Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
6 Jan

How to Find a Cowpooling Source

HappyCowsI was going back over the MDA archives this week, thinking about what went right and what went wrong with past posts. There are always going to be regrets when looking at past work, whatever its nature. That’s just how these things work.

But this is the internets, not print, and I can quickly hop in and make changes to the past with just a few keystrokes. Or, I can write an honest appraisal of my previous transgressions and come up with a post of restitution. This is that post of restitution. Today, I’m admitting that my last post on cowpooling was a bit lean. It’s not that I trimmed the fat; it’s that the fat was never even there in the first place (hmm, old Cordain might agree). Consider this post a dollop of grass fed butter in the pan that is MDA’s cowpooling content, perhaps even after deglazing all the tasty bits with a hearty Zinfandel. Today, I’m going to tell you how to find a cowpooling source so you can buy grass fed beef in bulk directly from the supplier.

Cowpooling, in case you aren’t aware, describes the practice of banding together with other likeminded, carnivorous individuals to purchase an entire cow that is then slaughtered, butchered, and frozen for delivery or pickup. The cowpool-able cows are frequently grass-fed, local, and organic, and if you’ve got the freezer space, cowpooling is a great way to get quality meat for a fraction of what it’d cost in a place like Whole Foods. There’s really nothing quite like having a freezer full of hearts, organs, steaks, chops, roasts, shanks, bones, and tongues in your home. Whenever my freezer is stocked, I giggle uncontrollably whenever it’s time to pick a cut for dinner. It really is exciting.

Unfortunately, for most people, there aren’t any easy solutions to the cowpool source question. It’s becoming more and more widespread, but it remains a niche market, a small but vocal trend. There are a few concrete, well-run online communities that promote and organize cowpools between members, but they tend to serve distinct areas of the country. From what I can tell, the Bay Area Meat CSA (a Ning community) is the most active, and it isn’t even all that robust or vibrant. Still, if you happen to live in the California Bay Area, sign up and peruse your Group’s page to set up cowpools with other nearby members. Usually, an official liaison is selected, who then is tasked with sourcing an animal, contacting the ranch, and relaying information back to the other members. How well – or how often – this actually works remains a mystery. I happened upon the BAMCSA’s sister network, based in Southern California, and it was essentially a barren wasteland. There were a few half-hearted cowpooling prospects proposed, but no one seemed to commit to anything. I suppose it’s possible there were backroom dealings occurring via email.

There’s also Slow Food USA, an organization devoted to appreciating good, usually local food, including meat. Again, you run into the same problem as with the CSA Ning groups – there are just too many chapters with not enough active members. The link above directs you to find a chapter in your area, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

The only surefire way to find a good cowpooling source is through honest legwork. As always, Eat Wild remains the best directory for US pasture-based farms. Since you’re busy people, I’ve scouted ahead and made a quick list of some farms that seem to support bulk purchasing. There are plenty more, but this is a decent start. All you’ve got to do is get a group of people willing to buy in. Try family, friends, or even ask around on the MDA forums for help.

Alabama: Narrow Gap Farm of Brewton, AL only sells by the 1/2 or full cow, but you’ll have to call for pricing, as it varies by market. Native American Natural Grass-Fed Beef (no website or email – talk about old school), located in Delta, sells only entire cows. Try Dr. Robert E. Steele at (256)488-5661 if you can handle that much beef. At R&R Katahdin Ranch, you can buy whole lambs priced at $1.60 per pound of live weight; email Ron at florida.katahdinhairsheep@gmail.com.

Alaska: Marilyn runs Faith Farms, located in Kodiak, and she only sells her whole lambs to the person who’s going to be eating it. Email her at faithfarmsmlg@gmail.com.

Arizona: Dudleyville’s Double Check Ranch offers shares of beef (minimum 10 lbs) to customers. The M Triangle and Black Ranches sell range fed pork by the live animal, and Southern Arizona Grass Fed Beef sells cows in quarters or wholes.

Arkansas: Email Joyce (joyce@heifercreek.com) at Heifer Creek Farm if you’re interested in buying a side of grass-fed beef for $3 a pound, hanging weight. Just give four weeks advance notice. Email Sam (sward@ipa.net) at Hosanna Hills Farm if you want to buy pastured pork or beef by the half or quarter. Or if you’re interested in some range-fed Texas Longhorn, email Thayne (thaynewilliams@allegiance.tv) at Old Dallas Ranch in Mena, AR.

California: Drake’s Bay Family Farm does quarters and halves. Holding Ranch delivers bulk orders of lamb and beef to Walnut Creek, CA. Email Jay (jfmannino@aol.com) at The Rockin’ M Ranch if you want to buy whole cows weighed live prior to shipping.

Colorado: B Bar S Ranch has a minimum order of quarter cows, and Edmundson Ranch in Walsenburg will deliver wholes and halves to the customer’s processor of choice within 100 miles for free. Southwestern Colorado’s Green Place Ranch offers a “considerable discount” when customers buy by the half or whole, and they’ll even match you up with other customers to share costs.

Connecticut: Email Savage Hill Cattle Co. (RyanM01@comcast.net) for information on whole cows ($4.50 a pound).

Delaware: Looks like Carlton at C & J Farms may be your best bet (jojo17117@aol.com).

Florida: Email Abundant Acres (abundantacresfl@gmail.com) for information on group buying clubs. At Ashlin Farms (ashlinfarms@gmail.com), they sell by the split side, the side, and the whole for about $6/pound. Cognito Farm sells whole or half pork and beef, as well as duck and chicken eggs, raw milk, and heritage turkey. Buy a whole pig from Florida Organic Pork for about $450; that’s for 120-140 lbs of pure meat.

Georgia: Ford Farm sells beef by the half and whole, and they’ll even deliver animals to processors near you. Order 90 pound whole lambs from Hidden Acres Natural Farm.

Hawaii: Buy some papayas, taro, and ‘awa along with your bulk beef from Pu’u O Hoku Ranch on Molokai.

Idaho: A.J. Kyle’s Meats (jcnauman@ida.net), Grass Roots Meats, and Pasture Proper all offer whole or split animals.

Illinois: Bauer Custom Meats offers whole and half lamb or beef year round, and Johnson Buffalo Farm sells bulk buffalo (johnson_farms2000@yahoo.com).

Indiana: C & D Family Farms specializes in whole or half hogs, Denny’s Grass Fed Beef in split or half cows (jwdenny@wcrtc.net), and Hoosier Grassfed Beef offers quarter or half year round.

Iowa: Buy live whole lamb from the Anderson Farm at $1.30 per pound, or whole or half cows from the Galen Bontrager, a former Joel Salatin apprentice.

Kansas: The Jubilee Farm sells whole or half lambs (jubilee@jbntelco.com). The Lazy Heart D sells halves or half halves of bison (LHDranch@wamego.net). Moore Ranch sells halves, split halves, and other assorted meats.

Kentucky: McCrory Farms sells whole sheep for $1 per pound (rmccrory@vci.net), and the Sanders Farm sells whole or half calves for $2.50 per pound of hanging weight (hydro_8@hotmail.com).

Louisiana: Preorder whole, half, or split half beef at Brookshire Farm.

Maine: Alder Brook Pig Farm (costahouse@tds.net) sells whole or half pigs, raised happily on pasture. Meadowsweet Farm delivers whole lambs and sides and quarters of beef to the Belfast and Orono Farmer’s Markets, May through December, and to Boston once each fall (meadowsweet@prexar.com).

Maryland: Holterholm Farms sells pastured whole beef carcasses, as well as halves, splits, and quarters (rwholter@aol.com). Mountain Valley Acres does whole pastured chickens for $14 each (around 5 pounds) and whole pigs  for $2.75 a pound (dmmyers.4@juno.com).

Massachusetts: Crescent Moon Farm offers whole and half lambs. Fox Hill Farm (Lampman1@taconic.net) offers 1/2 or whole beef packages custom cut to the customer’s specification.

Michigan: Joe’s Grass Fed Beef sells by the carcass at $2 a pound.

Minnesota: Earth-Be-Glad Farm will sell their beef in any quantity (ebgfarm@hbci.com), and George and Mary’s Best Darn Chickens ‘Round has more than just chickens; they’ve also got whole or half pigs for sale (gmseiler@loretel.net).

Mississippi: Amber Grassfed Beef sells their meat by the quarter, half, or whole.

Missouri: Cloverleaf Farm sells beeves for breeding or for eating (thekentfamily6@socket.net), while Ezra C. Miller sells whole pork, goat, and lamb (debbie7pixie@yahoo.com) just for eating.

Montana: A Land of Grass raises pastured beef and lamb and sells them by the quarter, half, or whole (alandofgrass@3riversdbs.net). Own your own cow via My Own Beef’s program.

Nebraska: The Grain Place, Inc. offers pastured, grass-finished whole or half cows; just make sure to specify grass-finished (mrherman@hamilton.net). L & L Jacobsen Farm offers whole, quarter, or half beef.

Nevada: Mills Ranch offers shares of cows (up to a whole animal) for around $5/lb; email them (millsranch@oasisol.com) to set-up formal cowpools.

New Hampshire: Arbutus Hill Farm allows families and groups to buy whole lambs, pigs, or cows. Steve Normanton sells his beef in bulk. And Wayne LeClair of Rocky Meadow Farm has a large herd of heritage breed, solid-color Galloway cattle. You can reach him at 603-547-6464.

New Jersey: Buy a half or quarter cow share from Beechtree Farm, a half or whole lamb share from Burningheart Organic Farm (burningheartfarm@mail.com), or a half or whole hog from Simply Grazin’.

New Mexico: Buy whole, half, or quarter cows from Harold Koehn Grass-Fed Beef (haroldsharonkoehn@agapemail.com). Pool together with friends and family to buy a whole cow for $5 per pound from JX Ranch.

New York: Arcadian Pastures welcomes orders of whole pork, beef, or lamb (arcadianpastures@hotmail.com). Bettinger Bluff Farm sells by the whole or half. Engelbert Farms offers organic beef, veal and pork by the whole or the half.

North Carolina: Pleasant Gap Farm prefers to sell by the half or the whole cow (pleasantgapfarm@gmail.com), and Rainbow Meadow Farms sells their lamb, chicken, and pork by whole or half carcass.

North Dakota: Effertz EZ Natural Beef Ranch offers steers and young bulls by the half or quarter.

Ohio: Golden Hills Farms sells their grass fed beef by the half carcass. Green Grass Farms sells quarter and half beef and lamb for $4.99 and $5.50 per pound, respectively.

Oklahoma: Beaver Creek Farms sells beef by the half, quarter, or whole. Goose Island Farm sells pastured sides of beef and whole lambs. Sara’s Grassfed Beef sells sides and splits (jlshel494@junct.com). And Plum Rich Beef offers grass fed, grass finished beef at $5.95 a pound!

Oregon: Anandaloka sells quarters, halves, and sides of cows, but reservations are recommended (bbaumann@aureliusholdings.com). The Crooked Gate Ranch offers the same, including wholes. Buy whole lambs from Harlow’s Hills West Coast.

Pennsylvania: Jeff sells whole lambs out of Alt Perlswalde Farm (nat@pa.net), and Blackbird Farms sells whole or half hogs (blackbirdgeorge@gmail.com). You can get whole or half carcasses from Coulter Farms, and you can buy whole emus (yes, emus) from Martin’s Twin Brook Farm. Order whole lambs from Bucky (PVPPFARM@aol.com) at Paradise Valley Organic Farm.

Rhode Island: Sanford Farm sells 80-90 pound quarter cows for around $4.50 per pound. Email Ted Sanford (tedsanford@verizon.net). And The Watson Farm sells whole or half lambs (watsonfarm1796@yahoo.com).

South Carolina: Buy whole goats from Billy’s Boer Meat Goat Farm in Westminster, or email Billy or Cameron at Open Range Grassfed Beef for a whole, half, or split half cow (suzwright55@yahoo.com).

South Dakota: Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. sells pork, lamb, and goat by the whole or half. Email Dwaine at Rosebud Beef Ranch for information on ordering whole grass fed cows (deumberger@gwtc.net).

Tennessee: Bradburn Farm sells by the whole or half cow and cuts it according to your specifications (c-bradburn@hotmail.com). Rocky Glade Farm will deliver whole lambs and half cows directly to your nearest processor.

Texas: The Cross Creek Cattle Company charges $3.50 per pound of hanging carcass weight, and delivery to the processing plant is covered, but the actual processing is not. Darby Farms sells their cows by the whole, half or quarter.

Utah: Bar10 Beef does single steaks and whole cows; your choice. Pleasant Valley Beef sells whole, half, quarter, or split quarters to groups.

Vermont: Buy whole lamb from the Flack Family Farm, and they’ll cut it to your specifications. Kingdom Hill Farm accepts custom orders for quarter, half, and whole cows. Buy whole cows for $2.30 per pound (hanging weight) from Naylor Family Farm (whatup@pshift.com).

Virginia: Babes in the Wood has a buying club; join it and get access to bulk amounts. Border Springs Farm offers whole or half lambs, and Hollin Farms sells wholes or sides of yearling beef.

Washington: From Bradrick Family Farms, order whole lambs or quarter, half, and whole cows. Eagle Perch Ranch offers dry-aged, custom cut whole and half cows to customers, and Green Pastures Farms sells primitive, heritage sheep descended from medieval Scottish sheepy ancestors as whole freezer lambs.

West Virginia: Shagbark Mountain Cattle farms offer whole beef at $3/lb, half beef at $3.24/lb, and quarter beef at $3.75/lb. And they cut it how you want it (pvplumbing@truevine.net).

Wisconsin: Anderson Farm sells both beef and hog by halves and wholes. Babb Creek Grassfed Red Angus beef is sold for about $2.89/lb hung, $3.46/lb finished (mstarhof@verizon.net). Millstone Mountain Farm sells whole, half, and quarter cows for $3/lb cut and wrapped; vacuum packing is an extra 25 cents per pound. Why does Wisconsin have such great prices on grass fed beef?

Wyoming: Cameron Ranch offers whole carcasses of cow and lamb, and they even have a first time rancher program. Prairie Monarch Ranch sells buffalo by the whole, side, or quarter (pmbison@gmail.com).

As you can see, there are many options out there, and I missed far more than I included. Check out EatWild for yourself and dig up even more choices. It’s still the single-best resource for pasture raised animal farms, along with maybe Local Harvest, but you’re going to have to make some calls and write some emails. Still, a little bit of effort is totally worth having a freezer full of delicious grass-fed meat for a fraction of the regular cost.

Have you ever cowpooled? What has been your experience? What are your sources and do they come recommended? Share your thoughts in the comment board!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Mark, even though your post on cowpooling last year was “lean” as you put it, I remembered that it is the actual reason I started coming to this website! I had just read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and was interested in the idea of supporting local ranchers. The rest, as they say, is history :) So thank you for the new post, but I also found GREAT value in the last one!

    hannahc wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • I’ve been eating grass fed beef for years and it has been quite a struggle finding a farm where the meat comes back consistent. I’ve bought from farms where the meat tasted gamey and was very tough. If you complain to them about it they say grass fed beef is supposed to be lean so it cannot be as tender as grain fed beef. It sometimes tastes like venison or wild game meats. I don’t mind venison if cooked properly but I found out the difference is that these small farms bring their cows to a meat plant that doesn’t dry age their beef long enough. Last year we finally found a small farm that ages their grass fed beef about over 30 days which we think is the difference because the beef is tender and tasty. Plus since we don’t have time to drive 3 hours to their farm to pick up beef they deliver it to our house. I’m sure there are some other great sources of grass fed beef out there but we are tired of spending hundreds of dollars to find out the beef doesn’t taste good. We suggest you give http://tendergrassfarm.com/ a try. The downside is that they are a family farm so don’t expect everything to be in stock all the time. We get on their waiting list and their system emails us when it comes back in stock. Happy real food hunting!

      Steve Giovanna wrote on May 24th, 2011
  2. Mark, thanks for all the legwork! I’ll paraphrase “Jaws” and just say: “I’m gonna need a bigger freezer!”

    Currently, I get my grass-fed beef (including organs) from J&Js which sets up a stand at the Culver City farmers market. They are there every other Tuesday and are cheaper than WF, though not as cheep as cowpooling. Very nice guys, though, and if I call them a week ahead of time they’ll usually honor special requests.

    Aaron Blaisdell wrote on January 6th, 2010
  3. In my experience, farmers tend to sell meat in steaks, chops, roasts, etc. because that’s what people typically want. But most of them are perfectly willing to sell a side or quarter of beef, lamb, pork, etc. if you request it far enough ahead of time and have been a reliable customer for them thus far. This way, you can also usually get them to custom cut it for you – trim the fat for tallow/lard, don’t trim the fat, cut the tenderloin or leave it whole, include the organs and marrow, etc. You’ll also typically get a discount on price, especially considering how expensive the premium cuts like rib and loin usually are on grass-fed animals.

    At that point, the problem is finding someone else to share the meat with you. IMO, though, it’s probably a better idea to invest in a large freezer to hold the extra meat. Sure, frozen isn’t as enjoyable as fresh, but in the long run it’s more affordable to buy in bulk. But if you can find people to share the meat with you, hey, the more the merrier. It’s just difficult, in my experience, to find family and friends that appreciate the more intense flavor of grass-fed meat (though I admit I’ve not yet tried the internet.)

    Icarus wrote on January 6th, 2010
  4. Hey Mark,

    What if you’re not lucky enough to live in the USA. I’m in the UK. Have you stumbled across anything for this side of the pond?

    Cheers

    stevehtcyl wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Most cattle in the UK are fed on grass because that’s still the cheapest method, although increasingly they are supplemented with cereal grains and soy in the grand tradition of United States beef and dairy production (ugh). Unfortunately I don’t know of any site that specifically caters to people outside of the US and Canada looking for grass-fed meat, but the Weston Price Foundation does keep a directory of raw, often pastured dairies outside of the US, and that may be a decent place to start looking: http://realmilk.com/where-other.html#uk

      Icarus wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Hi Steve,

      I’m also in the UK, I would also love to here if anyone has found any sources over here. I guess we just have to get in touch with our local producers, I have a friend who called up his nearest egg producer for ungraded eggs (the ones that are too big/small/irregular shaped for supermarkets) he was told to go to sainsburys…oh well.

      baz wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Sorry, stevehtcyl. Just as I was publishing this post I thought about all my international readers. Maybe I’ll have to do a follow-up post sometime in the future. Thanks for reading!

      Mark Sisson wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • I’m American but I live in the UK and there’s a lot more options over here for naturally-raised meat than there are in the US. The two best sources I’ve found are Riverford (www.riverford.co.uk) and Graig Farm (www.graigfarm.co.uk). Riverford has farms all over the country and the also do the best organic vegboxes I’ve run across. You can choose from a variety of organic meatboxes (good value) or make up a box of specific cuts. Graig Farm is in Wales, but they deliver anywhere through the post and have other organic foods, wild game and sustainable fish, all excellent quality. You might also want to look into your local organic box scheme as some of them also have organic & free-range meat. Abel & Cole (www.abelandcole.co.uk) deliver many places and they also have organic and free-range meat, sustainable fish, and fresh game. Sorry for the essay, but hope I’ve helped.

      Kara wrote on January 8th, 2010
    • A little late probably but check out http://www.greenpasturefarms.co.uk

      They offer Grass Fed Beef/Lamb and Pastured Pork/Chicken, plus they even do a cow share option!

      Simon Primal wrote on April 4th, 2012
  5. I am going to try this place they have a lot grass fed options.

    http://www.texasgrassfedbeef.com/

    seanfhear wrote on January 6th, 2010
  6. Mark, thanks for the post! I know the feeling of going to the freezer and being excited by all the nice meat…

    @stevehtcyl:
    How do you mean “lucky to live in the USA”??? Are they lucky?? ;-)

    Jokes aside, I’m from Belgium and I only have one supplier of grass-fed meat, and it is not cheap! On the other hand, it is meat from these amazing ‘Galloway’ cows (picture here http://users.skynet.be/natuurpuntrupelstreek/reservaten/images/diverse/gallowayrunderen.jpg)

    These animals are almost wild. They are used to ‘maintain’ some natural areas in Belgium. They are not chosen for their meat production, but for their toughness. But I can say their meat is not tough at all! Because there are no natural predators, and because they breed quite easily, there is some meat production.

    Maybe the UK has similar cows?

    Best,

    pieter d wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Hi,

      Could you tell me where you buy your grass-fed meat? I’m from Belgium as well.
      The only thing I can find when searching for Galloway is Veeakker, is that it?

      Thanks for any help!

      Pieter wrote on January 10th, 2010
    • I am from Belgium too. Can you please let me know where can you buy this grass fed meat. Although I do not eat beef. But may be your seller has free range lamb, chicken etc

      gajraaj wrote on September 15th, 2010
  7. Just a single guy myself, haven’t seen the need to cowpool, I just don’t go through that much beef. Yet.

    I am lucky to have found a local ranch that provides pasture raised beef, dry aged 20 days before packaging. Been some amazing stuff so far. (the top round makes same wonderful beef jerky, especially via Alton Brown’s method/recipe)

    If anyone is in SE Washington/NE Oregon, I definitely recommend checking out Pat ‘n Tams Beef. They deliver regionally, and have whole, 1/2, and 1/4 beef. Direct at http://www.patntamsbeef.com, or purchase through shoptheparkway.com if you’re near me in the Richland, WA area.

    Zyzzyx wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Try these folks if you are closer to the Seattle area. They have drop-off points all over. The beef and pork are phenomenal, especially the pork sausage and natural bacon!

      http://www.crown-s-ranch.com/

      “Our family raises grass-fed cattle, pigs, laying hens, chickens, and turkeys on our Certified Organic pastures in Washington State’s Methow Valley. We care for our animals as nature intended: with an abundance of lush green grass on rotated organic pastures, with plenty of clean water, sunshine, and fresh air. We use no hormones, steroids, pesticides, genetically-modified feeds, or unhealthy grains.”

      You can buy from them by the cut or as part of a CSA Program (Community Supported Agriculture), which was new to me. Their site describes it as:

      “A Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA, is a relationship between farmers and a community of members, or shareholders, where the shareholders receive their food directly from the farmers, and provide the farmers with direct financing through advance purchase of products delivered over the harvest season.”

      “Unlike other beef and pork CSAs or buying clubs, our beef and pork shareholders truly get a “share” – shareholders collectively purchase whole animals in advance of harvest. The beef from a steer is shared eight ways, and a the pork from a pig is shared four ways. Together, shareholders receive all of the cuts from their animal. (The exception is organ meat such as tongue, heart, liver and oxtail. If you would like these cuts, please specify on your order form.) The exact weight of each animal will vary. We work closely with our butcher to ensure that the cuts are distributed equitably among shareholders.”

      You can buy more than one share base on personal need. Enjoy and happy hunting!

      Uncle Bulldog wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Thanks for the Shoutout! We are now also available in Western Oregon and Washington. just contact us!

      Thanks

      Pat

      Pat Mallon wrote on September 5th, 2011
  8. Would love to Cowpool with someone in South Jersey!

    stevew2023 wrote on January 6th, 2010
  9. For those in the Philly area, we just joined Farm to City which is a great way to get farm food (grass fed beef, chicken, vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, etc) delivered close to home at great prices. You can sign up for a CSA or buying club, we did the latter. You put a $50 deposit in and order twice a month to have it delivered (our pickup site is a few blocks away) Philly isn’t really known for it’s healthy lifestyle, but this is a great option!
    http://www.farmtocity.org (wfs)

    Chris P. wrote on January 6th, 2010
  10. In Northern IL (northern/ NW Chicago suburbs, really) we’ve been enjoying dealing with themeatgoat.com. Might be worth looking into, if you’re in the area! I understand they can arrange for cow-portions on request. We’re planning on doing this in a few months, after I get my freezer space cleared and prepped! XD

    Beth wrote on January 6th, 2010
  11. Here in Seattle, I’m aware of at least one meat CSA (Community SUpported Agriculature) where I can by a share of a grass-fed, beyond-organic, cow or a pig, and it’s divided into portions, so my freezer doesn’t get the huge hit all at once. I’ve been buying from Crown-S Ranch up in the Bellingham area. I’ve done this for two years, but next time I think I’m going to try to find a couple of people to do a more traditional cow and pigpool with, because then Crown-S will butcher to spec. I also get a couple of chickens and a couple dozen eggs with each delivery. Really delicious stuff by the way.

    Rosemary Daszkiewicz wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Oops. I responded to someone else above regarding the same farm. Sorry about double-posting.

      Uncle Bulldog wrote on January 6th, 2010
  12. I’ll submit my pal Bill’s company, http://www.tallgrassbeef.com/ . Not the most economical meat on the planet, but it earns raves.

    Beth wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • I just got my first Tallgrass order yesterday thanks to a nice Visa gift card, have a ribeye thawing for dinner as we type …

      Trish wrote on January 7th, 2010
  13. Thanks for the info, Mark!

    Oh, and everyone knows that Wisconsin has the best prices on beef! I mean, it stands to reason, seeing as we are also America’s dairyland. Meat and cheese is what we do best! We live off the stuff up here! ;)

    Krist Voiles wrote on January 6th, 2010
  14. Your local farmer’s markets ought to be great sources of cowpooling info as well: I spent last summer tasting my way through a few local farms (blessed with loads of small pasturing farms in the NH/VT hills and mountains!), all of whom provide side/quarter service. In fact, many farms sell out far in advance! Am currently trying to rope a few people in for springtime orders up here….

    Andy wrote on January 6th, 2010
  15. Another link for North Carolina for folks near the Triangle or maybe Greensboro: http://www.waltersunlimited.com/grass-fed-beef-prices.php
    Roland’s a great guy. I drive out there about once a month and spend $200-300 filling up the freezer. He’s got cows, pigs, chickens, and goats, all of which you can walk around and look at and see how they’re being raised if you like. I found him through one of the local farmer’s markets. Haven’t done a partial cow order yet, but I wouldn’t save much money doing that over what I buy from him now, getting exactly the cuts I want. He can also talk your ear off about how manage the pastures for grass feeding, with a variety of nitrogen fixing plants to sustain it, etc. It was a conventional farm when he took it over from his parents, and he switched it over to grass fed after that.
    Have also ordered from these folks (they will even deliver to the Triangle for free), but Roland has better prices and I don’t have purchase in bundled packs of various cuts: http://www.dahnmarfarms.com/

    Nick wrote on January 6th, 2010
  16. Mark,
    2 of the best sources I’ve found:

    Slanker’s Grass Fed Meat (you should read his webpage…he’s deep into the science of fatty acid balance and 100% primal friendly). They ship anywhere and have INCREDIBLE service.

    For those in Virginia, Polyface Farms (featured in the movie Food, Inc) does co-op deliveries throughought VA and NC.

    Grok On

    Jeremy wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Polyface delivers all over the Washington, DC area as well on a regular/rolling basis. Website:

      http://www.polyfaceyum.com/

      Frank wrote on January 6th, 2010
      • March can’t get here fast enough (that’s when Polyface’s deliveries start up again). I’ve been able to buy limited Polyface products at my local market so when I found out there was a buying club in my area I immediately signed up. I don’t think I’ll get a cow share (I only feed two people and my chest freezer isn’t that big) but having access to good grassfed stuff for relatively cheap is exciting. I know, food nerd …

        Trish wrote on January 7th, 2010
  17. Arizona:

    I have had the meat from Double Check and is quite good but ridiculously lean — which they boast, of course. I asked them if they would sell me fat and they said no. But maybe if you buy a cow share they won’t trim off so much.

    There is a ranch in Gila Bend that is willing to sell fat though I cannot remember the name. They usually appear at the Tucson farmer’s market on the weekends in the St Phillips Plaza.

    marnee wrote on January 6th, 2010
  18. add to list in Colo:
    Grant Family Farms in Ft Collins
    Lay Family & Buffalo guys for bison
    & there’s a place near Pueblo for grass-fed dairy, beef, & pasture raised pork:
    http://www.largavistaranch.com/
    http://www.sunprairiebeef.com/ (denver & metro)
    http://www.jamesranch.net/ (durango/ 4 corners)
    I’ve bought bits of bison from Lay family (Craig, CO) they travel to farmer’s mrkts & will also deliver. He loves that I buy things like kidneys & hearts. I’m Real Curious about Larga Vista– I haven’t tried any of their stuff yet but am dying to.
    Currently, I’m looking for pasture so I can raise a few critters this summer & if I sq up that deal I’ll post here for sharesies!

    Peggy wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • Hi Peggy, I have to ask if you have any good kidney recipes. love them from lamb and pork, but I have not been able to make beef kidney taste good…

      jon w wrote on January 10th, 2010
  19. Amber Grassfed Beef in Mississippi only sells half and whole–not quarter. Something about a law that only allows them to sell whole and half from Newton, MS. Anywho, they are fairly adamant about no grain, pesticides, hormones, etc. Just good ol’grass.

    Lelanhus wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • I buy from Amber, too. Very happy.

      David wrote on January 7th, 2010
  20. My buddy and I have cow-pooled twice from http://www.chilenobeef.com/ up in Marin County, CA. They sell split-quarter, half, or whole

    We even ran into a Lamb rancher while picking up our first beef order from the butcher and we lamb-pooled as well.

    Lars wrote on January 6th, 2010
  21. Not sure about cowpooling but http://www.wilcoxangusbeef.com/ is a grass-fed source in Seattle Washington area.

    Grok wrote on January 6th, 2010
  22. Also in CA Bay Area;

    Check out the Marin Sun Farms CSA

    http://www.marinsunfarms.com/meatclub/meatclub.html

    I actually just signed up and have yet to receive my first package, but their beef is quite tasty.

    Stefan wrote on January 6th, 2010
  23. Ric wrote on January 6th, 2010
  24. Even up here in the tundra of Minnesota there are great places to buy grass-fed beef and other meat, including buffalo. The Land Stewardship Project has a list of farms and CSAs. Here’s the link to the farm directory page: http://www.landstewardshipproject.org/foodfarm-main.html#sfd

    j_barney wrote on January 6th, 2010
  25. oops! Sorry – the Land Stewardship Project directory also includes parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas…

    j_barney wrote on January 6th, 2010
  26. Is Anyone from Australia? I heard that most of the cattle is grass fed here (which i believe because of the prices, insane, GOD) but I cant find that information anywhere =(

    Mary wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • I know a few farmers in SW WA and most beef is grass fed, because its cheaper not to have to grow grain or buy it to feed them. Often they are finished with grain, but that makes the meat a little more expensive. We are lucky to get such good meat.

      I know a company called Dandargan Beef sells grass fed organic beef. They are from WA, I have cowpooled with a few of my mates before… MMMMMm. You can also buy it from a few butchers around here(Perth).

      Dr Steve wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Hi Mary. I saw there’s a few places on the internet. like this one for example: http://www.littlecreekbeef.com/

      Michael wrote on November 20th, 2010
  27. Thanks for the list! In the Phoenix, Arizona area you can buy grass fed beef from JH Ranch at the Roadrunner and Twilight farmers markets. (Maybe others, but that’s where I find them.) They also occasionally have grass fed lamb from another ranch in Chino Valley.

    Chuck wrote on January 6th, 2010
    • There’s another source in the Phoenix area called Arizona Grass Fed Beef. It’s from the O X Ranch and it’s available either over the internet at http://www.azgrassfed.com or at The Meat Shop in downtown. It’s also available at the Tempe and Phoenix farmer’s markets.

      Jay wrote on January 6th, 2010
  28. Another source of food information is your local chapter of the Weston Price Foundation. They even have international chapters. I joined a yahoo group for our local chapter last year and through them got hooked up with a farmer who sells amazing tasting grass fed beef. Our family sampled several sources of grass fed beef–some we liked and some we didn’t–either for the taste or for the packaging that leaked all over! I would definitely recommend sampling some of the beef before you commit to a larger purchase. I love your blog and have been a long time lurker! You have had a significant impact on how our family eats–thank you!

    Kelly wrote on January 6th, 2010
  29. Meetup groups are a great way to cowpool. Check out our meetup in NYC http://www.meetup.com/Eating-Paleo-in-NYC/

    Melissa wrote on January 6th, 2010
  30. As you may or may not know, I’ll be traveling over the next year, so I can’t take advantage of this awesome Cowpooling thing. I just wanted to say thanks to Mark and everyone for taking the time to research this!! Holy Cow, that’s a lot of info.!!

    BNDR wrote on January 6th, 2010
  31. my problem with the cowpooling or buying quarters is you get so much ground beef and I almost never eat that. i just want the steak, NY’s preferably. plus i like fresh meat better than frozen. so i guess i either have to lower my standards or pay more…or keeping buying family packs of $5 NY steaks, grain fed. :( I buy a goat every spring and pit cook it, and that’s a lot of meat, grass fed. and i buy some grass fed beef from rancher friends. plus I hunt game birds. so it’s not like I’m only eating grain fed beef. but i do eat a lot of it…

    DThalman wrote on January 6th, 2010
  32. If you are in the Albany, NY area. Try out the Heydenrych Farms.
    http://www.grassfedbeefny.com/

    geekfish wrote on January 6th, 2010
  33. For those in Washington State, check out http://www.thunderinghooves.net . They have cows, pigs, chickens, lambs, heritage turkeys, and goats. I’ve ordered quite a few of their products and I’ve loved every one of them. I highly recommend them.

    Kevin Dillon wrote on January 6th, 2010
  34. One word of caution when buying shares is to know what you are getting for the quoted price. I still get the terminology mixed up, but when I bought a 1/4 share I paid the farmer a price at 1/4 of the weight of the steer still alive. Then the butcher fee was based on the hanging weight?? which I think is just the meat and bones with the entrails and “leather” removed.

    If it sounds too cheap to believe then clarify what you are paying for ahead of time to avoid headaches later on.

    Then…enjoy your beef!!!

    Rodney wrote on January 6th, 2010
  35. For those in Washington State, I highly recommend Thundering Hooves (www.thunderinghooves.net) Grass-fed, finished beef, Pastured lamb, pork, chicken. They offer a coupon for first time buyers, $20 off your order of $50 or more (print online). They have neighborhood buying clubs where they will deliver monthly. Great family farm and the best beef ever!

    Krys wrote on January 6th, 2010
  36. I have a cow thats eating grass at my Pa’s pasture in OK that we will split 3 ways between me/dad/pa. Should be finished up in April! YAY!

    D wrote on January 6th, 2010
  37. Cow Pooling. Now that’s an interesting concept. Any tips to find one if you like in the UK?

    Richard wrote on January 7th, 2010
  38. For all the Rhode Islanders out there: I really like the people at Rhodemont Farm in Coventry. http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=2060

    Ryan wrote on January 7th, 2010
    • Thanks for this link. I live in Mass, but VERY close to this farm so will check it out!

      Peggy wrote on January 8th, 2010
  39. Great post, Mark.

    I live in Wisconsin and I do consider myself very lucky. I’m able to find many, many great grass-fed meat sources at very reasonable prices.
    Last year we purchased 1/4 of a cow at about $2.75 finished and wrapped. The pork ended up being on sales at about $1.50 finished and wrapped. What a deal.

    But I also found out that there are even more sources out there who raise meat for friends and neighbors and never even advertise it. Smaller farmers don’t bother with Internet and rely on a word of mouth. A friend of mine cowpooled last year and was able to get her beef at $1.90 a lb. WOW!

    chocolatechip69 wrote on January 7th, 2010
  40. I enjoy my grassfed beef from O X Ranch in Arizona. They sell in 1/4, 1/2 and whole steer sizes and the pricing is competitive. Best of all, I didn’t want to purchase beef I sampled and so I went to The Meat Shop in downtown Phoenix and got a cut of beef (a little higher priced – but worth it to just buy one cut) and then could evaluate it before I purchased the 1/4 steer. http://www.azgrassfed.com

    Lisa wrote on January 7th, 2010

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