knowing which farm to buy grass-fed beef from in bulk?


brent83

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So I'm having trouble figuring out what would be a good farm to buy grass-fed beef in bulk from. I can't remember the website off the top of my head where they list all the farms in and around my town (Seattle), but when I went to the site they had a ton of options and I really am not sure what farm would be a good choice (I emailed a few. Unshockingly they all think they have the best beef). So my question is, is there a place where I can get reviews of farms so I can make a more educated choice? Also, I don't have a ton of freezer space, so I could really only buy maybe 1/4 cow. Are there any farms where I can buy even less than that in bulk? Buying from the grocery store gets really expensive after a while.

Finally, when buying something like bacon from the store, would applegate farms organic bacon (no nitrates, etc in it) be a good call? It doesn't say if it was fed grain or anything of the sort. Even in Seattle I have a hard time finding grass-fed bacon. I'm trying to start 30 days of strict paleo but it's tough just sourcing the more expensive stuff like meat.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

Brent

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There is (hopefully still is) a great small farm on Whidby Island. It's called 3 Sisters Family Farm. They sell at Farmer's Markets and I believe you can order from the farm, but you should call them to find out for sure. Not sure if they are less expensive than a store because the stores obviously buy a lot so they get a price break, but I can tell you they are a VERY high quality operation. Here is a link:

http://www.3sistersbeef.com/about.aspx

If that doesn't work, I agree that eatwild is a good source.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for such a late reply but thanks alot slw600! Just looked at their website and am gonna send them an email. Unfortunately they don't sell grass-fed pork (grain-fed), but the price for a quarter cow (4.50/lb) is not bad. Looks like they ship for $20 as well!

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All pork is grain fed....I am quite sure theirs is pastured though. Maybe I'm thinking chickens, but I think Pork has to eat things other than 100% grass. Going to go google it. Stay tuned. :)

Edit to add: It looks from what I see that yes, you can find pastured pork that is not fed grain. I buy my meats from Kookoolan farms here in Portland and I know they have pastured pork, but I am not positive if it's not fed any grain at all.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A friend of mine told me about Whole30, and I just joined the forum. I live about 50 minutes north of Seattle. There is a great meat cooperative up here called the Island Growers Co-op (http://www.igfcmeats.com). I have many friends that buy from here that are very concerned about the quality of their food. They sell individual cuts by the pound. Bow is about 1 1/2 hours north of Seattle, so a bit of a trek, but it really is a beautiful drive through the Skagit Valley. My hubby and I raise our own grass fed beef and sell by the quarter ($3.05/pound hanging weight). Skagit River Ranch is one of the best in Washington State. He is a local "Joel Salatin". He adds nutrients to his fields each year to ensure the cows get all the nutrients/minerals they need. But his prices are a bit steep and his meat sells fast. Good luck with whatever you choose. I would recommend visiting the farm where you buy your meat from if you go with a smaller operation. No matter where you buy from, the cow has to be processed at a butcher shop, so you can feel fairly good about the safety practices being followed after the slaughter.

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Ask the rancher if you can buy a smaller quantity sampler from them before you commit. You should know if you like their flavor after you try a high quality steak, a tougher cut (london broil, sirloin, chuck roast... cook it SLOW!), and some grind.

I also want to point out that most farmers/ranchers who sell by the quarter/side sell by hanging weight. This is the weight after the animal is slaughtered and dressed out, but before it's butchered and bones are removed. You can usually expect about 60% of the hanging weight to be what lands in your freezer, but ask them about their typical yields. So, at $4.50/lb hanging weight, you are actually paying around $7.50/lb finished weight (4.5/0.6). If you can get a hold of the book Good Meat, they have a great explanation of how to get the best value and what you like best from a quarter of beef.

Hope that helps!

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