I bought a cow!!

Well...not exactly. I actually bought 1 share of a cow through the Bay Area Meat CSA.

{image from here}

I have been wanting to find a place to purchase local, grass fed, hormone-free, humanly treated beef for a while now. I didn't know where to even start my search. But, a few weeks ago I stumbled across the Bay Area Meat CSA website. I joined the message boards for San Francisco and discovered that lots of people are doing this already and I didn't even have to do much investigating on my own. Today I saw that one of the members was organizing a purchase so I jumped right on it and placed my order.

The way animals are treated, mass produced and slaughtered in the meat industry has been weighing on my mind for quite a while and I wanted to do something about it in my household. I have friends who feel the same way as I do and decided to go vegetarian. But, for me that wasn't an option. I love meat way to much and I think H would die without juicy steaks in his life. I know I cant control the mega huge meat industry in general but if I purchase the product I eat in a more responsible way and support ranchers who are doing the right thing then its a start. Plus, I know what im feeding my family and where it comes from and that makes me feel really good.

What is a meat CSA?

Meat CSA is a network of people who cooperate to buy meat directly from local ranchers. It's the most cost-effective way to buy good, healthy, local meat and it's an opportunity to connect with the ranchers and processors whose work feeds us

What do you get when you purchase a share?

You can buy different sizes of shares. Im doing 1 share which is = to 20 lbs. There are 9 shares to half a cow, 19 shares to a full cow.

What do you get in a share?

A 20 lb share contains 10 lb ground beef, about 5 lbs of braising meat (for ex. brisket, bottom round, chuck roast), 3 lb of grill and slice steaks (such as sirloin tip, skirt steak, flank, tritip), and 1.9 lbs of strip/ribeye/filet

How much is a share?

The prices can vary slightly depending on where you are getting the meat from. The one I am purchasing is $120. I figure this is about a 2 - 3 month supply of meat for our household. So about $40-50 per month which is about what I would pay if I purchased my meat from the supermarket.

All the meat comes trimmed, portioned, vacuum packed, labeled and frozen straight from the rancher.

Where does the meat come from?

There are many different ranches throughout the Bay Area (find them here). The beef I am getting is from the organic herd at Prather Ranch in Siskiyou County, CA .

{from their website}

The Prather Ranch has become a stellar example of a self-sustaining agricultural operation that promotes strong environmental philosophies, holistic management practices and the humane treatment of livestock. Those at the ranch understand that the first step is to be good stewards of the land, which includes caring for the soil, the water, the air, the cattle and those who work the land. Food safety and a superior tasting product is the primary goal of the ranch.

- The unique “Closed Herd” status ensures that our animals are the healthiest, most documented cattle you can find. No new animals have been added to the herd since the early 1990’s

-The majority of the feed fed to the cattle is raised on the Prather Ranch.The ranch raises all of its own hay, which is chopped and mixed with barley and organic rice for their feed ration

-The beef is carefully hand-cut by our artisan meat processors in our own USDA inspected facility

And my favorite part

-Prather Ranch is committed to food safety issues by testing for e.coli three times more frequently than required by the USDA and has never had a positive test for e.coli to date.

Here are some more reasons why buying directly from the rancher is so great.

I have a feeling that some of you are thinking im a total wack-a-do for doing this. Which is totally OK. I don't mind if you think im crazy. I'll invite you over for a steak and THEN you can tell me if im still nuts.

Later down the road I will look into chicken and pork too. For now I want to see how this first purchase works out for us. I'll keep you posted!!


  1. How awesome!! That's really great! If I ate meat, I'd totally be inspired to do this too. :)

  2. I ran across your website through some other Nesties... GREAT menu options for the fam!! I know this post is over a year old but wanted to see how this arrangement worked for you. I've always wanted to look into something similar like this and would love to hear how it worked out and if you're still using it.