Meat… oh, the controversy. You love it or you hate it, but I’m not here for debates.
Whether you eat meat or not, I love you just the same. It’s all a personal choice for you to decide what makes you feel great and allows you to sleep at night.
Personally, I do eat meat, but I like vegetarian fare too (hey I’m in India right now, which has the world’s largest veggie population – 400 million of ’em! Lovin’ it!).
Despite what… well, about half the health gurus on the internet say, I don’t think meat is necessarily a health villain – I think it has many good, nutrient dense, health virtues when sourced from an animal that was raised kindly and fed its proper diet (sans all the hormones and antibiotics). But that’s just my opinion 😉
If you share this opinion and want to eat meat, but don’t want to eat unhappy animals from conventional farms (in which case I don’t blame you – it’s not so good for the welfare of animals, the environment, or your health), check out my tips on how to get meat that doesn’t suck:
1. If Possible, Get a Freezer!
If it is possible for you and your living situation, think about getting a chest freezer, even a little wee one. Having more space than your cramped fridge freezer makes the possibilities of you eating good meat WAY higher since you will actually have somewhere to store it. In many cases, getting good meat isn’t as easy as just popping over to the grocery store, so you may need to buy in bulk and freeze the back ups.
We got one a year or two ago, and it’s been so, so good. I got it for 80 bucks on Craigslist.
2. Get to the Farmer’s Market
If your area has a farmer’s market, you can often buy awesome, quality meat at a semi-convenience (hah you gotta make sure you actually get to the market each week!). I often buy whole chickens from a local farmer at the farmer’s market in town.
3. Buy in Bulk Direct from a Farmer
This is probably the most cost efficient way to get a lot of really good quality meat. But you may need that freezer, and you will also have to weather an upfront payment. If that sounds okay, try googling, or asking around in your local area to see if there are farms nearby that raise animals for sale in bulk. Or check out eatwild.com for recommendations.
Depending on what’s available to you, you might be able to find farmers who sell small bulk packages, and may even deliver it to your door. But you might not have that luxury, and may only find farmers that will sell half the animal, or a fourth.
Last year Luke and I bought a side of beef (aka half a cow) from an organic grass fed farm on Vancouver Island and it was so, so delicious and healthy, and lasted us more than a year (eating it very regularly). We just got another one from a local farm.
It really is a lot of meat though. You can always find other people to go in on the animal with you – everyone shares the cost and gets their share. It’s called cow-pooling. There might already be established buying clubs in your area doing this that you can get in on.
If you want to know more, I wrote an article some time ago about all the ins and outs of how to buy grass fed beef in bulk.
4. Local Butchers
Sometimes local butchers (either in their own shop or at a supermarket) have the good meat you want on hand, but it’s pretty rare. And it’s usually very expensive. However, they might be able to order it for you, but again, you probably have to buy in bulk and freeze the rest.
US Wellness Meats seems to be the biggest supplier of good meat online, and definitely with the most diverse offerings. Just order whatever you want, and they’ll send it right to your door (and no need to order in bulk!). Sadly not available to us Non-Americans.
6. Hunting and Fishing
My Dad has always hunted and fished, and I grew up eating moose and deer. You can’t get any more free range and organic than that. So if you hunt or fish, or know a hunter or fisherman that you can get meat from, there you go.
As for whether I could go hunting myself – well, I know I’m hypocritical.. but I don’t know. I used to like to think that I was tough, and since I ate meat, that I should be able to do the deed.
Until, like, the one day in my life that I went fishing, and to my surprise, actually caught a fish and had to put it out of its misery. I did it but it totally freaked me out! … I suppose these things come with practice. At least he was delicious.
If you eat good quality, ethically raised meat, where do you get it from?