Grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb suppliers?
My partner and I just received a free, large chest freezer from a family member and now we are eager to fill it up!
We really want to support local ranchers by buying beef and pork (and maybe lamb) directly from them and in bulk, and prefer it to be grass-finished (or non-feedlot). If not grass-finished and/or organic feed, then grain-fed is fine as long as it supports a small, local rancher.
Can anyone suggest ranchers they have experience using? Plus, any tips as to when and how to purchase? Pricing? Best deals?
I know a lot of these ranchers require that you pick up from them or from the butcher, which is a reason that this is a locally-based question.
Along those lines, is it advisable that I order through a butcher, and who?
Thanks in advance!
Thanks everyone for your responses. I think we will settle on Chileno Valley, since we were looking at purchasing from them before I posted this question.
We weren't sure they were still selling beef since a link we found for them was over 4 years old, but it's good to hear from Daniel that they are still in business!
I will post the results when we finally order through them.
I posted the thread on this a week or so back and got lots of great responses, and we're now pretty close to buying a whole (grass-fed, beyond organic) steer through Chileno Valley Ranch. They've been great to deal with, and you can buy in quarters, halves, or wholes. The whole steer is between 350 and 400 pounds, and costs about $1200. We got a bunch of friends to chip in, so everybody's picking up about fifty pounds worth of beef. Some are getting less. One of the issues that has come up is that their usual butcher delivers the beef cuts wrapped in butcher paper; we've asked him to help us find a butcher who can do it vacuum sealed and frozen. This will doubtless add a small amount per pound. It's a pretty interesting process, though. Turns out an awful lot of a steer is roast meat and the kind of lean sirloin that typically makes hamburgers. The rest, of course, is all the premium steak cuts.
Not sure if this is local enough for you, but we bought beef last year from Morris Grassfed Beef, and have really enjoyed it. Just be careful not to overcook it. It worked out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.50/lb, but remember that you'll get a lot of ground beef.
There was a thread on this topic recently(late last week) specifically about Chileno Farms...do a search and check that out. I have't learned how to post those yet.
Also a great resource for this type of thing is eatwild.com, it has lists of producers and contacts. This is where I found Chileno when I did this.
Those are all good suggestions.
However, I'm looking for someone who has experience buying in larger quantities than what you can typically buy at the farmer's market (I'm talking between 100 - 200 pounds of beef and likely half a hog), as well as price comparisons if possible.
I'm also looking for each type of meat to be supplied from one animal.
Nevertheless, I will check out your suggestions further.
You can buy direct from Highland Hills Farm at the Saturday Berkeley farmers market.
You can buy direct from Marin Sun Farms at the Saturday Ferry Plaza farmers market:
You can buy direct from Prather Ranch in the Ferry Plaza market hall or at various farmers markets:
In season, you can special-order lamb from Full Belly: