Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

Tell Me More
Stay Connected
January 06 2010

How to Find a Cowpooling Source

By Mark Sisson
116 Comments

I 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!

TAGS:  big moo

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

116 thoughts on “How to Find a Cowpooling Source”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  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!

    1. 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!

  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.

  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.)

  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

    1. 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

    2. 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.

    3. 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!

    4. 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.

  5. 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,

    1. 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!

    2. 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

  6. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. Thanks for the Shoutout! We are now also available in Western Oregon and Washington. just contact us!

      Thanks

      Pat

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. 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.

    1. Oops. I responded to someone else above regarding the same farm. Sorry about double-posting.

    1. I just got my first Tallgrass order yesterday thanks to a nice Visa gift card, have a ribeye thawing for dinner as we type …

  10. 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! 😉

  11. 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….

  12. 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/

  13. 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

      1. 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 …

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

    1. 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…

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. oops! Sorry – the Land Stewardship Project directory also includes parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas…

  19. 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 =(

    1. 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).

  20. 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.

    1. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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.!!

  23. 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…

  24. 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.

  25. 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!!!

  26. 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!

  27. 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!

    1. Thanks for this link. I live in Mass, but VERY close to this farm so will check it out!

  28. 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!

  29. 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

  30. Sorry, but Hollin Farms in Virginia finish their cattle with corn for weeks before slaughter. One not only wants grass fed, but finished as well.

  31. Thanks again Mark. Learned about cowpooling from you. Now if I can find someone who lives in and around Pasadena, CA, I’d love to get a conversation going. Plan on buying a deep freezer next month. Scouting around for a good one.

    Got hungry growing athletic boys to feed.

  32. Connecticut residents – I just bought my second cow from Ryan Matson, who Mark listed in his post. Great beef, great price, honest and easy to work with guy. Highly recommended!

  33. South Central PA….. http://www.weikertseggfarm.com free range eggs and natural beef. They do feed their cattle some grain, but it is grown on site without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. I’ve had email conversations with the owner discussing this.

    Grass fed Pork and free range chickens.. http://www.rettlandfarm.com …their pork is delicious and I’ve got a broiler thawing out now for dinner tonight.

  34. Any recommendations for Washington, D.C.? I don’t have a car so it would have to be in DC or I’d have to be able to order it… thanks!

    1. Try Cibola or EcoFriendly Farms. Both have grass finished products.

  35. Mark,

    More from Ohio:

    Yoder Grass Fed Meats:
    8561 Bear Hollow Rd
    Apple Creek, OH 44606
    330-698-0340
    Email: yodergrassfedmeats@gmail.com

    Whole Beef (450-600#) $2.40/lb plus processing

    Half (240-300#) $2.40/lb plus processing

    Front Quarter (125-175#) $2.30/lb plus processing

    Hind Quarter (125-175#) $2.65/lb plus processing

    Split Half (1/2 the cuts from both the front and hind quarters) $2.45/lb plus processing

    Also carries: Pork, Turkeys, Chickens, and Lamb. All pastured, never any hormones. Tell them Dan Merk sent you.

  36. In Minnesota there are several grass-fed meat CSAs, Seward Co-op has a CSA fair in the spring if you are interested in a meat CSA. Otherwise, a number of the local grass fed meat farms will sell direct to consumers, I find it works well to ask at my local food co-op for names.

  37. Man, no suprise that the Bay has options and Hell-A doesn’t. Been in LA (Santa Monica) for 5 yrs now and am itching to make it back to the Bay. Went hiking in the hills of Palo Alto last weekend and it was all fresh air, friendly people and red woods. Came back to LA and it was traffic, smog and $12 park fees. /Rant

  38. in Honolulu I have bought an eighth of a cow ($6/lb) plus offal ($3/lb) from a meat share arranged by slow foods oahu. the more people get in on this, the sooner I can get the next order!

    write to laurie carlson (laurie at honoluluweekly dot=com)

  39. We are a small custom freezer beef and pork farm about about 30 minutes south of Buffalo NY.

  40. We raise beef in South Dakota and love cowpooling so much, we have a plug for it on our website! As some other commenters mentioned, we also will do custom orders (whole heart, tenderloin, etc.).

  41. For those of us with apartments and small freezers, cowpooling isn’t really an option. I recommend checking out the grocery store Sprouts. They have grass fed ground beef & steaks on sale quite frequently so we just stock up our freezer then.

  42. New York-In the Hudson Valley-80 miles out of NYC-Brykill Farm has amazing grass fed beef by the quarter or side. Check us out Brykillfarm.com

  43. Go to your county fair! I know, I know – those beef in the auction are “finished” with grain. But 4h project animals are treated with more love and care than any animal you could eat. The kids who raise them sometimes cry when they sell them for slaughter, but it’s a powerful lesson for all involved about humans and animals and food and respect and what it means to be a carnivore. You also get to talk to the people who grow food for a living, and if you feel strongly about the grain in the diet, you can find one who’ll custom grow you one however you want it. Pork, beef, chicken, duck, rabbit… it’s all there. Connect with the people who are connected with your food. No reason to have “Whole Paycheck” in the middle of it.

  44. We raise grass fed beef and lamb in Southern California, we also have sister farms raising pastured pork and chicken. You can go USDA by the piece or custom by the whole animal, shares start at 1/8 beef(about 75lbs) and half lambs (about 30 lbs) our prices are based on fished weight not hanging weight and one of our sister farms does ship.

  45. Raised in western KY near Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee & Missouri. Black Angus all natural grass fed beef. Supplied retailers in the Chicago market for years, now doing it on their own. Really cheap prices, very tender, well marbled & really good tasting…

    http://www.kylowline.com

  46. Thanks for this post, I am fairly new to the whole paleo/primal thing and have been trying to source a farmer in michigan. Now all i need to do is find someone who sells grassfed butter.

  47. If any of you in Southern California are ever interested in getting some really high quality beef in Southern California we deliver our Dry Aged truly Grassfed Beef to Pasadena once a year in addition to pasture raised chickens. Here is a video tour of our farm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YA4QysDaLxU.

    And then here is the information on how to order if anyone is interested:
    Grassfed Beef & Pastured Chicken Order Forms
    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs026/1101935835957/archive/1104672626790.html

    Email me if you have any questions chris_kerston {at} chaffinfamilyorchards [dot] com

  48. Great thread – particular thanks to Kara for the UK options! I’m checking out the Riverford options now. Very impressed with their value!

  49. In the Phoenix, AZ area try http://www.toplinefoods.com. They deliver and you don’t have to buy a cow, or even a quarter. Just pick the cuts of grass fed beef you like. They also have organic chicken and all natural humanely raised pork. I have been buying from them for over a year and LOVE it!

    1. I just saw that they are also shipping now all over. The rates are kind of brutal if you live out east, but if you live the Southwest, they are very reasonable.

  50. Hi everyone,

    I work for our family’s ranch in Northern California, Magruder Ranch. We raise 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free of all chemical, antibiotics, raised on organic pastures, and fed only fresh, growing grasses and legumes.

    We sell quarters, halves, and wholes that can picked up at our Ranch in Mendocino County or at our butcher in Petaluma. Shoot me an email if interested, ben@magruderranch.com.

    Thanks!

  51. Hey just wanted to share this with you guys. Here is an example of a video showcasing free range grass fed pigs running in the wild. it’s great that we have a farmer with enough confidence to show off his farm. It’s hard to find videos like these so enjoy. Pigs running free is truly a beautiful thing to see.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-9DHaFp1Dc

  52. Upstate New Yorkers should give Buckley Beef a try. Grass fed and finished beef, that is lean, healthy, and flavorful. Come taste the difference!

  53. If you guys are looking for a way to pool together to buy cows, check out my startup I’m launching at ourcluster.com. We’re aimed at solving this exact problem and looking to launch hopefully in August! You can follow us via our newsletter or joining our recently opened facebook and twitter pages at

  54. For those who have purchased wholes/halves of meats…I was interested in making a bulk lamb and beef order, but wanted to know what cuts typically come in a 1/4 of beef? Also, how many pounds of take-home meat is the average for a 1/4 beef and a whole lamb?

    Thank you!

  55. It’s been over 2 years that we belong to a Meat CSA in Sonoma County. Adam from Victorian Farmstead does chicken, rabbit, lamb, pork and beef. I know he works with everyone as far as how much they want, etc. He’s at a few farmers markets in the northbay (including Moraga) and has his own shop in Sebastopol that he sells from.
    http://www.vicfarmmeats.com/

  56. Also in SF Bay Area and Los Angeles

    Check out Full of Life Farm.

    Grass fed Beef and Lamb and non-GMO Pork delivered to your door.

    Their Oregon pastures of lush green grass make really tasty, high nutrition meat.

  57. Please add Yolo Land & Cattle Co. to your list of grassfed beef producers in California. We sell individual butcher cuts of beef at Davis Farmer’s Market and bulk orders of quarter or half cow can be picked up at our ranch.

  58. Hi! October is a push for our grass fed beef program. Join fellow “Cowpoolers” and visit our site for info on our beef or starting your own herd. We use primarily miniature Hereford and standard Hereford cattle for all the obvious reasons: the are great! Located in Deep East Texas on the Louisiana border at Toledo Bend Lake. If you are close, you don’t want to miss out on our great tasting natural beef!

  59. Hello,

    If anyone from/in Belgium reads this, Delhaize sells pastured pig. Full of flavor, one of the best meats I can get my hands on in here 🙂

  60. I am WAY late on posting, but I just saw this archived link. My husband and I have been buying a half beef for years, starting in 2010. We live out in the boonies, found a small local farmer (about 3 miles from my home) who raised the heritage breed we wanted, knocked on their door, asked if they were willing to sell their beef, and if purchasing a half-beef was possible.
    We chose to go with Pineywoods beef, as Woods cattle have been adapting to life on the inhospitable Gulf Coast since the Spaniards first dropped Criollo stock off on US soil. This means we get grass/brush-fed beef with largely zero inputs. Perhaps not certified organic, but certainly practically. I SEE how those cattle are raised and handled every time I drive past their pasture. The first year we got it, our beef was 1.80/# hanging weight, plus kill and processing fees, and as the other half-buyer usually doesn’t want the organ meats, bones, oxtail, etc…, I usually get all those to boot. I am still looking for a local pastured pork, and we raise our own goats and poultry, as well as hunt deer from the back pasture. If you see a neighbor with a herd (of beef, sheep, goats, pigs, whatever) it doesn’t hurt to ask, you will be supporting a small farmer directly, and if you learn what breeds are heritage or landrace, you will help support livestock breed diversity as well. A breed that has a job survives.

    If you cannot find a local farmer, or are shy about approaching them, contact area meat processing businesses. Good chance they can hook you up with a local farmer that produces grass-fed (or the owner might possibly raise them as well).

    Also, if you live near Hattiesburg, MS, Justin Pitts sells Gulf Coast heritage breed products at the farmers’ market there. http://justinbpittsfarm.com/ (He doesn’t list his pork, but he also raises heritage pork.)

  61. Those who do work and explains getting skinny thin have the ability to something in accordance.
    Some foods who have plenty of protein are eggs, fish, and chicken. Make sure your meal is richer
    in low calorie foods reducing in high calorie foods. So select the healthy way by living the kitchen connoisseur to attain long-term weight loss.

  62. If you have the money and like your meat delivered frozen, I have had great success with this company:

    http://www.uncurednaturalmeats.com/

    They sell (expensive) beef bacon. YUM! and wild caught Alaskan salmon. If you call, many times Debra (the owner) has specials that are not listed on the site. (like 5 lb. package of salmon chunks fairly inexpensive… for example)

    Also, the list in the OP has listed SteveNormanton in NH (Litchfield, New Hampshire) – I have been buying a side per year from him for 4 years and have always had a great product. He is also a super nice guy and fun to talk to – never a bad thing. He’s got other products as well – chickens pork sausage etc…

    I’m getting hungry…

  63. Hi we run a 100% grass fed meat site in the UK and have a section of the site dedicated to ‘cow pooling’ we can feature holistically managed and 100% grass fed animals in this crowd funding style approach and then once all the shares have been purchased the animal is slaughtered and the meat shipped anywhere in the UK (after hanging 21 days and butchery/packing etc). This offers a fantastic easy totaly traceable way of selecting your 100% grass fed meat. http://www.primalmeats.co.uk