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Obtaining Grass-Fed Meats

 
Posts: 42
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...and eggs, and milk, and cheeses, of course. Pastured everything: how best for city-folk to get them?

(And, as importantly, how to AFFORD them?)

I bought two of these packages of ground beef last week at my favorite grocery store, but--the price is absolutely eye-popping, as you would expect.  

So far my ideas for getting the pastured food products our bodies need have been:

  • Grocery store offerings: (squint hard so as not to see the price & ) buy on sale as possible
  • Farmers' Market: Check and see if any livestock is pastured
  • Build chicken-tractor for my mother


  • Other ideas are going to be very much appreciated. Learning how to eat the way we're supposed to is requiring so much reading, trying new things, and doing many things differently. I'm glad to be able question all of you on stuff!
    Grass-Fed-Beef-Copy.jpg
    [Thumbnail for Grass-Fed-Beef-Copy.jpg]
     
    pollinator
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    I would buy a whole animal or an animal share from a local farmer of pastured animals for meat. Dairy products can be trickier as you typically want to pick it up more than once a year. Many areas local farmers offer CSA's that include dairy, eggs etc. Try searching on the internet in your area, or talking to the farmer's market producers, even if they don't have what you are looking for they often know where you can find it.
     
    steward
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    I'd look locally for critter raisers that meet your standards.  Hopefully they can sell you meat at a tolerable price.
     
    master steward
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    You might use this website to see if there are any CSA's near you:

    https://www.localharvest.org/csa/

    For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

    Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

    This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.

     
    gardener & hugelmaster
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    If you have the land I think the best & cheapest way is to raise it yourself. Barring that, here's a very well respected place. They have many videos showing their operation.

    Here's the online store for White Oak Pastures.

     
    gardener
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    I recently found this searchable list of regenerative farms. I was honestly kind of amazed to learn how many farms nearby are raising animals and veg in cool ways. It might be a good place to look for folks to connect with. https://regenerationinternational.org/regenerative-farm-map

    I was lucky and through a cool friend, found a lady who raises happy goats and was able to get a herd share from her. I did have to drive to her weekly to pick up milk, but since we split the share with a friend, we were able to switch off on driving too. Felt very worth it to me. It was so cool to see the goats the milk was coming from, get to hang out with them and even see their names on each of the jars. Can't wait to meet their babies this spring!

    If you aren't able to find anyone locally, I have been super impressed with Azure Standard. I couldn't find pastured beef suet locally and found some there, along with lots of really affordable organic or better food stuffs.

    On the affordability note, I think it can be possible to find good prices. One of the farmers we get pastured beef from has prices cheaper than CAFO meat from the grocery store. I also always consider how much I'm not spending on healthcare because of the quality of food I eat. Getting a bunch of my staples from Azure Standard has also saved me considerably and that money just goes to local pastured animal products now.

     
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    Some great suggestions have already been made. One thing I'd add is this, if those don't work out: certain areas have discount stores that actually have serious deals on grass-fed meat etc.
    I know it might sound way too good to be true, or that it'd be too close to expiring to be worth anything, but if you have a discount food store near you, check it-- prices halved, still fresh, normally in stock, where I am. Great stuff!
    I know this is true in multiple states here but am guessing it only works if you live in a fairly populous area.
     
    Posts: 9
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    One thing to keep in mind is that there is no uniform national or international standard for grassfed animal products and different people may use the term differently, so it's important to ask the right questions if you're concerned with exactly how grassfed the animal really was. I once asked for more info about a burger on a restaurant menu listed as grassfed and was able to look up the farm on my phone and see that the meat was fed grass for most of its life but then was grain finished. Apparently this is fairly common.

    Also, unlike organic, farmers can make grass fed claims all they want with no requirement for third party verification of those claims. So if you know some farmers you trust, it's great to buy directly from them. If not, I recommend buying grassfed meat that IS certified and verified by a third party. The American Grassfed Association has IMO pretty good standards (no grain finishing) and their website has a map of farms they certify as grassfed: https://www.americangrassfed.org/aga-membership/producer-members/
     
    gardener
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    The best way I know of finding grass feed is by asking around. I don't advertise at all.  I am not good at marketing.  The locals find me by talking to others and farms markets.  We can have more business than we have land.  I am thinking about moving somewhere where land is cheaper to grass feed more animals.  I have found, once a customer has a tour of the farm they are always a customer.  A bunch of people like to know where their food comes from.  I still have one steer eating grass in January.  There is a couple other places around here that have a few cattle still eating field dried grass.  I hope you find a local.  

    If you are willing to help process the price goes way down.  These permies type people can help you get started.  They can teach you how to raise your own, how to butcher and then teach you how to cook it so everyone will like it.
     
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