Calgary Area - Where to buy bulk high quality meat?
Back home my parents manage to get all of there meat farm direct. For instance, they buy a bunch of organic free range chickens, they buy a spring lamb, a share of a head of beef or bison, etc. It all comes butchered and wrapped for the freezer. Typically cost is per pound and you get all the cuts.
Does anyone have good recommendations to stalk a deep freeze in the Calgary area? Looking for free range, grass or grain fed, etc. Organic optional.
Thanks for your ideas!
For Bison we buy from CRMR http://www.crmr.com/ranch/products.php it's obviously not as cheap as buying bulk beef from Superstore but you get what you pay for imho and the practices, quality & service are top notch. It used to be you could pick it up put at the farm or at Cilantro, I think now you'd pick up your order at the CRMR at Home store.
I got introduced to CRMR by word of mouth - might even have been here.... I spent a few weekends this summer going to farms, mainly for produce, and found this Agriculture Alberta map quite useful: http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app21/rtw/... just change the drop down on the right to protein and you'll find a whole host of options.
We have found Balzac Meats to always be good. They also have a nice selection of other meats: pork, chicken, bison, etc.
It's a little drive out of the city but they will also do custom orders for you. They also have some of the less popular cuts available such as oxtails and organ meats. They do not have a website to my knowledge but here is how to find them.
Balzac Meat Processing
Balzac, AB T0M 0E0
Owner/Manager: Rod McLeod
Products: Beef, Pork, Sheep, Bison, Elk
I do not know how any of their products are raised, however all are local Alberta, they list certain product ingredients on their website, and they'll do any cut you want. They're also just a couple of km south of the 22X west of MacLeod. I get them to do special cuts that are not often found elsewhere.
re: Scary Bill
My fiancee and I went to red deer lake just recently in person to ask about their meat. Was it grass fed? Not sure. Was it free range/pastured? Not sure. Then the guy started trashing organic meats, and that buying organic meat was three times more the price but you don't get what you pay for.
We were shocked, said thanks, bought nothing and drove to Community Natural Foods for their pastured meat selection.
For anyone here who is not sure:
no hormones, no antibiotics, cows eat what they're supposed to eat - grass, cows are not stressed therefore no elevated stress hormones in the body, all amount to higher omega 3-6 ratio (higher omega 3 than 6) as this is less inflammatory to the body, and inflammation is what causes heart attacks, not saturated fat.
Google the lipid hypothesis proven false for the latest research studies proving this, and start eating healthy meats, the whole animal, as vitamins are fat soluble.
CRMR raise elk and Bison, and if you drive out to the ranch directly you can get a better price than the boutique store. Also you can place large orders. http://www.crmr.com/ranch/contact.php
Spragg Meat, raises his Pigs totally naturally http://www.spraggsmeatshop.com/ and you can call them for bulk orders or pick up from the Calgary Farmers Market
I also really like the http://www.buffalohornranch.ca/ they ranch bison near cochrane, and they have some great bulk prices
All of these producers raise natural grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free animals.
I am visiting CRMR ranch again this weekend to take some pictures for an article on bison for my new blog http://eatingwithsole.wordpress.com/ I will post when they are up.
Also as mentioned above the guys at Second to None meat are GREAT! and they really do support local producers.
Hope that all helps!
I think you can get pork, bison, lamb, beef, and turkey/duck from Sunworks along with chicken. I've had a friend inquire at their stand at the Farmer's market and get bulk side pork so I think it's do-able but you have to order ahead.
I like their philosophy on farming and the fact that the farm is run by the whole family.
I'm glad you liked it - from your other post I see you're now in Edmonton and looking for natural foods? At least you can still get Sunworks' products there. They have a stand at the Strathcona Farmer's Market. I visit them at CFM when I'm in Calgary (at home) and Edmonton's stand when I'm visiting my boyfriend. The only downside is they don't carry ground bison in Edmonton. We've always liked their meats.
Just to follow up to my earlier post:
'This past weekend we made a quick little trip out to Candian Rocky Mountain Ranch (CRMR) to pick up some naturally grass raised bison, and take a walk through the buffalo and elk yards. While we really don’t eat much meat at all, the meat we do eat MUST meet very specific criteria before I consider exercising my vote as a consumer and make a purchase… It must be naturally + humanely raised, free of hormones and antibiotics, it must be local, and most importantly I really like to meet the farmers and just talk with them about their farming practice, and when possible I like to go and see their operation for myself, And that is exactly what we did on Saturday. I have purchased from CRMR before through the Millarville Market, after playing 101 questions with the super knowledgeable and very helpful team, and enjoying some tempting tastes! We went direct to the Ranch, and found the prices were a little better (as your not paying for the premium 17th ave overhead like at their retail store) Seeing the animals was really great for all of us. This is the part of the cycle of food we most often overlook, or aren’t allowed to look into. After reading only a zillion books on the subject of CAFO’s (confined animal feed operations) It was a really refreshing visit, and a reminder to me (ever the pessimist) that some people are really raising animals in environments which are contusive to healthy living, for both the end consumer and the creature who is turning solar energy into food energy for us to enjoy + be nourished by."... excerpt from my blog
I really think that visiting your local meat producers operation is pretty essential to the entire cycle of buying, eating and loving food. I sure value the opportunity to get to know where in fact my food is coming from and how exactly exactly it comes to end up on my plate.
Have you ever tried Red Deer Lake Meats? Its way south...like outside of Calgary on the way to the Millerville market south but its pretty good and I have found the prices to be very reasonable.
Ryan Meat Processors in NE Calgary are my go to guys.
Good service and they tell you where the meat is from and they tell you if its from a big slaughterhouse if the smaller ones have not enough supply.
I think its like everywhere, you have to do research and talk to people and make the decision that works for you.