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Grass-fed beef

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After reading Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Animal Vegetable Miracle, and a number of other timely tomes, we have decided to try to buy only grass-fed beef from now on. So far, we've found that selection is limited. Many places only provide ground beef that is from grass-fed cattle. Do you know of any places that sell steaks and other cuts?

We live in the Glenside area and would like to drive less than an hour.

Thanks!

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  1. Guinta's Prime at Reading Terminal Market has grass-fed beef: http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/... Admittedly I don't know where Glenside is so depending on how fast you drive it may meet your driving requirements.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      No, actually, Guinta's does not have grass fed beef. They do carry "all natural" organic beef, which I'm sure is a cut above say Acme beef, but this issue is really important to me and I recently had an extended conversation with a staffer there. She told me that grass fed beef is too expensive and that there's no demand for it. Everyone who thinks it's important to should request that Guinta's begin carrying it. It people were willing to pay up I think they and other others would sell it.

      1. re: Pgoat

        It would be nice if their market description accurately stated what they do indeed carry...sorry about that!

        1. re: bluehensfan

          Honestly, I think they cultivate the vagueness. I went there specifically for grass fed beef because I had heard it was available there. I kept asking, and they kept skirting the question. Finally, the staffer I spoke with told me that the cows, while organic, eat corn-based feed because they are less expensive and consumers prefer the taste.

    2. There was a grass fed beef vendor at the Headhouse Square Farmers market on Sunday - not sure of the cuts, but there was a long list! Also, Fair Food Farms in the Reading Terminal Market carries some cuts and I believe, although I am not positive, that Giunta's in the Reading Terminal Market also carries some grass fed beef.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bigley9

        Giunta's is great. They also have free range chicken.

        Transportation alternative: Regional Rail (R5) -If you take the R5 from Glenside Station westbound (Paoli/Thornsdale) to Market East Station, you end up right there at the Reading Terminal Station. 30 minutes tops. Driving would take about 40 minutes to get there and park. There is discount parking in the indoor parking lot see website for info. http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/...

      2. You are in luck,,,The Glenside Farmers market (at Elcies) has vendors that bring grass fed beef to the market on Sat.

        4 Replies
        1. re: cybermome1207

          Almost all the butchers at the allentown farmers market sell grass fed beef.

          Windy springs farm is where we get our grass fed beef, and we normally get butchered at Harrings or Herrings (sp?) or Barringers Bros in Quakertown. I like Barringers because they carry a lot more offal.

          Some of the qmart butchers carry grass fed beef.

          If you attend the grange fair, all of the kids 4H projects will be sold, and they will take them to be butchered for you, a majority of them now raise grass fed only.

          This is just off the top of my head!

          Look in the Penny Power, a free discount center magazine for the Lehigh Valley, Lancaster Farmer, you can read that online, etc. It is not nearly as limited or expensive as some believe.

          :)

          1. re: sommrluv

            I just want to withdraw my rec. of Barringers Bros. We had a whole cow butchered there last year, and everytime I unwrap something else I just get more and more angrier. It's the worst butchering I've ever seen.

            I mentioned it to them at their stand, asking about the inconsistencies, and I was given attitude and no apology.

            I'd also like to rec. Hendricks Dairy...beautiful products and they are adding goats this year as well.

            1. re: sommrluv

              Hendricks is fabulous. A little pricey, but if they have what you want, the quality is unimpeachable. And they offer savings for higher quantities for some things. (Ground beef, for example.) All grass-fed, all organic, all delicious. The cheese? To die for.

              http://www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com/

              1. re: Mawrter

                Hendricks is great if you want to drive to Quakertown..their cheese is wonderful too.

        2. You've gotten some great suggestions about sources for grass-fed beef. I also suggest - because I sure needed it myself - reading up on the shifts you have to make switching from conventionally farmed beef to grass-finished.

          Ten second soundbite:
          Less fat = less moisture = eating a shoe if you don't adjust slightly.
          1) Cook it less if using a dry technique;
          2) wet cooking is good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Mawrter

            Demand is low for grass fed beef because it lacks the body and flavor of grain finished (traditioanl) beef. Remember that most beef is grass raised and only finished on grain at the feed lots.

            1. re: crispycar

              Hmmm...most beef is grass raised for a very short time then "finished on grain" where the cows are fed corn and animal by-products to get their weight up as fast as possible so they can be slaughtered as quickly as possible. Yes, this leads to more marbled beef that has the flavor profile we expect in American beef, but the ethics and the health issues involved in "grain finishing" are enough to make me look for grass-fed beef. I think if more people knew about feed-lot conditions, they'd increase demand for grass-fed.

          2. Hendricks farm in Telford has grass fed beef and lamb. Hendricksfarmanddairy.com

            Also great poultry, eggs, raw milk, nitrite free bacon, cheese and raw goat milk. It is about a half hour drive from Chestnut Hill. I go every other week.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jado

              www.Hendricksfarmanddairy.com wont get you there, it's

              http://www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com/

            2. Glad to see people jumping on the grass-fed bandwagon! The more demand, the more farmers will switch over. There is a great site called eat-wild.com that provides a list by state of all the farmers who have grass-fed beef. We go to Hendrickson farms for their raw milk, yogurt and butter. We get our eggs and chickens there too. And they offer grass-fed beef from other farms. If you like yogurt, theirs is out of the world. It is a little thin for me, so I strain it in a coffee filter to thicken it, but the flavor is wonderful. Also, there is a farm called PurelyFarms that sells grass-fed beef, pork and lamb. Their info is on eat-wild.com. I don't think they have their own website. Finally, there is a bison farm in Telford, I can't remember the name. Good luck! Let us know if you find additional good sources.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pafoodie

                I honestly haven't seen or tasted much of a difference.

                I do use some rubs, occassionally.

                Remember grass fed is high in omega 3 fats, which doesn't make it lean, like venison.

                Some breeds of cow do taste better than others. I've had crappy tasted grass fed angus. Limosine immediately comes to mind as a wonderful grass fed cow, I'm sure there are many others.

                1. re: pafoodie

                  I think it matters too, if it's purchased in alfalfa hay, or field grass, etc.

                2. I vaguely remember seeing some vacuum packed frozen Australian(?) grass fed beef at Trader Joes.

                  1. Kiwijen, I've participated with other people in a handful of beef co-ops. Most were grass-finished and raised with sustainable principles but not *certified* organic. I haven't liked all the beef, but I love the beef from the Herr's - dry aged for 3 wks, grass-finished. It would be worth getting some cuts to try before committing to a whole steer, IMO.

                    farmer: Larry Herr
                    sells regularly @ Eagleview Farmer's Market
                    717-519-7174

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mawrter

                      Herr's beef isn't very available these days because of existing relationships with longstanding customers, and the Eagleview farmers market is no more, fyi. Just thought I'd update as I see this thread is back to life again.

                    2. We have been delighted with the beef we got at Tussock Sedge in Souderton. http://www.tussocksedgefarm.com/
                      After reading Omnivore's Dilemma, I contacted the Charlotte Rosenberg at Tussock Sedge to find out if the beef was completely grass fed, and she told me that it is mostly grain finished, but that she also had just read OD and they planned to finish some on grass this year.

                      The only problem with TS is that you have to buy large quantities: sampler pack (12 lbs), variety pack (30 lbs), or a quarter, half, or whole steer. We got the variety pack, which had ground beef, steaks, roasts, etc. All of it was FANTASTIC (I just braised the rump roast this past weekend, and we long ago ran out of the ground meet, which made the best hamburgers ever). I would like to buy a quarter so I would get some of the other cuts that aren't available in the sampler pack, but not sure my husband and I can eat that much beef before it gets freezer burned. We may have to buy it and share it with our four kids (who don't live at home). I'm sure they would be very happy if we did that!

                      Also, I think Hendricks Farm & Dairy carries Tussock Sedge beef, and I assume you could buy individual cuts there, but I'll bet it's quite a bit more expensive. We had gotten very good beef at Hendricks before we discovered Tussock Sedge (someone at Hendricks told us about it), and we still like to go to Hendricks for all the other great stuff they have.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: zelbee

                        We've had beef, just wrapped in the butcher paper, for up to two years in our chest freezer in the basement with no freezer burning or loss of flavor. The basement is somewhat climate controlled (old stone, stays in the mid sixties) and is not a self defrosting freezer...EXTREMELY important.

                        There is also the foodsaver way, but I imagine that would be difficult, as most quarter, half, or whole are already frozen when you pick them up, but I guess you could just vac the outside of the butcher paper.

                        Hope that helps!

                        1. re: zelbee

                          we love the meat we've gotten from Tussock Sedge Farm, Charlotte and Henry ROsenberger are the nicest people too!

                          yes you can get individual cuts at Hendricks as well (and while you're there, pick up some of their milk... I'll blow you away)

                          1. re: cgarner

                            I've purchased an oxtail & milk from hendricks before, and I was very pleased with both. I think I'm going to talk hubby into a half.

                            1. re: cgarner

                              You can also buy the Rosenberger's beef through Philly CowShare, which will deliver it to your door if you cannot get up there! www.phillycowshare.com

                          2. FYI - I was in the Reading Terminal Market on Saturday and Livingood's (who are only there on Saturday's) sells their own grass fed beef. They also participate in a number of other farmers markets, so they likely sell, or would bring, their beef to those as well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bigley9

                              I've been buying beef, produce & chicken from Livengood's at the Bryn Mawr farmer's market. Their selection is a little sporadic, but I've had some great steaks & today I got an incredibly fresh great organic pastured chicken. Not beef, but really delicious! I believe they said they were butchering another steer & would have more cuts available next Saturday.

                              http://brynmawrfarmersmarket.blogspot...

                            2. We've been buying cow shares from Pasture's Pride in Kutztown, PA. I pick up my share (usually a quarter) directly from the butcher in Quakertown. The cows are purely grass fed & grass finished. The beef is *fantastic*. Joy, from Pasture's Pride is a great lady, always willing to answer questions.

                              Kutztown or Quakertown would be a drive for you, but by filling your freezer with a quarter or a half, you wouldn't have to worry about the availability for months.

                              1. i think the grass fed beef is noticebly more flavorful - slightly tougher. THe higher acidity of the grass fed beef means its less likely to harbor e-coli and other bacterias.
                                Bid diffrerence between all the different types - organic , vs natural vs grass fed. As a consumer we really need to educate ourselves. A lot of my freinds think natrural is the same as organic. I am intolerent of corn - there is enough in regular beef to set off my syptoms and show on blood test.

                                1. Anyone read the Inquirer article on this? Most of you could pretty much have *written* it - but it's for the general public to be introduced to these ideas.

                                  I meant this article (see link below) but then I got a bunch of other hits when I searched the Inky. Have fun.

                                  The Humane Factor 5/15/08
                                  http://www.philly.com/philly/entertai...

                                  source - Derek David market
                                  http://www.philly.com/philly/entertai...

                                  more Davis-lovin', also form 12/07
                                  http://www.philly.com/dailynews/featu...

                                  from 5/15, about local farmers' markets
                                  http://www.philly.com/philly/entertai...
                                  (NB: despite the similarity of name, I am not MM, the writer of this article!
                                  )excerpt:
                                  "Fairmount has [grower] Dwain Livengood [edit]. Along with organic produce, Livengood sells organic, grass-fed beef from his small herd - 4-ounce patties at $5.25 a pound to T-bone steaks at $16 a pound."

                                  link to area farmers' markets, many of which have grass-fed beef:
                                  http://www.philly.com/philly/entertai...
                                  There are a slew of them that are reasonable driving distance from Glenside, and I bet a few have grass-fed beef. Then you can develop a relationship with the farmer and order what you need.

                                  1. I recently found it very difficult to determine what was grass-fed and/or organic at the RTM. I would suggest that you look into buying clubs where you can research the farms and get a straight answer about how the animals are raised. Check out farmtocity.org, specifically the Meadow Run Farms buying club has an great selection of beef, pork and lamb all grass raised and finished.

                                    1. We have grass fed beef in the Pittsburgh area and we need to give instructions to the butcher on Wed. Contact me at (202) 213-5237 if you are interested. 100% grass fed beef, no hormones, no drugs.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: pleasantvalleyorganicfarm

                                        Grass Fed Beef is sold every Saturday at the bottom of Chestnut Hill, right on Germantown Avenue on the cobblestone road coming up from the outdoor flower shop (across from Staples). There are a few farms that come down from Lancaster and sell grass fed beef, fresh produce, pies, jams, etc.

                                        I made the decision to start buying grass fed beef only for a few reasons including the fact that the large meet factories in this country are a greater cause of global warming than all of the automobiles in the country combined. When I did searches on line, not only were the prices out of sight, it looked like I'd have to have it shipped across country.

                                        Then I discovered this farm stand on Saturday mornings in Chestnut Hill. The prices are great and the beef is incredible! My children literally can not get enough of the steaks, burgers, and roasts. Give it a try you will never go back to grain fed again.

                                      2. We buy grass-fed beef from Livengood (http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M12002), who sell at various farmer's markets and Reading Terminal. It's some of the best beef I've had -- it's spoiled me for everything else. The texture and flavor redefine meat. I haven't done a side-by-side comparisons of course, but it's better than or comparable to Peter Luger's in Brooklyn, and to the Kobe beef I've had at a few restaurants. Some time after we started eating Livengood, we went to the Capitol Grille for someone's birthday. Their steak seemed like a tasteless, textureless hunk of meat by comparison. (And no, I have no relationship to Livengood, other than being a very happy customer.)

                                        1. The biggest advantage for me with organic, grass-fed beef is I can eat it! A few years ago, I swore off red meat due to digestive problems.

                                          This past summer, I served organic, grass fed burgers at a BBQ and they were a big hit. Afterwards, I didn't have any of my usual digestive problems. I still don't eat much red meat but I have since tried other cuts of grass-fed; I am thrilled I can eat red meat again. I am able to purchase quality, organic, grass-fed beef (a wide variety of cuts) at our local coop in the Twin Cities. A couple of other small groceries carry the products, too, but not the variety. I've asked for grass fed at the local Cub meat counter where I'm told they have many requests but I notice they still don't carry the products.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: foodieftmidwest

                                            The market has been open at the bottom of Chestnut Hill, but I believe it closes at the end of this month.

                                          2. I've bought grass fed beef steaks at the Whole Foods in Jenkintown before. I can't remember the cut - strip or ribeye for sure though.

                                            1. It may be just over an hour for you, but you could check out Manheimdell Farms which is located north of Lancaster. Their website is beefgrassfed.com. We buy their beef a quarter at a time and get a great variety of cuts. They also have great pork available each fall as well.

                                              1. I just bought some ground beef from Giunta's today. It was my first time buying meat at Reading Terminal Market. And I was hoping I'd be able to find some grass-fed beef there. I decided to buy from there because on the RTM pamphlet they are labeled as "all-natrual, grass-fed, hormone-free meats". But after I bought it, I just had a feeling that it probably wasn't grass-fed. I paid $2.50/lb and from my experience with buying grass-fed beef from other sources, I know that is just too cheap to be grass-fed beef. I don't really care about organic beef. Like many of the other posters said, grass-fed is just far more nutrient-dense than grain-fed beef. I would buy from Livengoods except that I really don't want to brave RTM on a saturday. I often have my kids with me when I'm shopping and its too crowded on saturdays for my liking. I know there are several farmer's markets during the summer in Philly that sell grass-fed beef. But most of them are not convenient for me to get to (I live in NE Philly) so I need a place where I can get lots of my needs met at once--which I was hoping for at RTM. Maybe I will ask Giunta's the next time I am there and see if they are even considering carrying grass-fed ground beef. You would think since Food, Inc. came out that there would now be a much larger--and growing--demand for grass-fed meat.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: citymom79

                                                  I haven't been to any of them, but the Food Trust does run farmer's markets in the Northeast. Their markets are usually good.

                                                  1. re: barryg

                                                    thanks, but every time i look on the food trust website for farmers markets in philly, i never see any in the northeast. is there another place i should be looking for info?

                                                    i just called giunta's and spoke with charles giunta. he says all of their beef products are grass-fed. i guess i am a skeptical person because i still feel kind of "iffy" about it. i just don't see how you can sell grass-fed beef for $2.50/lb. i guess there is really no way to know for sure if it is grass-fed for not. you kind of just have to take them at their word.

                                                    1. re: citymom79

                                                      I meant to paste the link:
                                                      http://www.thefoodtrust.org/php/headh...

                                                      The Northeast is big, but they have one in Oxford Circle and couple in what I think is Kensington or close to it. Sorry if that doesn't help. If you're further out, you could look at the nearby suburbs; I know Elkins Park has a decent one on Sundays but I don't know what the meat selection is specifically like.

                                                      1. re: citymom79

                                                        There is no reason why grass fed beef should be more expensive than corn fed. The cost to raise may actually be less for pasture raised beef (grass fed). Growing up farming, I can tell you that most grass fed beef is still fed some corn/grain and this is not a bad thing if done in moderation to supplement grass. While it is cheaper to raise grass fed beef, because large amounts of grain do not need to be purchased from the outside, it usually takes longer for the animal to get up to the desired size for butchering. I think the reason for high priced grass fed beef if because consumers are willing to pay for it and don't understand the process.

                                                        1. re: 18465

                                                          It takes more space and land to pasture cows, and yields are lower.

                                                          1. re: 18465

                                                            18465... cows cannot digest corn...corn and other grains cause cows to bloat.. yes they get bigger and fatter quicker but at what overall "cost" to the animal and to the end consumer?

                                                            grain fed cows are stressed and the meat is of a lesser quality overall the Rosenbergers discovered that and went to "grass fed, grass finished"

                                                      2. re: citymom79

                                                        In the RTM you can get grass fed beef (for sure) from the Fair Food Farmstand. Livingood's is no longer in the RTM, but is at Passyunk and South (at 5th) Farmer's Market on Tuesdays

                                                        1. re: Bigley9

                                                          Kimberton Whole Foods out in Chester County (also in Douglassville and Ottsville) carries very good grass-fed beef. Yes, it's a different taste, but I feel a whole lot better eating this, than that stuff with antibiotics and stuffed with corn in a feed lot...ugh.

                                                          1. re: Bigley9

                                                            Livengood is also at the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market. I like their beef a lot!

                                                        2. We've split off a post about beef feeding practices to a new thread on the General Chowhounding Topics board. You can find that thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/730365

                                                          1. Also, I wanted to add that Natural Meadows Farm sells grass-fed beef from hormone free cows every Saturday at the Greensgrow, Fitler Square, and Landsdowne Farmer's market. The beef is very tasty and they usually have a variety of cuts.

                                                            1. There is a butcher in Berlin, NJ, which carries 4-H raised grass fed beef, pork and lamb. I was just on their website today. You might want to check it out. (BringhurstMeats.com) I like the idea that the animals were humanely raised and cared for by the 4-H kids. I used to go there all the time when we lived in Jersey because they have great prices on venison. It's about 45mins. away if you use the Commodore Barry Bridge.

                                                              1. Stockton Farm Market in Stockton New Jersey carries Purley Pastured Meats, chicken, pork, rabbit, lamb and eggs also Croton Cooporative Grass fed beef, chicken, honey. also Bobolink grassfed cheese, veal and beef

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: mombaker247

                                                                  I fully understand the nutritional & ethical reasons behind the free range, chemical/drug free grass finished beef movement. I have had the best of it and it was outstanding and very beefy tasting like no grain finished animal I have ever had. I have also had the worst of it and it was a terribly tough liver tasting mess even when cooked med. rare. Finding a source for consistently tender non liver tasting free range grass finished beef is tough. In general, the leaner the animals food just prior to slaughter, the less marbling. The more an animal exercises on that wide open range just prior to slaughter, the stronger/tougher its muscles become. We wont even get into the types of grass and maturity of the grass they feed on and how that can effect flavor. Most butchers don't carry it because 1/2 the time it is tough and all the time nearly double the cost of beef finished on the feed lot. Some may order a whole primal cut for you if they have a good reputable source, but even then, if the butcher is honest he will warn you that there are no guarantees of it being tender like he can give you with a high grade grain finished product. A lot of good reputable places have been mentioned in this thread, just have to try them and hopefully find one that is consistently good at a $$ you can afford.

                                                                2. You can also try asking about sourcing at restaurants that focus on local foods. I live in NYC but have found great grass-fed beef producers by asking waiters and chefs where they source from.

                                                                  Grass-fed beef can vary in quality of course like any other product. I think when we buy say, local tomatoes, we might ask the farmer how they are this week or wonder if they are at their peak, but we're not used to doing so with beef. We're used to corn-fed which is more consistent. But great grass-fed beef is truly spectacular. Many of the farmers I've spoken to recently are engaging with their customers about the breeds they're working with, the pasturing methods, and the season and how these things affect marbling and flavor. I have plenty of well-marbled grass-fed steaks in my freezer right now and have no craving for corn-fed beef at all. I also love talking to farmers who are committing to these more responsible farming practices.

                                                                  In any case, good luck in your search and please report back!

                                                                  JeremyEG
                                                                  HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                  1. Call Weaver's Way store in Chestnut Hill. They carry some grass-fed beef and you can call them at 215 843 2350 for particulars as to what they carry. It's a coop and open to the public.
                                                                    There's a high level of consciousness about the quality of the products there so you may find more than grass fed beef of interest.

                                                                    It's probably closer to Gelenside than manyof the other suggestions, such as RTM