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San Diego Local Beef, Pork and Poultry?

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Does anyone know where in the SD area you can get local, maybe organic, maybe sustainably-farmed meat? I'm especially interested in grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, etc. Is there anything like a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) only for meat? I love BeWise for vegetables, but am still going to Costco for beef! :(

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  1. There were some discussions before about this topic and it looks like that there is not any place in SD to get organic/local/sustainably-farmed meat. Please ket us know if you find anything.

    1. i know a guy who sources his meat from Brandt farms. Its up in SF but he ships the meat down via 2 day air. It might be a lil more expensive, but all the steaks are prime and the beef is of pretty good quality. I know its not really San Diego Local beef, but its "so cal" local i guess.

      if you want i can email you his email or phone number

      2 Replies
      1. re: clayfu

        To get Brandt farm beef in SD is not a problem, I saw it for example at Jonathan. But I wouldn't call Brandt farm as local (they are in Brawley, not SF). They are also not organic or grass-fed.

        1. re: honkman

          that's why i prefaced it with it not being local.

      2. I do know there are pelnty of Egg options in San Diego, I think Henry's caries them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: normalheightsfoodie

          Hilliker's egg ranch in Lakeside supplies many stores.

          Some egg ranch from Escondido provides the 99ยข egg dozen for Trader Joe's, complete with an expiration date stamped onto each individual egg...

          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            There are literally dozens of egg ranches spread around the county and as a result it is fairly easy to find local chicken as well. After age 2-3 years a hen starts to produce fewer eggs so they sell it off to a slaughter house.

          2. During the last days of the County Fair (ends on July 4 always) they local 4H groups (mostly from East and North County High Schools) auction off animals which are taken north, butchered and delivered, wrapped into portion sizes you can request, the following weekend.

            A friend got a half pig this year and it is taking up a good portion of a large chest freezer, but the various cuts were wrapped into serving sizes for two.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Cathy

              That's about as local as you can get! We looked into doing that this year, but didn't want to spend the $2000 on a cow without a little more research. We saw auction prices ranging from $4 to $8/lb (company donations boosted some animals to almost $16/lb!), plus there is a butcher fee of about $0.80/lb and the hauling/processing fee. When the cows are up near 1000 lbs each, it gets pretty expensive.


              1. re: leanneabe

                Overall, that is a good price considering the costs of raising. Maybe find a few other like minded people so you can split the cost..and the cow. I will have to ask Mrs. T how she got a half a pig...but she is on vacation right now. In the past we have only bought whole goats.

            2. I like the Shelton farms chicken..i get it at T&H Prime meats in San Marcos.

              1. Kimber's Farm Fresh Eggs in San Marcos has turkey (I think they may be out for the season though), chickens, eggs, honey, and produce. You can find them at http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M17984. As far as produce CSAs, the only one I know of is Rainbow Farms near L.A. They have three month and six month CSA options still available for 2008 (when I called them the other day).

                As far as organic beef, I spoke to one of the 4-H advisors here in San Diego county recently about the possibility of some of their groups taking on organic beef for their project this year. The idea was warmly received, and he has promised to get back to me soon.

                Check out my ever-growing directory to eating locally here in San Diego: http://localtarian.blogspot.com

                1. Thank you, everyone, for the feedback! I've actually done the "buy a pig at the County Fair" thing twice, and the quality of the meat was superb- it actually had flavor. The bacon was to die for. I'd have to get a bigger freezer to do that with a cow, though!

                  After reading "Omnivore's Dilemma" I'd really love to find local organic grass-fed beef, but it looks like Brandt farm might be the best local bet. Henry's carries grass-fed.

                  Localtarian, let us know if you hear anything about the 4H! That sounds like it could be fantastic.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: sphex

                    You have to be careful about the "grass-fed" labeling, as all cows are fed grass early in their lives, and many farms and markets use this as a standard for the label. I think the book even talks about this. The label/wording is not standardized, and can mean anything.

                    So far, the only major market I've found that sells 100% grass-fed beef is Whole Foods (and it is expensive). Henry's beef is not fed grass through its whole life, and their organic beef is fed organic corn.

                    1. re: sphex

                      The flavor of the meats has very little to do with how the pig was raised and has almost everything to do with how it was processed. True, fact most commercial slaughter houses use "submersion disinfaction" where all the meat is submerged into a water & bleach mixture for up to 30 minutes to disinfect it. Naturally, this heavily dilutes the flavors of the meat and it results in the meat packer selling us water logged meats by the pound instead of just natural meat which are not water logged. The water & bleach soaking is what dilutes the flavor.

                      Don't count on this practice to end though since it is dirt cheap and the meat packers love charging us an extra 15% for water instead of meat.

                      1. re: oerdin

                        My $0.02: The most important factors in the flavor/texture of pork are (not in any order) breed of the pig, what food the pig was finished on, and the emotional condition of the animal at slaughter. Exercise seems to have some effect, too, but as far as I can tell not as much as the other factors. How the animal is raised of course would include feed and exercise, and also contributes a lot to the animal's emotional state at the processor.

                        I've spent the last couple years visiting farms and comparing pork of different breeds, finish feed, exercise, and habitat, and this opinion is just a reflection of what I taste. Your mileage may vary. I would though recommend the book "Pig Perfect" by Peter Kaminsky as a good starting point if you're interested in learning more.

                        1. re: oerdin

                          I think the feed matters a lot with pigs (and other animals) which is why you can taste a clear distinction between Jamon Serrano, Jamon Iberico, and Jamon Iberico de Bellota. In general they all use the same breed but using feed (corn) versus acorns makes a huge difference. The finest pigs which provide Jamon Iberico de Bellota are also exercised differently and free range.

                      2. Here's an update: RC Livestock (40288 De Luz Murrieta Rd, Fallbrook, CA 92028, Ron & Cheryl Lange, 760-723-9193, cell: 951-970-5256, rclive@tfb.com) raises goats, sheep, and cattle that can be purchased by home consumers. I haven't done it myself (no room to store a whole or even half cow!), but you can learn more about the place from Sea Rocket Bistro that recently posted a video of their visit there (http://www.searocketbistro.com/conten...). Definitely worth a look!

                        1. Here you go - http://www.rangelandbeef.com/. The quality is amazing and they have started up a CSA - like delivery system. I am in San Marcos and they have been delivering to my CSA drop point (through J.R. Organics).

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: daxtro

                            Hey daxtro, I checked out this link -- looks great but not super-informative. If you don't mind expanding, how did you set this up, just email the guys on the website? Can you give any ballpark on prices? Thanks!

                          2. Homegrown meats in La Jolla advertises local grass-fed meats, and is an entire market with a wide range of product. I believe the beef is pasture fed in Palomar. They also make their own jerky and sausages, as well as age the beef in house. Here's their website:

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: cmhuang

                              I was so excited abut this shop but I am sorry to report that there is not good feedback from locals so far. I went in there a week or so after it opened and had very friendly but untrained service from one of the "butchers" who really was all over the place in terms of his knowledge of the origin of their products. Captain Jack seemed positive on another thread, but I have heard from four people this past week of very unsatisfactory steaks (and the only "local" aspect seems to be the pastured beef, most other items are brought in and some frozen - a $30 rosemary marinated roasting chicken). The reports I heard were of very large chunks of fat running through the middle of steaks, which would seem impossible as pastured beef is verrrry lean. Possible the buyers bought a cut from the shop from a different supplier (they have several, and on my visit it was not clear what cuts came from where). I'm also not quite sure how I feel about "local" pasture fed in Palomar that is then trucked to LA to the nearest processing facility, then back to La Jolla. That carbon round-trip footprint makes me wonder about the whole concept. I am a big fan of one of the partners other endeavors but I'm not sure I will give it a try, and I live 8 blocks away.

                              1. re: foodiechick

                                Just want to chip in a thought about the carbon footprint of said beef...Palomar to LA to La Jolla is the fewest miles you can get on beef sold in this town.

                                There's no USDA processor closer to us than the one in LA (Manning Beef in Pico Rivera) that Mendenhall uses.

                                There's no feedlot significantly closer to Pico Rivera than the pastures of Mount Palomar is.

                                The environmental externalities (i.e., carbon footprint, along with other ecological and social damage) of pastured beef are way, way less than feedlot beef.

                                I'm pretty sure no beef we could buy in San Diego has significantly less of an environmental impact than animals pastured in Palomar and processed in LA.

                                1. re: jayporter

                                  Thanks for the expertise Jay. I knew about the lack of closer processor, but wondered if there was anything closer on the northern or eastern side.

                                  1. re: foodiechick

                                    Good point. I believe there is a large processor in El Centro/Brawley area which handles a lot of feedlot meat which is grown in that area. Feedlot meat grown in the Imperial Valley and processed there might cut down a few transportation miles of beef on the hoof. On the other hand, when you factor in the endless shipping of corn from the Midwest required to grow feedlot beef, I'm super confident that the carbon footprint (not to mention other externalities) is much bigger with Imperial Valley feedlots than local pastured meat.

                                    Also, since the packer/processor in the Imperial Valley is a giant national packer and doesn't necessarily sell under its own name, I'm not sure if you can just kind of go to the store and buy that beef. On the other hand, Brandt Farms, which is grown in the Imperial Valley and which you can buy by name, is processed at the same facility in Pico Rivera that the Mendenhalls use. (I've been to that facility and was very impressed by the folks who work there, for what it's worth).

                                    Thanks for being interested in these seemingly mundane details!

                            2. Mendenhall Ranch in Palomar is a local organic cattle ranch specializing in 1005 grass feed beef and you can buy their beef at Home Grown Meat Butcher Shop in La Jolla. They're pricey just as you would expect a shop in La Jolla to be but I suspect they will branch out to more then just this shop.