practices and are awesome and 2) made a significant dent in our weekly food budget.
Will we order from Polyface again? We already have. In fact, we plan on ordering from them on a regular basis. But after being conditioned for years that a pound of meat should cost about as much as a box of cereal, we won’t be turning our backs on Smithfield or Tyson completely anytime soon. Hopefully, the USDA will start subsidizing healthy foods to the point that a pound of broccoli will be cheaper than a double cheeseburger and support farmers and companies dedicated to sustainable agriculture so that families like mine can choose responsibly without destroying our budgets. Until then *crosses fingers* we’ll keep ordering from Polyface and purchasing as many products that don’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup as our budget will allow.
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