The source of meat products are becoming increasingly important for many people. Animal proteins may be easier to find than you think. Use this guide to learn where to buy grass fed beef locally.
What is local food?
A good place to start is to know what local food means to you. Is it next door, within your state, your country…? A recent survey of “locavores” classified local food as within 100 miles of their location. This is a good starting point. Keep in mind that true grass fed/grass finished beef will push this distance out for many people. That is until more local farmers change how they raise livestock.
Find where to buy grass fed beef locally
Get online and reach out to your community to find your meat!
Search for “grass fed grass finished beef near me”
Our friend “Mr. Google”, is the easiest place to begin. Your current location is virtually always known while using smart devices so a quick search of “meat farms near me” will likely produce several results. The more specific your search is, the better your results. If all you want is local beef then search that. If you demand organic, grass fed, grass finished, hormone free, etc. (here is why you should have grass finished) include this to narrow your results. Take some discretion to filter through ads and national brands to find actual farms.
Eatwild.com is a national directory of farms that sell locally. The search can be narrowed down by state, product, farms that ship, organic and other certifications. This site has a ton of great information such as grass fed benefits, food safety, benefits to the land and farmers, and more.
Minnesota Grown is similar to Eatwild, only limited to the state. Once again, many great resources; online directory, recipes, list of farmers markets, wholesale directory, events calendar, just to name a few.
Farm Bureau-Anything Grown
Farm Bureau is building up their site, AnythingGrown. By using your current location a map will be produced to show you local farms. This will be especially helpful for vacationers that want to sample the local tastes.
Check out your community
Do you have any local feed or farm supply stores? Ask around with owners and managers. They are likely to know a farmer that sells beef.
Farmers markets are popping up everywhere! Chances are there is a market near you, especially during the growing season.
Often times the exact product on your list may not be available. Visit with other vendors to locate the product you desire. Farmer’s markets are usually supported by a local foods coalition. Find out the organization to get connected with the local foods.
Here at Helstrom Farms we provide our region with easy online shopping and delivery to your home. If you want to get a first hand view of how your food is raised, reach out to us and schedule a farm tour. After visiting with us you can go home with a cooler full of beef purchased directly from the farm.
A grass fed label does not mean local
Several products in the market are labeled as grass fed beef. Chances are that these are not local, not even from this country. In fact 85% of grass fed beef sold in the U.S.A. is a product of a foreign country. Discount chains that are known to have cheap beef are most likely sourcing from overseas. Take note that some imported beef can still be labeled “product of the USA”!!
Local is good for the economy
Spending money in the local economy will keep the area vibrant and full of life.
If eating local is important to you, you are in luck. Food and farm transparency will continue to improve. Demand will keep pushing the market towards stronger local food networks.
I have to give thanks to all that support a neighboring farmer. It is your support that keeps small family farms and small towns alive.