The Herb Lyceum at Gilson's
Picture a land where pigs, chickens, and Cornish game hens wander freely in open pastures, feeding on pesticide-free grass, legumes, and roaming critters in the warmer months and noshing on GMO-free grains from nearby farms in the winter.
This dream of conscious meat-eaters and locavores alike does exist—in North Dartmouth. And it’s all thanks to Elizabeth and Vince Frary, who met while studying biology in college. Neither are newbies to agriculture: Vince’s extended family operates dairies in upstate New York, while Elizabeth is a fourth-generation Massachusetts farmer. After noticing a lack of—and demand for—pasture-raised poultry in the Bay State, the couple founded Copicut Farms in 2012. Designing their own custom on-site poultry slaughtering facility allows the duo total control over every step, ensuring the process is as humane as possible. A few years in, the Frarys began raising pigs, which are processed at local Animal Welfare-Approved facilities. And as of this year, they’re nurturing a flock of sheep for lamb meat (look out for it in 2018).
The poultry lineup includes everything from the basics (whole birds, thighs, drumsticks, and wings) to harder-to-find parts (livers, gizzards, and a special blend for stock). Pork sausage comes linked and ground, while bacon, belly, hocks, and St. Louis-cut spare ribs round out the selections. Shoppers can choose between varieties of eggs; smaller pullet eggs, which chicken produce early in the laying stage, are known for their richer taste. Turkeys are sold just in time for Thanksgiving, and dry-aged, pasture-raised beef from neighbor River Rock Farm in Brimfield is always on the menu.
Copicut Farms advocates using every part of the animal. Eating the whole bird (or pig) means less waste, of course—but bone-in, skin-on cuts also tend to be more flavorful and contain more nutrients. “It’s a win-win,” Elizabeth told us. “More sustainable for the environment, and better for you.” Studies have shown that the benefits of pasture-raised meat include less saturated fat and cholesterol, plus higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Locavores looking for a regular source of meat and eggs should look into Copicut’s farm share program. Customers buy chicken, pork, and eggs at the beginning of the season, which they then pick up on-site (Saturdays only) or at a number of local farmers’ markets. Members choose between an array of options for membership size, preferred cuts of meat, and convenient pickup times.
If you don’t live near Dartmouth, Copicut offers home delivery and market pickup options for online shoppers. The poultry and eggs can also be found at farmers’ markets in Central Square, Davis Square, Copley Square, Coolidge Corner, Plymouth Plantation, Lexington, Winchester, Hingham, and South Dartmouth. Farm and Coast restaurant in South Dartmouth and Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge also regularly source Copicut meat.