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Getting Serious About Grassfed Meat

While I’ve dabbled in grassfed meats over the last year or so, I never really got completely serious about it. I did a few orders from La Cense — and good stuff it was — but that’s not local. I’ve sourced a few things here and there from farmers’ markets and such, Whole Foods, and even a butcher shop.

But now I’ve gone all out, buying a subscription to Marin Sun Farm’s Meat CSA, which includes purely grassfed local beef, lamb, and pastured pork. I purchased a 6-month subscription to Package #2, which includes 4 pounds of steaks, 8 pounds or roasts & braises, and 5 pounds of ground, for a total of 17 pounds per month for six months. That works out to an overall $7.65/pound which I find very reasonable considering the quality, that’s it’s local, nicely packaged & frozen, and that the monthly drop off point is a mere five minutes away. And, I now have a 7 cu box freezer I picked up a couple of weeks back.

For the initial delivery I also supplemented with an additional 10 pounds in the steaks category for $100, $10/pound. I was really happy to see that 3-4 packages from that order are rack of lamb, perhaps my favorite meat in the world. I also got four dozen pastured eggs.

Marin Sun Farms CSA Pack
Marin Sun Farms CSA Pack

I must say that I enjoy the serendipity aspect of getting a CSA pack such as this. I probably should have written everything down so’s I could list it here, but there were many cuts I’m not very familiar with, particularly of lamb & pork. I’m looking forward to diving in. There were two bavettes included, so I believe I’ll grill up one of those tonight.

Grilled Bavette
Grilled Bavette

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

41 Comments

  1. Jeff on November 18, 2010 at 12:05

    Looks great. We just ordered our third order from La Cense. Pricey but good. Grass fed beef is way better. You’d think that living in Oklahoma were LOTS of beef is raised we could find local grass fed beef pretty easy…not the case.

  2. Dean on November 18, 2010 at 12:15

    I’ve been very happy with the goods from US Wellness but I wish I could find a more local source similar to what you’ve got out there.

  3. Tyson on November 18, 2010 at 12:34

    Received my order of grass fed beef 2 weeks ago. Local farmer and butcher. Went in with a couple of buddies and it came out to $2.40/lb. I got 80lbs worth of roasts, steaks,ground beef and some misc cuts. Had a roast last night. Best roast I have ever made/eaten. Grass fed is most definitely the way to go.

  4. Lute Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 12:38

    I paid $160.00 for my last order of Open Space Grass Fed Beef, which included $27.00 for shipping. But I got about 20# of beef. Had the tri tip a couple days ago. Absolutely delicious. And there was plenty left over for another meal, and still some left over for lunch.

  5. Iniquity on November 18, 2010 at 12:58

    @Tyson, under $3/lb!? you lucky dog.

    Richard, would you mind sharing with us later this month how quickly you went through this? I’m a new reader to your blog so haven’t read if you live with many others. I’m in a house of 4 and we’re all meat eaters. I’d like to get my family eating Grassfed but I fear we go through meat too quickly and that it would in turn be too expensive. I’m the only paleo eater at home though my mom is decreasing her intake of other grains slowly, the rest of the family is a bigger challenge. I’m mostly interested to see how long your “stash” lasts and if you wouldn’t mind, sharing with what frequency you ate these. Since we don’t always have beef and we eat a fair amount of chicken and fish. Thanks a bunch!

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 13:14

      no problem, but you’ll probably need to remind me.



  6. Monica on November 18, 2010 at 13:04

    NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is very inexpensive considering where you live. We get grassfed beef for around $5.50 p/p and pastured pork for around $3 p/p. Love it. Also our farm produces eggs, raw milk, cheese, cream, chickens (which I don’t get), etc.Unfortunately, our farm doesn’t raise lamb so I’ll have to come up with an alternative source for that.

    Have fun!!

  7. Jenny on November 18, 2010 at 13:11

    In MN I buy pastured meats in bulk from a local farmer. $2.56/lb when I buy half a cow. Granted that’s hanging weight, but I did the math and it’s about $3.65/lb for actual take home meat. Screaming deal.

  8. Sylvie O. on November 18, 2010 at 13:21

    I also recently got a 1/4 steer, which yielded about 100 pounds for $340. So you don’t get your choice of cuts, but at that price it’s more than OK with me.

  9. Andrew on November 18, 2010 at 13:40

    It amuses me that they refer to the best part as “dog bones”. Do I want the “dog bones” with my share? Um… hell yes… and keep the dogs away from my marrow.

  10. sverlyn on November 18, 2010 at 14:29

    I’ll second the quality of Open Space Meats. We live nearby , so we save on the delivery charge

    Best grass fed beef I’ve ever eaten and reasonably priced- their 60 pound package is $6/pound and tghe cuts included filet/ny strip- quality cuts

    • Lute Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 21:06

      Where is their pick up place. I live in Modesto. The address on their web site says Newman.



  11. Tom on November 18, 2010 at 14:38

    eatwild.com has many farmers from across the country listed that provide grass fed beef and other farm products. It’s a really great site.
    We buy our beef from a local farmer in MI and it comes out to about $3.65/lb for everything, ground beef to tenderloins. I buy 1/4 to 1/2 cow and the price/lb is the same. Might work for you if there is someone within 100 miles. We drive 70 mi to get ours but 1/2 cow lasts us about a year for a family of 4 avid carnivores. Plus it’s cool to visit your cow and see it’s state of health before it goes in to the butcher.
    PS. you’ll need a bigger freezer but I paid for mine after about 2 purchases with the money I saved over mail order or retail store beef.

    • Catlyn on November 18, 2010 at 17:33

      I was going to mention eatwild.com. At our Crossfit box in Philly, we went in on a cowshare with a farm a couple of counties over. It’s worked out to being $5.80/lb. of grass-fed, locally raised beef. My freezer is stuffed to the gills with quality meat!



  12. kevhughes on November 18, 2010 at 14:58

    I have looked into grass fed beef before, only to find that it is often grass fed/ grain finished. Apparently, just 3 months of grain finishing is enough to change the fatty acid profile to close to that of feedlot beef.
    Just recently I found Redl Meats in British Columbia, where we live. They explained to us that their beef is grass finished except during harsh winters, when the weather forces them to feed the cattle barley.

    I ordered a quarter, about 80 lb. yield, for $420 CDN, guaranteed grass finished. I will either wait until late spring to re-order, or order another quarter right now while they are still grass finishing.

    On another note, we just spent a week driving down the Oregon coast, and were pleasantly surprised to see many restaurants offering grass fed ribeye steaks. I had a couple of them and they were fabulous. There were also lots of small farms offering ‘natural’ beef for sale directly from the farm. I hope this is the start of a trend.

  13. Trish on November 18, 2010 at 15:51

    I joined a local co-op about a year ago and have been getting loads of pastured beef and pork and chicken. I pay $75/year and shop online. Mega-awesome.

    http://www.falllinefarms.com

  14. Patty on November 18, 2010 at 17:41

    Considering that I paid over $4/pound for some conventionally raised beef that was so tough and full of grizzle, that most of it ended up being tossed, I think that is a very good deal!

    I wish I could learn to love lamb as much as you do, I’m working on it. The meat from a large buck is being delivered this weekend so I am waiting to see how much freezer space I have left, and hopefully will be ordering some grass-fed beef soon.

    • Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 17:58

      Make sure it’s lamb, and not mutton. Lamb is basically veal, ie, young.



    • Judith on November 19, 2010 at 16:59

      I love lamb and hogget, it’s my favourite meat, even more than beef. But seeing as I grow the beasties I guess that’s just as well. 100% organic, grass-fed and grown on my own property.



    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2010 at 17:20

      Good for you, Judith. As I was growing up, we had a stage where we had a 5,000 su ft garden, rabbits, and chickens, both laying and every spring, cornish cross broilers. We had a goat for a while too, for milk.

      So, that, and the deer and bird hunting, and fishing we did, I really get it.



  15. Shawn on November 18, 2010 at 18:30

    I got a 1/4 totally grassfed cow from our local, organically obsessed farmer. The most awesome ground beef I ever had. My family still raves about it. In the end, we got 122 pounds of beef (nearly 50 pounds of it ground) for about $360, if memory serves. You’re paying way too much Richard.

  16. Richard Nikoley on November 18, 2010 at 18:33

    “You’re paying way too much Richard.”

    You don’t live in the SF bay area.

    • Michael on November 18, 2010 at 20:11

      I just moved to Cupertino from MN three weeks ago to serve an AmeriCorps position. It is expensive living here. I still haven’t found a good meat source. Right now I’m getting my ground beef from Trader Joe’s which I don’t feel very good about even though it is 100% grassfed. This post and the links in the comments is very helpful for me while I look for affordable (I’m getting on STAMP) quality meat sources.



  17. 100% vegan on November 18, 2010 at 20:31

    Ever hear of Ted Slanker? Cattleman from Texas. No nonsense grass fed meats for sale at a reasonable price. He had the diet figured out long ago. Check out his essays that he wrote over ten years ago.

    • Patty on November 20, 2010 at 07:44

      I had not heard of him, but glad to know about him now! Thanks for passing that along, “100% vegan” ! Lots of good info on his site, but I am confused about his belief that canola oil is better than coconut oil.



  18. Nom Nom Paleo on November 19, 2010 at 04:42

    Love your blog! I also subscribe to the Marin Sun Farms meat CSA and have had a lot of fun experimenting with my SousVide Supreme. I ‘m still trying to figure out the perfect temps and cooking times for my grassfed meats because when I follow the guidelines in Daniel Baldwin’s book, my meat comes out too mushy. I think I need to cut down my cooking time by a lot.

  19. Nicole on November 19, 2010 at 04:55

    You don’t say anything about visiting the farm. You *did* visit the farm, right?

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2010 at 06:38

      Not yet, but I have visited their butcher shop. Next time I get up to Marin, I will

      They come very highly regarded amougst the SF and Marin crowds. The Bay Area Paleo Meetup group just announced a meet up tour of the SF butchering facilities.

      So, I have no real concerns, though I would like to pay a visit for fun.



    • Lute Nikoley on November 19, 2010 at 10:39

      Next time we camp at Olema we can make that an activity for a day.



  20. golooraam on November 19, 2010 at 07:23

    Richard – you have to go the butcher shop

    I make exuses to drive all the way to Point Reyes Station from the east bay just to go there

    they now serve food as well, last time I had a goat burger (of course the bun isn’t paleo), but it is delicious

    • Richard Nikoley on November 19, 2010 at 07:25

      Yep, I’ve been there. Some months back we camped at Olema, just down the road and went to the butcher shop every day for something or the other. One night we grilled some of their ribeye steaks over an open, wood fire. Amazing.



  21. AJP on November 19, 2010 at 07:42

    They are coming for your food as we speak.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/11/first_healthcare_next_the_food.html

    They are trying to sneak this by today.

  22. Jeff on November 19, 2010 at 10:53

    Sigh. I wish I could get grass-fed, but I keep kosher and meat is already prohibitively expensive. I paid $8.99/lb for a shoulder roast. There is a kosher grass-fed company, but the prices are ridiculous.

  23. Dan Linehan on November 19, 2010 at 15:18

    Just back from Bud’s Meats in Penngrove, CA, grassfed ground beef for $4.99 — grassfed tri-tip for $6.99.

  24. 11/20/10 – Saturday Team WOD on November 19, 2010 at 19:02

    […] Getting Serious About GrassFed Meat – Free The Animal […]

  25. CG on November 21, 2010 at 22:02

    I don’t know exactly where you live in the Bay Area – but if you’re close enough to Marin’s CSA you might consider Pampero Ranch (www.pamperoranch.com). They have a bunch of products – longhorn cattle being their mainstay and 100% grassfed/pastured.

  26. paul on November 22, 2010 at 04:48

    Meat is so cheap in the USA. He’s an example of UK supermarket prices. This is just normal stuff.

    Beef fillet steak, $22.2 per lb
    Scottish Salmon Fillets, $16.40 per lb
    Mince beef. 20% fat. $9.56 per lb
    Rump steak. $11.63 per lb
    Half leg of lamb. $7.04 per lb

    • Richard Nikoley on November 22, 2010 at 17:54

      Paul, that’s actually pretty comparable to here in the SF Bay Area.



  27. […] getting his first bicycle from Santa, and continuing on the theme of never being too busy to source good food, here's some more recent […]

  28. […] and I cooked up a bit of a lamb feast for four. This is the grassfed, pastured lamb from my Marin Sun Farms CSA. That's turning out very nicely, by the way. 17 pounds per month of various beef, pork & lamb […]

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