Looking for places to buy sustainably-raised meat
We're relocating from the Bay Area and I am looking to connect with the same sort of producers who have made living and eating in San Francisco so delicious. To that end, I am trying to compile a list of vendors/farmers in the LA area that sell sustainable, pasture-raised meat (also eggs and dairy) and places where such products are sold (farmer's markets, specialty store, order direct from farmer, etc).
Please send any information you have my way - thanks!
Welcome to LA.
The Linder Bison is grass fed (and not finished on grain) and excellent. Much better than other bison sources. I really prefer it to grass fed beef from any source. Personally, I haven't found reliable grass fed beef anywhere. We buy steaks from Harvey Guss, a restaurant supplier (search).
I have a half share in a pig but can't share my source (sorry). We order our half lamb from Heritage Foods. Ordering in bulk is much, much cheaper.
I quite like the chickens at Kendor Farmers at the HFM. In a pinch we'll buy the kosher organic from Whole Foods.
We buy dairy from Organic Pastures (raw) or Clover Organics. We buy eggs from Lilly's (HFM) or Trader Joes organic free range.
Fish is dire unless you buy from Santa Monica Seafood. Bristol Farms in a pinch but my experiences with Whole Foods are generally poor. The other, less expensive supermarkets are dire. The Asian markets have very fresh fish but most of it is pond raised, trucked long distances, and tastes muddy to me. For best quality/price you'll want to check out the wholesale fish/sushi markets downtown.
Cheese at BH Cheese is adequate but not inspired. They have a good selection of aged cheese from colder European climes (Swiss, etc.) but the soft aged cheese are almost always very overripe and the selection of artisianal American cheeses is pathetic.
The best produce is available at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market (Wednesday morning) and the Hollywood Farmer's Market (Sunday morning).
You need to call at least a day in advance, have an order larger enough to make it worth it to them (we generally order a minimum of $50), be very pleasant and patient when you arrive*, laugh at jokes told at the office, and skip to your car with your goodies.
** This is known as the "don't screw it up for the rest of us" clause.
What a great list! Thank you so much for all the tips. A few questions:
1) Does Harvey Guss sell either grassfed or humanely raised (like Niman Ranch) beef?
2) Where are the fishmarkets and do you have to get there at the crack of dawn? They sound wonderful (and potentially very close to my office!)
3) How much freezer space does a person realistically need in order to take advantage of buying in bulk?
Again, thanks for all the advice. I'm really looking forward to exploring the area and spending some time on these boards.
I heard from one supplier that a quarter beef is about 200+ pounds, dressed. We're figuring out freezer strategies now.
Santa Monica Seafood is retail and wholesale, so, no, you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn. There are a couple other fish suppliers in downtown LA, but I haven't tried them.
They don't carry grass fed beef as far as I know. They do carry a slightly better brand of chicken (Shelton I think) but I prefer my source.
We can fit half of a pig into a small freezer on our patio/large refrigerator freezer. Our freezer also have half a lamb/ 35 pies at any given time. When fresh and not yet frozen, we can contain the entire pig in the refrigerator portion.
Several downtown wholesale places:
Ocean Fresh Seafood
Open 5:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
I'm sad to say that Los Angeles is behind SF/East Bay when it comes to sustainable eating. You can get grass-fed beef at Whole Foods and Wild Oats markets (Wild Oats being a bit less expensive). Some of the local farmers' markets have bison that is grown sustainably.
Like a lot of people who've read The Omnivore's Dilemma over the past year, I've been looking for resources, too. I think my family and I have decided that mail-ordering a 1/4 or 1/2 beef is the most cost-effective way to go. There's a good list of ranches in this website:
re: Mrs Fang
Thanks for the link and the information. If you are ordering by mail, I highly suggest Prather Ranch (pratherranch.com) - I buy their beef, pork and lamb here (I'm not sure if pork and lamb are available by mail) and it is spectacular.
I, too, get the sense that sustainable eating has not caught on in LA the way it has in SF, but I also get the sense that the community of people who are interested in buying and eating sustainably is growing everywhere. Hopefully, this thread can give us a good start in finding sources close to us!
I buy grassfed beef frozen directly from the farmer (I can't remember his name!) at the Santa Monica farmer's market on the 3rd Street Promenade Wednesday's and Saturdays 8a-1p. He's also at the Santa Monica Main Street/Ocean Park farmer's market on Sundays.
For something unique, the grassfed bison roast I got from Lindner Bison (used their slow-roast recipe)is out of this world. Also at the SM 3rd Street farmer's market. www.lindnerbison.com. Wasn't as impressed with the ground meat, I think because it was naturally very lean and needed more fat, but the roast was amazing...sweet, tender,juicy, flavorful. Even two non-adventurous eaters found it delicious.
I don't have any friends with chickens, so I resort to the organic free-range eggs from Trader Joes. Consistently fresh, always available and the freshness makes a huge difference in my baking.