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For about a year now, I’ve been on the hunt for an online company that sells grass-fed, grass-finished, AFFORDABLE beef. We haven’t had the freezer capacity to hold bulk amounts of beef, so finding a company to order from online until we can support our local farmers again is the simplest solution right now.
My goal was to find a company with our food values that wouldn’t take most of our food budget, too.
Also (while I was aiming for the stars), I wanted to find a company that would sell the cuts of beef that often get thrown away (like offal, soup bones, and beef fat). I’m not a big fan of getting locked into a subscription plan either, so I assigned extra brownie points for that feature.
But I couldn’t find anyone like this!
I combed the internet with a fine-tooth comb. There were a few farms selling online, and their prices were reasonable, but the selection was lacking, and some of the companies tacked on costly shipping charges.
I was able to find one or two small farms that offered a few of the basics I needed (like hamburger and roasts), and was about to place an order with one of those options, when an email came out of NOWHERE from a company called FarmFoods.
Surprised I hadn’t heard of them, I clicked into their website, and couldn’t believe my eyes!
They checked all of the boxes on my wish list:
✔ Grass-fed, grass-finished beef
✔ Ground beef under $7 per lb
✔ Beef organs available (heart, tongue, oxtail, etc)
✔ Beef fat and marrow bones
✔ Larger package options (8th or 16th of beef available)
✔ Reasonable shipping rates (FREE for orders of 10+ lbs)
✔ Ships anywhere in the US
I wondered how I could have missed them in my search!
Of course I wanted to place an order, so I touched base with the owners (Johan and Janna) and asked them where they’d been all my life. ? The business was only a few months old at that point, and as I learned more about their values and goals, I knew this was the type of company we wanted to purchase our meats from.
Johan and Janna saw a gaping hole that needed to be filled in the online marketplace, and they wanted to make a way for humanely raised, flavorful, affordable meats to get into the hands of consumers across the US. One of their main goals is to flip the model of the current meat industry on its head, removing the impersonal, questionable tactics from the picture.
And that’s just what they’ve done. When we order from FarmFoods, the purchasing power is COMPLETELY in our hands. In fact, I’ve never seen this done online before – when you place your order for each cut of beef, you pick which farm you want your meat to come from!
For example, if they have ground beef available from 3 of their farm partners, you get to choose which farmer’s ground beef will arrive on your doorstep. If you’d like to see what cuts are available from a particular farm, you can also sort by farm on their “Our Farms” page.
The transparency runs deep, with details on where the cattle are raised, exactly what they are fed, and if they give hormones or antibiotics (which none of the beef farms do).
Though they don’t give a guarantee that pesticides are avoided on the pastures of their partner farmers, most of the cattle are roaming on huge, open pasture grounds that are very remote. Much of the land can only be accessed by foot or on horseback, so they move the cattle using traditional means (dogs and horses).
Knowing the farmer’s practices, I’m comfortable with the lack of an organic label. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, then this probably isn’t a company you’d want to order meat from. Since the USDA’s organic definitions are very tight and narrow, their labeling model tends to cater to the industrial-sized mega farms, squeezing out the smaller-scale farmers.
Avoiding the USDA’s label allows the smaller farms to skirt around those issues while still using sustainable practices, but the brunt of educating the consumer falls squarely on their own shoulders. Here’s an interesting thesis from back in 2007 that delves into that topic much deeper.
Since I know how the cattle is being handled and raised, that organic label becomes moot point for me. Not being labeled “USDA organic” also saves the farm a lot of money, and that savings gets passed down to me as the buyer. Though the price isn’t the biggest driving factor in our choice of meat (if it was, we’d stick to conventional meats and not be having this conversation ?), it is definitely an added perk for our budget.
When I placed my first order, I needed ground beef and a beef tongue. I ordered the 15-lb ground beef package, and a 2.5 – 3 lb beef tongue.
This put my order well over the 10 lb mark for free shipping.
All orders are shipped on either the Monday or Tuesday after order placement. I put my order in on a Thursday, and it shipped the following Monday.
On Thursday, I got an email saying it was out for delivery.
Early afternoon, a styrofoam cooler was plopped at the front door. Since I had an appointment to run to, I pulled it inside and left everything in the packaging for several hours. I knew it had enough dry ice inside to stay frozen for a couple more days, so a few more hours wouldn’t hurt it.
Sure enough, when I got back home and had time to open it up, there was plenty of life left in the dry ice, which was in a big, foil bag laying across the top of the meat. The meat was rock solid!
There were several papers in the top – a page on how to care for the frozen meat (I didn’t get a close-up pic of it), a thank-you letter from Johan and Janna (see below),
and some printed info about their partner farms that supply the meat to FarmFoods:
I love how specific they are with what the cattle are fed! ? Check out what the cattle eat at Howard Farm:
All of the packages were vacuum-sealed plastic, and each pound of ground beef that came in my cooler weighed slightly *more* than a pound.
Here’s a short video of opening up the cooler:
The tongue I ordered came from Humboldt Farm, and it cooked up very nicely in the Instant Pot.
Our ground beef was sourced from Cunningham Ranch, and it’s been just what we would expect – flavorful and delicious!
They also offer steaks, roasts, stew meat, ribs, heart, liver, oxtail, kidney, cheeks, tendon, beef fat, soup bones – and “grass fed beef snack sticks” were just added several weeks ago! We’ll be trying out those beef sticks with our next order.
As time goes on, Johan and Janna plan to make more sustainably raised meats available through their website. They’ve already added a pork farmer, and I’ve heard there are additional meat options coming down the pike. ?