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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Green Plan: Buying local beef

Part of my DD Ranch purchase
Many know how important good meat is to me. After all, I grew up in Nebraska on corn-fed beef so I'm a little bit of a beef snob but I put it on our green plan and then waited to run out of beef. We normally buy in bulk and freeze at Costco so when there was nothing more in the freezer, I ordered locally raised beef from DD Ranch through BendCSA.com (aka Agricultural Connections).

Agricultural Connections is a one stop shop for buying locally in our community and they have a year round CSA you can purchase on a as needed basis. This summer, instead of using the place in Eugene we get our CSA from, we're going to use AC and see how we do, though I'm a little worried that we won't have the same variety but it is good to be supporting local.

DD Ranch is known throughout Central Oregon as one of the best sources for organic grass fed beef and just as delicious pork products.  DD Ranch’s location 3 miles east of Terrebonne’s town center offers spectacular views of both Smith Rock State Park and the Cascade Mountain Range. I plan on picking a date and heading out for a tour with my son when time allows.
Our first meat purchase included: 2 T-bones, 2 cube steaks, 2 beef stew, 4 packages ground beef.

For Easter we decided to grill up the T-bones along with a side of asparagus and potatoes. The steaks had a different smell to them and folks on twitter were telling me to expect that but the more and more I think about it, I think something was wrong with them. I've had grass fed beef before and they didn't have a funny smell. And when we ate them, they totally had a funny taste.

A few days later, I made some burgers from the DD Ranch Beef and they were awesome! They had the right amount of fat and all I seasoned them with was salt and pepper. Later on in the week, I made beef stew and it was amazing. I think the T-bones were a fluke so I'm not going to hold that against anyone.

I plan on ordering more beef as we need it and also looking into some pork packages. I will say, it's nice to support local.

Why buy local sustainable beef? The farmers are your neighbors so if you have questions, they can answer them for you plus you're supporting the local economy and cutting down on shipping since the farmer is close to you.

If you're looking for a local farm or CSA, try LocalHarvest.org and find something near you.

4 comments:

  1. Agricultural Connections gets their veggies from Cinco Estrellas Farm in Junction City, OR (just outside Eugene). I was also considering dropping our regular CSA (Groundwork Organics) this year, until I realized they both come from the same place. And Groundwork Organics is about half the price (AC is $20 per week for an individual share, and we split the Groundworks box for $11 per week). I do get my milk and eggs from Agricultural Connections, however. They are fantastic!

    Weirdly enough, I've gotten great pork and beef off Craigslist from local ranchers and 4H kids. I've never eaten such great meat. And the local ranches are great too (Pine Mountain, D&D, Sand Lily, etc.). I sure wish we still had a true "meat market" in Bend that could supply their items regularly. Redmond Smokehouse is great (and they deliver to Bend), but just not as convenient.

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  2. I was going to give you the same tip about AC - veggies from a farm near Eugene. We've used AC for produce off season - usually when we need to stock up on beef! We've never had funny tasting DD Ranch beef, so I think you did get a fluke. Though we have found the steaks are not as "juicy" as the cheap stuff - leaner cows, I think.

    Someone else told me that Natures carries beef from all the local farms at the same prices as AC. I still need to check that out.

    On a separate note, I have been REALLY disappointed with Whole Foods when it comes to beef - they don't have anything grass fed. Urgh. I'll stick with Safeway for my groceries and AC or Natures for my beef!

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  3. I'm still looking to share a CSA with someone this summer/fall which is why I haven't signed up. The person I shared with last summer will be gone a lot so they don't want to do it.

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  4. Oh and like I said, the other DD meat was find and very yummy so I think it's a fluke.

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