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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Straight from the Ranch, Part 1: Meat CSAs & Buying Networks

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 8:01 AM

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Inspired by health-food notions, the "locavore" movement,

Michael Pollan, or a simple desire to save money, these days lots of

people are looking to buy their meat as whole animals, in bulk, and/or

direct from the producers. Buying networks and meat CSAs are two approaches:

Marin Sun Farms (Point

Reyes Station, CA, 415-663-8997 x203): Following the same

community-supported agriculture model used by many local farms, members

of Marin Sun's Meat Club CSA pay in advance for monthly assortments of

the farm's grass-fed, organic beef, lamb, mutton, goat, pork, veal,

chicken, and duck. They offer ten different packages of from 5 to 24

pounds, and the cost varies from $30 to $198 a month, paid 6 or 12

monthes in advance. They say this saves members up to 20% compared with

purchasing the same products at their shop or farmers market stands.

Bay Area Meat CSA: This network of local meat lovers, sponsored by Slow Food Berkeley, organizes group purchases from local ranchers. Buying groups are organized by neighborhood; there are active groups in the Castro/Mission, Lower Haight, and Potrero. Check out their Web site for more info.

Clark Summit Farm (Tomales, CA, 707-876-3516): This farm's Meat Club is similar to Marin Sun's. You pay three months in advance for two or three boxes of 10 or 15 pounds of assorted beef, pork, chicken, and eggs. The program is currently full, but you can get on their waiting list.

Coming in part 2: whole beasts, quarters of beef, and other bulk-purchase options.

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Robert Lauriston

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