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Feb 28, 2012 11:04 AM

CLE- Beef at WSM?

Who is your favorite butcher or meat purveyor at the Westside Market? I am especially hoping to find a good hanger steak. Thanks!

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    1. re: rockandroller1

      I now need to amend my answer to point out that almost all the meat at the west side market is CAFO/factory farmed meat. I will not be shopping there anymore for meat.

      1. re: rockandroller1

        Where can you find meat that is not CAFO/factory farmed? Do you know of any local suppliers?

        1. re: kathrynanne

          There are a variety of local farms doing it right - Plumcreek, Brunty Farms, Miller Livestock Company, Bluebird Meadows for pork. I would recommend shopping at the North Union Farmers Market in Shaker for a lot of this meat, that is where we are going to start going. The market next to Flying Fig sells some Miller meats as I understand it as well, I am going to start shopping there.

          1. re: rockandroller1

            Foster's at the West Side Market sell Miller Livestock Company beef. I bought a roast last week and it was outstanding. As far as I know, that is the only non-CAFO/factory farmed beef at the West Side Market.

            1. re: Johnny K

              Yes, I recently found that to be true. However as I understand it, they don't have it every week, and they do sell out of it pretty often and then sell their other meat, which is the same type of sources as everyone else. I'm going to be asking more questions about this myself in the coming weeks, but it's largely a disappointing picture the more research I do about the market in terms of meat.

              1. re: rockandroller1

                I'm curious as to why you think the stands at the WSM would necessarily have non-CAFO sourced meat?

                1. re: gourmanda

                  That's what most people think who shop there, sorry. Perhaps it's the design of the market (not looking like a conventional grocery, but more like a farmer's market with stands), and positioning alongside non-meat vendors who are selling stuff like bread they baked or potato salad they made sets up that expectation. If I buy bread from a stand, I don't expect that it's come from Pepperidge Farm.

                  1. re: rockandroller1

                    Thanks, RR. That's an interesting take that never would have occurred to me. So many places are just resellers (fruit vendors, cheese, spices, etc.) that I always presumed the meat was not necessarily better than what the average grocery store buys.

                    As a suggestion you might see if Geauga Family Farms CSA has a delivery near you--when I asked they said the beef from their farms is "Our beef is 100% grass-fed." I presume that to be grass-finished as well (not all grass-fed beef is) but now that I think about it, I'd better ask for clarification. In any event, they offer opportunities to purchase the beef where they deliver your CSA. Just a thought! Glad to see another person looking at the grass-fed bandwagon :)

                    1. re: gourmanda

                      Thanks. I am in a CSA but it is primarily produce. There is some meat each week but not enough for our family.

                    2. re: rockandroller1

                      r&r1, thank you so much for pointing this out. I have been biting my tongue for years when people spout off about all the 'local farmers' at the WSM. I do love the market though, and there are some unique things there that are very special. I personally am not so concerned that my meat might be factory farmed and I take the opportunity to shopping for this type of product at the WSM and support local businesses opposed to large chain groceries. It is unfortunate that the average market goer is misguided/uneducated about what they are actually experiencing at the WSM.

                      I have spent a large % of my WSM purchases at Sebastian's. They have a wide selection and are willing to butcher things on request.

                      1. re: mikey031

                        Please don't bite your tongue anymore! If people are misguided about WSM offering products from local farmers, please educate them. I've never heard from anyone that has had that impression of the vendors there, but people should know that while there are some wonderful people and wonderful find at the Market, local farms aren't a major part of the scene. It's great for what it is and you can find some things there that you would be hard-pressed to source in a major grocery chain. But mainly local it isn't. Next time I'm there and in need of meat though, I will look at Sebastians as you recommend.

                        1. re: gourmanda

                          I bought from Sebastians today. Half a rack of spare ribs and 4 inches of sausage....something I couldn't get at a chain grocery....but I'm not looking to beat a dead horse. Sebastians did have a sign asking ppl to pre-order suckling pig they claim was, "local, orgainc and hormone free" I didn't inquire further, but that is what the sign advertised.

                          1. re: mikey031

                            I just don't know why one would knowingly buy factory farmed meat. It's not like there are no sources to buy something besides that. It does involve a little more work/digging, or going out of your way to buy it. I do not see continuing to support the WSM vendors if they are basically the same thing as the grocery. Buehler's and Heinen's are locals too, why not just buy meat from them (in fact, indeed why not, since both offer at least 1 better choice - some Heinen's are now selling a locally grown PASTURED and grass fed beef, and Buehler's sells Niman Ranch pork and beef products, including sausages, bacon, pot roast, etc.) To each his own of course, I just won't be supporting anyone who is selling me factory farmed meat, whether it's a giant grocery chain or a small business.

                            "Local" does not mean anything. There are at least 100 factory farms/CAFOs right here in Ohio. I would rather have beef imported from Montana or australia that is fed on a proper diet and out to pasture than CAFO meat from Sandusky.

                            1. re: rockandroller1

                              All claims not just that of "local" need to be looked at carefully by the consumer. For all the good of Niman Ranch, note that they are not necessarily grazing sublimely on pasture all day. Also know there is a difference between pasture-raised and grass-finished. And, while you're on the subject of not buying factory farmed meat (not practical for a whole lot of people but a practice I wholly support for those who can do it), how about not buying factory farmed milk, butter, eggs? But again, know your details. Snowville Creamery makes delicious milk from pasture raised cows. BUT, the cows are given grain before milking to up their production. Not quite the idyllic picture that they present. Good for you for not buying CAFO meat, but "access to pasture", "pasture raised", "grass finished", "grain finished" are all terms worth looking into.

                              1. re: gourmanda

                                I do and have looked into all those. I don't buy grocery store butter or eggs or milk. I buy from the best sources I can with the knowledge I have, and am always learning more. The Mustard Seed for example is going to start carrying brunty farms eggs soon, for example.

            2. re: kathrynanne

              You can contact Miller's Livestock to see if they can arrange delivery on a day they come to Cleveland anyway. You can also see Bluebird Meadows and Tea Hills at the Kamm's market (2nd Sunday of the month in winter) and at Crocker Park farm market when they start up again.

              1. re: gourmanda

                Thanks, I plan to start going to a few of the farmer's markets for meat when I can. I never was able to consistently make it in the past, but it was less of a priority as I thought I had the WSM to fall back on.

                1. re: gourmanda

                  Miller's will be delivering to Fire Restaurant on March 29 in the AM; you can contact them if there is anything you'd like to pick up that day and time from them.

                  1. re: NancyH

                    Thanks Nancy. Weekdays would just be impossible for me to get somewhere that far from me. There's a reason I've never been to fire. I just almost never get to Shaker, it's too inconvenient.

          2. I did see hanger steak at the WSM yesterday, but I don't remember who. Sorry. Hanger is a hard steak to pin down, specificly at the WSM. Unlike most cuts there is only one per animal, and it does need a bit of attention to butcher properly. I searched hard for them in the recent past with no success. For hanger steak you will definatly need to plan ahead and ask around or hope to get lucky. I eventually got mine thru a Chef friend from Blue Ribbon Meats.