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smart* animal protein sources on the cheap? (smart = sustainable, grass fed, cage free, wild caught, pastured, etc)

hi everyone,
i just moved to the area (Redwood City, to be exact) and need some help finding cheap sources for the following:

- grassfed meat, pork, lamb (any cuts, not just loin and rib cuts)

- pastured (aka actually cage free) poultry (chicken, turkey, duck, etc)

- pastured eggs

- sustainable seafood (per http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr...), fresh, canned, frozen, etc

- any other sources of animal protein (goat, wild game, etc) that is cheap

i'm not much concerned about buying stuff with the organic label, i'm more concerned with the conditions it was raised (and the accompanying nutritional profile).

i'm open to buying in bulk, as i know several people in the area who, like me, want natural meat and seafood but don't know where to buy. now that i think about it, i'd probably prefer to buy in bulk!

main priority (aside from the above-mentioned) is cost. help me eat smart on the cheap!!!

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    1. re: wolfe

      did you miss the part that said "cheap" ? :)

      1. re: vulber

        Not at all. The only way to get that stuff cheap is to rustle it.

    2. Some egg vendors at farmers markets are quite a good deal.

      Beyond that, look for ethnic markets...Asian, Latino, Halal. Halal butchers are some of the best deal for meat (lamb, beef, goat) and very good quality. There's a bunch of Mexican markets in RWC. Not sure about Halal but you can google it.

      In Oakland Chinatown I go to local mom and pop butchers and get really fresh pork chops for under $2/lb.

      1. According to Nicolette Hahn Niman, California doesn't have any sheep feedlots, so local lamb is grassfed. I drove through Dixon on Sunday to the delta on the way back from Sacramento and saw lots of lamb in pastures. Halal markets I've been too around here source their lamb from Dixon and/or New Zealand. They buy whole animals, butcher it as you like and prices are usually quite low (e.g., $3 to $5/lb). You might want to check out Aladdin in San Mateo. i've not purchased meat there, but it has been a good source for many other middle eastern products for me and the people are friendly and helpful. A halal butcher is also the most convenient place to buy fresh, not frozen, goat.

        Aladdin Deli & Market
        224 E Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94403

        2 Replies
          1. re: ceviche

            If you check out the Aladdin, please do let us know the source of the meat sold there. Many halal butchers get their chickens from Fulton Valley, and those are tasty birds, free-range but probably not pastured.

        1. speaking of meat at mexican markets: does anyone know of any markets (most likely in RWC) which sell imported beef from mexico? there was an argentine market back in LA which sold mexican (and therefore grassfed) beef for about $4 a pound.

          1. If you're ever driving up or down 101 between Petaluma and Cotati, swing by Bud's Custom Meats.

            I've been told that the lamb at halal butchers is usually grass-fed from the Central Valley. Whether that's true I don't know, but it tastes right, and judging from the kidneys etc. it's very fresh at my local one (Indus Foods in Berkeley).

            Bud's Custom Meats
            7750 Petaluma Hill Rd, Penngrove, CA

            6 Replies
            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              I don't remember Bud's to be "cheap" when I stopped there after my Crane Melon Barn run last year.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Perhaps inexpensive for the provenance but not cheap. You and I get perfectly good halal ground beef on San Pablo for $2.29/lb.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I'm not as confident about the provenance of the beef from Indus Foods. The flavor doesn't impress me the way their lamb does.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Harris Ranch has a halal beef program, and that's what's at most of the halal butchers where I've asked. Once I got some beef from the halal butcher in Rohnert Park that was so pale and pink, it looked like vitello. But I failed to ask the source there, will have to return to find out.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Oasis Market has Niman Ranch signs in their beef case. I think their prices are higher than Indus Foods'.

                        Oasis Market
                        3045 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

            2. www.sierrafarmslamb.blogspot.com

              Sierra Farms lamb - great value - comes through our area third week of the month. Amazing well treated animals -- superior products...
              I coordinate a group buy each month for those who don't want to get 8 pounds of ground lamb at one time or would like to just get a few pounds of sweetbreads rather than a 10 pound bag....
              more info at lisascounterculture.com

              Another good place to get meats in through http://crestonvalleymeats.com/cart/
              Simon comes through every 2 weeks - great deals on amazing meats...covers a lot of different types of animals - beef, pork, goat, lamb, etc...

              5 Replies
              1. re: takuhead

                thanks so much for the link to creston valley meats. i just spoke with them this morning, and i'll most likely be putting in an order for 2 weeks from now!

                1. re: ceviche

                  Creston Valley sounds interesting. How does one take delivery? It's not clear from the web link.

                  1. re: Gustavo Glenmorangie

                    after playing phone tag with the guy, i spoke and found out their delivery program works as such (for the SF area at least):

                    1. they don't post the delivery calendar until the week-of.

                    2. they'll be here (SFO) in 2 weeks, and have pickup times at a hotel near SFO.

                    3. sign up now, but don't order. very important. do not order until the delivery calendar is updated for your particular area!

                    4. once the calendar is updated to say when they'll be here, that's when we should place the actual orders

                    the calendar quirks seem to be related to their packaging/delivery workflow.

                    as for the meats themselves: they source the beef from paso robles-area growers, all grass fed. no grain. the lamb they raise themselves, but the goat is sourced locally. i didn't ask about the other animals.

                    1. re: ceviche

                      Hi Ceviche,
                      I'm glad that you connected with Simon - they offer great prices on humanly raised meat...and they also deliver all through the bay area not just in SF.
                      I've got my order all figured out - so many choices!
                      They even have beef tongue.

                      1. re: ceviche

                        Thanks for that. I will definitely look into this. I buy my lamb and goat at the local Halal butcher. They tell me their stuff is from Sac'to Valley areas and all grass fed. Quality is excellent although the butchering is a bit quirky.

                        But for other meats this sounds great.