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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago

Meat-eating philosophy


I posed these questions via e-mail to the list. Send your answers out to the group list-serv, or add them here. Responses are in chronological order, so add to bottom.


  • Should we set a distance limit for how far our meat has to travel to get to us?
  • Who knows (and cares) about the difference between grassfed vs. grainfed, and grass-finished vs. grain-finished animals?
  • What are you all hoping to get out of this? Better meat? cheaper meat? Happiness from helping a small, sustainable rancher? Knowledge that your meat has been humanely raised and slaughtered?


Steve G:


1) I am not concerned about the distance our meat needs to travel.

2) From what I read I believe that grassfed is better for me

nutritionally and better environmentally (and better for the cow.)

However, I have not made an exhaustive study. I prefer grassfed but

could be convinced that some other path is okay too. I do believe that

the Western Grasslands beef I get at the Bowl tastes much better than

most of the other beef I could buy. How much of that is a placebo

effect, I do not know.

3) I am looking for better meat, better living conditions for animals I

am going to consume and helping a local rancher who uses sustainable



Bruce C:


In answer to Bonnie's questions, I'd prefer that the meat comes from

the SF Bay Area, or more precisely, within a 150 mile or so radius of

SF. I think there are plenty of ranchers/farmers within this vicinty

that would qualify. I'm not sure what you meant, Bonnie, about knowing

the difference between grass-fed-finished and grain-finished animals?

Niman Ranch for example finishes their beef on grain and it has the

distinct "corn-fed" flavor that is familiar to most beef eaters. I

love Niman Ranch rib eyes and new yorks. But I usually buy

grass-finished beef because I know the ranchers that I purchase it

from (I can contact some ranchers if need be). My main interest in the

Meat CSA is number one, to see how it all works (from a food writers

point of view), and for the convenience of having meat at my disposal

instead of relying on a weekly trip to a farmers market to purchase

everything. I'm just kind of assuming that we'll be supporting small

ranchers and farmers in the process, and that any animal slaughtered

will not be exposed to the CAFO killing process.




I'm very new to the whole CSA concept. I decided to join this group because I like the idea of supporting local ranchers and getting meat that I can "trust".


It doesn't matter to me how far the meat has to travel

I don't know enough about grass fed vs grain fed to make an informed decision so I'll leave that up to the rest of the group.

Cheaper meat would be nice however, I'm more concerned with where it came from, how it was raised, and how it was slaughtered and packaged.


Jennifer L:




happy to be here. here are my answers:


  • i do care how far our meat has to travel. with so many sustainable, humane and varying-degrees-of-grassfed ranches so close to the bay area, i think that we could impose a distance limit without limiting our choices too much, and that it would make sense to do so for something we're talking about having delivered weekly (fossil fuels, environment, eating locally, etc). 100 miles is pretty good, i think.


  • i think that grassfed meat beef tastes better, i know that the fat therein is better for the body, and i'd be most interested in completely pasture-fed animals for these and other reasons--i think that a pasture-fed animal has a better life, too.


  • i want better meat! cheaper would be great too, but i don't necessarily expect it. helping a small, sustainable rancher, yes! knowledge that my meat has been humanely raised and slaughtered, absolutely.


Chick W:


Grassfed, humane, close poximity and cheaper are all nice, but my most important

concern is the salubriousness of the meat, fowl and vegetables(if we should decide to do veges). Knowing as much as we can about the ranchers and farmers and the processes they use to grow, terminate and transport products for us will be the major factor in determining this. I applaud you all for taking the time and effort to make our food safer and look forward to great eating. When are we going to have our first pot luck?


Sarah S


hi all-


So excited to be part of this burgeoning Meat CSA!


here are my answers, plus one question:


  • I do care how far our meat has to travel, but it is not my top concern (aren't CSAs almost by definition supporting a more local economy?). I think within 100 miles is as good a number as any. I don't think we should live and die by any particular number though, because what if a closer rancher would be willing to do more frequent deliveries (no frozen, yay), then the closer rancher could easily end up driving many more miles than a more distant rancher who makes less frequent deliveries. Also if the rancher incorporates their delivery to us with a delivery they are already making, the net increase in miles driven is very small (trip-linking); so I'd also support a rancher that is farther if they are linking trips. can y'all tell I'm a transportation planner in my day job?


  • I prefer grassfed meat, and meat that meets humane standards (still evolving I believe, looking forward to learning more about this). I still need to educate myself a bit more to the tradeoffs involved in these decisions.


  • cost is an issue, but not the dominant issue for me. I expect to pay more for quality meat that I can feel good about eating. I have been eating only S/O/L/and/or E meats since January 2006...before that I was vegetarian for 8 years. But I hope through our bulk purchasing I'll pay a little less than I do when I buy on my own from highland hills farm at the berkeley farmer's market, or when I buy at whole paycheck (ahem, whole foods).


  • and for my question:


Does it make sense to have multiple meat CSAs, based on geography? I am car-free and travel mostly by bike, foot, and public transit. As such, having convenient, pick-up locations that work with my small radius of travel (between downtown berkeley and downtown oakland).

I don't think we would have any trouble recruiting more folks (I know I could bring in at least 3-5 more people on my own, who live in my neighborhood). Or, maybe some of us would be interested in contracting with a zero pollution cargo delivery service like Pedal Express and have our meat delivered direct to our doorstep? I know they do deliveries for a veggie CSA in the berkeley area. for more information.


Cathy G:


I concur with a number of things that people have already posted: that we should be able to find a local rancher, within 100-150 miles, to reduce the use of fossil fuel for transport and to support a smaller farmer and a local economy. To us, it is important to have grass-fed, pastured meat--for the nutritional difference, the happiness of the animals, and the health of the land. We are looking forward to the convenience of the delivery, to cut down on our trips to butchers with organic, grass and pasture-fed meat and to have fresher, tastier, healthier dinner (we've actually had some spotty experiences from Whole Foods' butcher.) With any luck, our CSA will also have the effect of reducing the price a bit, which if many of us are used to spending $$ at Whole Foods shouldn't be too hard to achieve!


Looking forward to all of this and to meeting many of you,


Rebecca W:


Great to hear from everyone. Here's my two cents:


I'd like the animals to be grassfed, sustainably raised, and humanely slaughtered. I'd also like to limit our suppliers to a reasonable distance from the Bay Area (100-150 miles? closer?), as one of my goals is to reduce the amount of fossil fuels involved in my food intake.


In terms of cost, I'm certainly not expecting cheap meat, but it would be nice if we could keep the price less than (or at least competitive with) similar high-quality meat purveyors (e.g, Cafe Rouge).


Looking forward to getting that first box!


Marcia B:


- Ideally, it would be great to support the local economy (while

guaranteeing more green spaces in our area), and to cut on burning fuel &

polution as much as possible. It seems to me that we have a few supplier

options within this range, and if that is true then I vote that we stick to

a 100 to 150 mile distance.


- My personal preference is for grass fed and finished. Reasons are my

personal conviction that grass fed is nutritionally superior, and nostalgia-

I grew up in South America (Brasil) eating grass-fed, aged meat, and I think

it is the best!


- I am hoping to get great-tasting meat, from animals that were raised with

as much respect as possible to their natural ways (no CAFOs), and

slaugthered without cruelty or pain. As for prices, paying less than I do

now wasn't a driver for me to join this effort.


I will check the wiki (sorry, I am bit behind) and see what I could help





1. Not too concerned about localization, and certainly would never set a strict range (e.g. 100 miles - what if we find the best beef on the planet 101 miles away?), but I think that logistically it would make things easier for the farm to be close, and there is so much quality available locally that I don't see much reason to look very far outside our area.


2. I'm open to anything here as well, as long as it tastes good. For beef, I'm more interested in marbling and depth of flavor, so that may put me in the grain camp, although I'm certainly against the abuses of industrial farms. I'd also like to put in a vote for dry-aged beef, as I think that dry-aging really enhances the flavor of beef regardless of feed. For lamb I do prefer grassfed as I believe it tends to have more characteristic "lamby" flavor. For pork I'm most interested in the heritage breeds (and high quality), regardless of feed. For poultry I prefer organic/free range.


3. I'm primarily hoping to get better meat, both in terms of flavor and safety/traceability (things like E. Coli and BSE concern me, especially since I like my meat rare). I'd also love to be able to get a wider variety of meat than my grocery store carries - lamb's breasts and neck, pork jowls and bellies, beef cheeks and heart, etc. Not just offal, per se, but also value cuts like cross rib roasts, flatiron steaks, etc. It would be nice to feel like we were taking some of the cuts of meat that don't move as fast as filets and rib-eyes. To me this is one of the best ways to promote sustainability.


Jenn S:


I'm a protein addict. I wish I could say I eat healthy, sustainable, hormone-free, free-range, organically fed meat, but I don't. Not very often, at least. I'd like to, though, which is why I'm giving Bonnie's CSA idea a try.


Should we set a distance limit for how far our meat has to travel to

get to us?


  • I'm all for it, but will leave this to those better informed on the



Who knows (and cares) about the difference between grassfed vs.

grainfed, and grass-finished vs. grain-finished animals?


  • Very limited knowledge of these things.


What are you all hoping to get out of this? Better meat? cheaper

meat? Happiness from helping a small, sustainable rancher? Knowledge

that your meat has been humanely raised and slaughtered?


Convenience: I don't own a car and there are no decent grocery stores

in my neighborhood. If I want good meat, I currently have to rent

through city car share and drive somewhere. This strikes me as lame.

So convenient, regular access to really good meat is probably my top wish.


Freezer Burn: If there was some way for the meat to be frozen and

vacuum sealed so that it would still taste fresh after defrosting,

that would also be great, because it's hard to predict when my husband

and I will be cooking at home.


Cost: It's gotta be below Whole Food prices for it to work for me. I'm

a writer, and frankly think healthy food needs to be affordable so

that everyone who wants it can have it.


Tasty Ethics: Just knowing my meat has been raised and slaughtered

humanely makes it taste better in my mind. Supporting the ranchers

that do this will encourage others to follow suit.


Health: I plan on being a very healthy, very active, very senior

senior citizen one day. To this end I want to feed my body the best

stuff available, whether it's vodka or pork chops.


Environment: Gotta protect it! This seems like a great way to turn an

everyday consumer choice into a solution that will help the planet

and, hopefully, inspire others to follow suit.


George Bush: Hate him! Would like to club him with a frozen CSA lamb





I would definitely prefer to find a local grower if at all possible.


I am only interested in purely grass-fed meat.


My interest is in safer meat (ie. no mad cow), which is why I want to

stick with grass-fed. I also feel strongly about humanely raised ans

slaughtered meat.


Josh B:


Hi everyone, just to add my 2 cents re: the questions, my primary motivation is eating sustainable, environmentally friendly food. Happily when that is meat it generally means organic, with happier animals slaughtered in a humane way. So I would support making our meat choices taking as many environmental factors into consideration as possible (which is only an echo of what others have said so far I think...); distance traveled to market is among those, but there are others we could brainstorm about as well. I've been quasi-vegetarian (eating wild meat, buffalo, and sustainable seafood) for a couple of years now based on environmental factors, but it will be great to get meat knowing exactly where its coming from, and knowing its sustainable/organic!


    • Amanda & Alex


Hi there, we're latecomers to the list, so in brief:


How far the meat must travel is definitely important to us -- the closer the better, both from an environmental point of view; in terms of the freshness of the food; to support local agriculture; and because we love the idea of showing our kids where our food comes from (one of the reasons we chose to join our fruit/veg CSA was because we can visit the farm our food comes from with our children). We are committed to only eating humanely raised and slaughtered meat, and have the sense that purely grass-fed animals lead a happier, healthier life. But if someone can show us that's not the case, we're willing to listen. As for cost, we won't complain if it's cheaper, but we don't expect it to be!





Hello everybody


1) Yes, we should definitely set distance limits, I would say 100-150 miles top, especially if the idea is that we do not want it frozen. Also from an environmental standpoint, it is better to purvey locally.

2) I care and I generaly prefer grassfed (we have been eating mostly that for close to 2 years)

3) Well we already buy very good meat (Prather Ranch, Marin Sun, etc), so cheaper is certainly an incentive for us, definitely the part where we help sustain local, small farmers, however most of all, I am hoping to get the variety of cuts and whole pieces that I seem to have trouble obtaining even from smaller producers.





Hi everyone,


1. We are concerned about how far the meat travels and would like to consume the minimal amount of fossil fuels. We would like the meat to come from within 100-150 miles of SF; The closer, the better.


2. We would like our meat to be grass-fed.


3. We like happy meat with access to the outdoors. We are looking for meat that has been humanely raised and slaughtered and to support a local rancher who practices sustainable methods with good animal husbandry. Cheaper would be an added bonus for this grad student.



Marlena and Steve


Yum meat meat meat :) Jen L got us involved...we want to eat locally and deliciously. I'm interested in learning more about the butchering process and cuts of meat (hence the committee we signed up for) and would also like to try a variety of cuts and offal one can't get in the stores...

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