Where To Buy Quality Meat, Poultry and Fish
We get a lot of questions of where we buy our meat, liver, bones, etc., so it seemed like the easiest thing to do would outline it all in one place for you to reference. I consider this post to be a living document and will continue to be updated as we learn about new farms, pricing, etc.
We believe if you honor Mother Nature she returns the favor. Choosing meat from conscious sources may cost a bit more in dollars, but what you get in return is a more nutritious, safer product, and a healthier planet. In this article we’ll quickly share our meat buying philosophy and our favorite places you can order.
For starters, cows are ruminants, meaning they have multiple stomachs to better digest grass and foliage. A cow’s stomach system is unable to digest soy, corn, and grains properly, which leads to a whole host of issues for the cow.
Also, they’re not meant to live in confined (and often disgusting) spaces. Today most cows are moved to feedlots shortly after they’re born, which is stressful. This constant stress raises cortisol levels and can make the cow sick and weak. You can even take it a step further and realize that you are taking on the energy of that cow.
Unfortunately, labels on grass-fed beef can be misleading, so, before you buy, it’s important to understand some keywords.
Grass Fed - Means the cow was fed grass, but doesn’t mean that’s the only thing it ate. In fact, a large percentage of its diet could have included grain or grain byproducts, GMO’s, and they could have been given antibiotics and/or hormones. It could also have lived in confinement for the last part of its life. It’s best to research the farm/company before becoming a regular customer. You’ll hear us say this a lot…KNOW YOUR FARMER.
100% Grass Fed & Finished - This means grains are never introduced into the cows diet. It doesn’t speak to the other philosophies of the farm, but it’s a good start.
Pasture-Raised - This means a cow spent most of its time on a pasture. Not every grass-fed cow is pasture-raised, and not every pasture-raised cow is 100% grass-fed. Pastures may have grass and other foliage, but some farmers supplement with grain or grain byproducts. It’s important to ask the farm/company producing the meat if they supplement with grains or GMO’s.
Regenerative - Regenerative beef comes from cattle raised and fed by way of rotational grazing. At its simplest, Regenerative agriculture allows animals to live on real grass with rich soil, which gives more nutrients to plants and grasses. Beef from cattle raised this way has more nutrients, no chemicals, and is in harmony with Mother Nature. Read more here if you’re interested.
If you’ve ever seen the documentary Food Inc you’ll know how disgusting large-scale chicken farming can be. Birds are often tortured, fed an unnatural diet, and poisoned until slaughter which leaves them sick, low in nutrients and more likely to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria.
Let’s go over a few keywords.
Vegetarian Fed - Chickens and other poultry are NOT vegetarians. They are omnivores who eat plenty of bugs. This label is simply a marketing ploy. They can be tortured, fed GMO’s, and be given antibiotics.
Free Range / Cage Free - Means chickens are not kept in tiny confined cages, but they can still be crammed together in a giant room in disgusting and dangerous living conditions. This marketing term is a scam to make people feel like they are getting a healthier, more humane option.
Organic - A better option as they’re not allowed antibiotics and GMO feed, but can still be confined to crowded and stressful areas and fed an unnatural “organic” diet.
Pasture-Raised - Birds have access to the outdoors and are more likely to have a natural diet. This is the only type of chicken/poultry we recommend.
Farm-raised - Fish are raised in controlled pens that exist within lakes, oceans, rivers, or large tanks. Salmon for example are fed a mixture of corn, grains, fish oil and ground up wild-caught fish. The fishmeal also includes food coloring, which gives the salmon the pink color (it would be gray otherwise). Wild salmon are pink because they eat krill, which gets its color from red algae. Farm-raised fish have also been known to be higher in dangerous bacteria.
Wild Caught - Just what you think it is, fish caught in their natural habitat.
WHERE TO BUY
Here are some of our favorite companies we’ve found over the years that deliver high-quality meat right to your door.
US Wellness Meats - 100% grass-fed/pasture raised, sustainable practices
- Subscription / One time orders available
- $75 / 7lb minimum order. Free Shipping with a $9.50 handling fee
- Beef, Lamb, Bison, Pork, Poultry and Seafood, Petfood, Raw Butter, Ghee, Raw Cheese
- GREAT place to get organs. We feel comfortable eating our liver from here raw
- They have awesome ground organ blends too. We use their beef organ blend (beef, kidney, heart, liver) in our Primal Chili
- Great place to get bones for making broth, as well as marrow bones for eating marrow. They have beef, bison, lamb, pork and chicken bones
- If you’re new to organs, try their Liverwurst, Headcheese, or Braunschweiger…they are relatively mild and quite delicious. Our kids love them.
Grass Roots Farmers Co-op - Regenerative
- Free shipping on $120+
- Not a subscription
- Has Beef, Pork, Poultry and Lamb
- All sorts of cuts including seasoned ground blends like sausage, chorizo, etc. The Italian sausage blend is SO GOOD. It’s the sausage we use in the Hearty Sausage Stew
- Bulk discounts available on certain cuts (eg. 3 packs @ 10% off, 5 packs 15% off)
- Does not sell organs/organ blends aside from chicken hearts/feet
Butcher Box - 100% Grass-fed, Grass-Finished Beef, Free-Range Organic Chicken
- Click HERE for FREE ground beef for life + $30 off first order
- Subscription only, starts at $169/month for 9-14 pounds of meat; add ons available at a good price.
- Free shipping, pause or cancel anytime
- Choose your cuts and update your box each month
- Beef, Chicken, Pork and sometimes wild seafood
- No organs/bones available
- We have a current subscription and tend to use Butcher Box for our basics, and order our organs and other cuts from other farms
Buy Ranch Direct - 100% Grass Fed & Finished, Pasture-Raised
- Beef, Bison, Pork, Poultry, Lamb, Rabbit, Yak
- Great place to get organs and bones, as well as organ blends. This is another farm we feel comfortable consuming our liver from raw.
- They have a membership for a one time fee of $50. Includes 5 pounds of ground beef or chicken. Membership gives you 5% off every purchase, and no order minimums. We are members and think it's so worth it! The free 5 pounds of ground beef for $50 essentially pays for itself
- If you are not a member, order minimum is $99
- All kinds of delicious salami, bone broth, and whole small animals
- Nationwide shipping, or free pick up at select LA/Orange County/Long Beach Farmers Markets; Also available in some specialty markets
Force of Nature - Regenerative
- 10% off first order
- Beef, Elk, Venison, Bison, Pork, Chicken, Wild Boar
- Ground organs blends (beef, chicken, venison, bison); does not have a whole organs
- Ships nationwide, also available at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Mothers and other specialty health food markets. Shipping is expensive, so shop in store
Pasture Bird - Pasture Raised Chicken
- Pasture raised chicken only
- Subscription boxes at 10% off or a la carte options
- Free shipping on $100+
Vital Choice Seafood - Wild Caught Fish & Supplements
- Seafood and supplements only
- Subscription or a la carte opinions
Wild Pastures - 100% Grassfed Beef, Pasture-Rasied Pork/Chicken, Wild Caught Seafood
- Click HERE to get $20 off your first box
- Customizable subscription boxes with optional add ons
- This one is new to me, but currently trying out our first box and was able to get a deal for $20/off each box and free shipping for life.
- So far... sausage blends are awesome, and the bacon is AMAZING. Thick, and probably some of the best bacon I've ever had
SO WHERE DO WE ORDER FROM?
We definitely bounce around a bit. We are lucky that we order meat from different farms quite often for the business, and we will often tag on some meat for ourselves on an order to take advantage of free shipping. We often follow sales as well.
Generally speaking… we have a subscription with Butcher Box and use that for some basics like ground beef, beef roasts and maybe some chicken. We then place another order, most often with US Wellness so we can get knuckle bones, marrow bones, liver, tallow, organ blends, and other things that Butcher Box doesn’t have. I also just signed up for my first box from Wild Pastures, so I’ll definitely update this post after I’ve had a chance to try it! I will likely stick with either Wild Pastures or Butcher Box as our subscription box for basics, not both.
Regarding raw liver, I personally feel comfortable eating raw beef liver, from a farm I know and trust. That would include (but not limited to) US Wellness Meats, Buy Ranch Direct, Force of Nature.
OK BUT WHO HAS THE BEST PRICE?
I have actually done quite a bit of comparison on all of these websites on different cuts. The price differences was relatively marginal. Some farms had lower on some cuts but higher on others, and vice versa. I say shop around and get as much as you can from one place to avoid multiple shipping costs. This is why we tend to order form US Wellness a lot. We love the quality, and huge variety.
See below for a quick graphic that gives some quick facts/comparisons!
WRAPPING IT UP
It’s important to do your best. If you find yourself in a bind and need to buy lower quality from the store, NO STRESS! Cooking food at home is always better for your health than eating out because YOU control the ingredients.
And if budget is a concern, we implore you to reassess where you’re spending your money. Superfluous purchases and eating out add up quickly. We fed a family of four all organic and grass fed meals for a month on $700-800. If you’d like a meal guide for eating healthy on a budget, comment below to let us know!
- Consumer Reports’ Tests: Conventional Ground Beef Twice As Likely To Contain Superbugs as Sustainable Beef