The Best Resources for Buying Organic Meat
What are the best resources for buying organic meat? We know the big chain grocery store is not always the best place to purchase meat, especially if you are looking for grass-fed, free-range, hormone and antibiotic free beef or chicken. The supply chain to the grocery store is a long one, and you can’t rely on the word of the USDA, or confirm much about the source of the meat while it sits in a refrigerator section wrapped in plastic. There are two options to ensure you are buying meat that was grass-fed and pasture raised on sustainable land by ethical farmers. You can buy local, or buy online direct from the farmer. I’ve compiled a list of the best resources for buying organic meat that will help you do both.
First up is Eat Wild a website dedicated to the grass-fed movement. They have a 50 state directory of farmers that adhere to grass-fed, pasture raised and ethical treatment principles. Each listing has the location of the farm as well as information on purchasing from them. Some farmers have agreements with small independent local grocers, while others sell at Farmer’s Markets. Eat Wild has resources for everything from beef to pork and chicken to raw milk. A quick look up of Florida, and I found several farms in my area that sell at the local Saturday Market.
US Wellness Meats is a popular resource with an interesting back-story. In 1993, John Wood a 5th generation farmer along with a few neighboring farmers attended a seminar on holistic land management. The idea was to create a healthier animal and healthy more sustainable soil. It took a few years to test and in 1997, they tested the meat of the first grass fed animal from beginning to end and found it was higher in nutrients such as Omega-3. They did again in 1998 and 1999 with the same results. In 2000, John started US Wellness Meats as a means to sell better healthier meats to the public without involving big agribusiness. The meat is sourced from four family owned farmers that all support the idea of sustainable and humane farming practices. Their prices are reasonable for bulk purchases and they offer a wide variety of options from bison to rabbit as well as beef, lamb, duck and poultry.
Kessler Farms located in Nazareth PA has been in existence since 1780. The farm has been passed down from generation to generation. Over the years, the family has taken up many types of farming from dairy to apple orchards. Today is its focus is on raising Black Angus and Hereford cattle. The cattle enjoy free range of pesticide free pastures where they graze on grass, alfalfa and clover. Each animal is born, raised and processed on the farm in a USDA inspected facility. In addition to beef, they also sell lamb, goat and organic eggs. They sell direct to the consumer anywhere in the lower 48 states. One drawback is they do not accept changes to orders or cancellations once an order is placed, so make sure you get your order right the first time.
Greensbury Market is more of an online grocery store for organic meats and seafood. They source from organic farmers and sustainable fisheries. Each product description lists the farm where the animal was raised as a means of educating the consumer. You do not have to take the site at face value. Beef was listed as coming from the Black hills of South Dakota, and a quick internet search turned up a location in the Black Hills that does raise pastured beef. Yes, they are the middleman, but one that specializes in organic grass-fed hormone and anti-biotic free meats.
A few things to consider when buying from any of these resources:
- They sell in bulk and the prices reflect that.
- You are buying direct from the farmer and can trust it’s organic.
- You are directly supporting the families that raise and sell the meat.
- The meat is leaner, healthier, and more nutrient rich.
- You are buying from like-minded people who support the Paleo, Grass-fed, Organic movement.
If you must consider purchasing meat from a grocery store, consider places like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or Fresh Market. Each of these chains specializes in procuring the best organic meats possible.