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Oct 31, 2008 10:06 AM

Sustainable and pastured meat in San Diego

So after reading Fast Food Nation, and being dismayed to find out that Brandt is shipping in tons of corn to feed their cattle, I'm looking to find a source for pastured meat I can cook at home. Does anyone know of a San Diego source for pastured, non-feedlot, grass-fed beef? I've heard about a place on Palomar that has a storefront in La Jolla. Anyone tried this?


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  1. You might want to call Iowa Meat Farms and find out what they do.

    3 Replies
      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

        Iowa Meat Farms sells Berkshire pork from the place Jay gets most of his pork products. At least they did a couple of weeks ago.

        1. re: DougOLis

          the Kurobuta chops are Berkshire I believe. The only pork chops I consider decent enough for a grill heh heh.

      2. It's called Homegrown Meats. All I tried there was a house made jalepeno sausage and a Rosie Petaluma chicken. Their prices are high, but they do claim that their beef is all pasture on Palomar. They have their own aging room, but do have to send their meat up to LA to be processed still, since there isn't a closer operation.

        ps- if you like FFN, I would recommend The Omnivore's Dilemma. It's a little more broad, but excellently researched.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cmhuang

          Homegrown Meats in La Jolla is expensive but if you want local all grass feed beef they're the only shop I know selling it. Believe it or not there are a ton of cows and chickens raised in this county but there is no FDA approved slaughter house so the actual butchering must be done in L.A. but that's still relatively local.

        2. You can also purchase your meat from a 4H auction, you have to buy the whole steer, but usually they process it for you, you will need a freezer or friends to go in with you.

          1. Homegrown Meats is very expensive and we have had very uneven experiences. I'm beginning to think I can't justify the price for experimentation, even though I would really prefer to keep it as local as possible.

            6 Replies
            1. re: foodiechick

              What do you mean by uneven? I'd likely be looking to buy stuff for braising as opposed to steaks.

              1. re: Josh

                All we have bought are steaks, inconsistencies with toughness and gristle. You will probably have MUCH better luck with braising cuts, assuming less expensive as well!

                1. re: Josh

                  I have been buying all my meat from Homegrown since they opened. I go once a week and generally buy some grass fed beef (varying cuts, short ribs, ribeyes, and ground have been our favorites), berkshire pork, ground deistel turkey and fresh cut roasted for turkey, various cuts of pork, and the rouge poulet whole chickens (an heirloom breed from France that has soured us on any other chicken.) Also, they have the best wild boar bacon ever. We really love the taste of all the grassfed products and prefer that now over corn-fed. The guys that work there can range from extremely knowledgable to less so but eager to learn and help but they have never been anything other then enthusiastic and helpful. I generally go Sunday mornings after the LJ Farmers market around 11 when they open and have found that crew to be the best. Also, it is more expensive then the grocery store but less so then whole foods. I find that I can buy my meat for two people and generally a dinner party for the week for around $75. Perhaps that is expensive but it covers almost all dinners and lunches for a week and I feel better about what I am eating.

                  1. re: jturtle

                    Wow! That is such a raving and detailed review, convinced me to go back. Thanks for all of the detail on various products!

                    1. re: jturtle

                      Thanks a bunch for the detailed report. I will definitely be checking it out.

                  2. re: foodiechick

                    The "uneven experience" is an inherent part of grass feed cattle. The flavor of the meat tends to be effected by the type of grass in the pasture (is native grasses, is it large seed grasses, are there a lot of herbs in the grass mix... All of these things change the flavor and contribute a gameness to the flavor) also grass feed cattle do not fatten up like corn feed cattle so it is a much leaner meat which must be served more on the rare side or it will dry out and become tough. A friend of mine who was raised in Argentina tells me she thinks American cattle are to greasy because they're so fattened prior to slaughter but the extra fat and consistent diet mean the meat almost always juicy and tastes the same no matter where it raised. Believe it or not there are advantages to modern agriculture over the grass feed beef but it depends on what your personal tastes are.

                  3. As far as I know the only one is the place up on Palomar and even they have to send their cattle up to LA somewhere for processing so you can't truly get local pastured meat. That being the case, would you consider ordering over the internet from Tallgrass or Aldersprings Ranch? I've had great experience with everything I've received from Aldersprings Ranch.