From an environmental and ethical perspective, it’s so important to us to buy the best beef we can afford. For us, that looks like grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. Wondering about the best place to buy grass-fed meats either near you or online?
I’ll break down exactly what to look for & where to find the best grass-fed beef below.
Jump ahead to find exactly what you’re looking for:
Grass-fed vs. pasture-raised beef
What about organic meat?
5 Questions to Ask Your Farmer
Finding local grass-fed beef
Grass-fed beef in Washington State
Where to buy grass-fed beef in grocery stores
The best grass-fed beef online
Before we can get started, we need to talk about labels.
There’s so much jargon and marketing lingo that we need to know which terms are meaningful and which are a waste.
Don’t even bother with anything labeled “natural” or “naturally raised.” Those terms are not really regulated and can mean a variety of things.
Grass-fed vs pasture-raised
For a long time, I thought all grass-fed cows were pasture-raised. Seems like they should be, right?
If cows eat grass and grass grows in pastures, clearly, this cow is a pasture-raised cow, right? Nope!
This simply means that the cows ate grass. It’s a label related to what the cows were fed. Farmers may supplement the cows’ feed with grains or other foods, especially in the winter.
If you’re looking for meat from animals who only ate grass, you want grass-fed beef.
Please know that poultry and pigs are not suitable for being grass-fed, so don’t look for this label on them. It is more common for grazing animals like cows and bison.
Labels to look for:
- The words “grass-fed” or “100% grass-fed” as this term is overseen by federal regulators.
- American Grassfed Approved label
This refers to where the animal spent most of its time. Pasture-raised ensures a more normal and humane quality of life where the animals get to go outside, explore, and eat grasses right where they are grown.
The USDA requires farmers & growers to submit evidence that pasture-raised animals have access to pasture 120 days of the year to use that term. This means animals from some farms may spend only 1/3 of the year on pasture while others could be on grass for 365 days. Look for more specifics on the packaging & website or ask the farmer.
Pasture-raised is great for a variety of animals! Look for pasture-raised beef, poultry, and pork.
Labels to look for:
- Certified Humane (ensures humane living conditions, not specific pasture access)
- Animal Welfare Approved (ensures humane living conditions, not specific pasture access)
Learn more about what meat labels mean here.
Which is better: grass-fed or pasture-raised?
Personally, I prefer to buy beef that is both grass-fed and pasture-raised to ensure quality nutrition and that they had a decent quality of life.
For poultry and pigs, look for pasture-raised animals supplemented with organic or non-GMO feed.
What about organic meat?
Organic is one of the strongest labels as it requires evidence that the animals live on organic land (no synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, etc), have year-round access to the outdoors, are fed an organic diet (not necessarily only grass though), and are not given antibiotics.
Clearly, those are some excellent standards! They ensure safe living conditions, high-quality meat for consumers, and fewer chemicals on the land. A government agent has to actually set foot on the ground each year to maintain this label.
They’re also expensive and it can be prohibitive for farms to pay for this specific label. Because of that, I almost never buy organic meat.
You don’t have to pay for organic meat to get the same quality. Simply talk to your farmer. Read their website. Ask them some important questions!
6 Questions to Ask Your Farmer
- How many days per year do the animals have access to pasture?
- Are they ever fed any antibiotics?
- Do you ever give your animals hormones?
- Are they exclusively grass-fed?
- What do they eat in the winter?
- Do you use any pesticides or herbicides?
Where to Buy Grass-Fed & Pasture-Raised Beef
Finding Grass-Fed Beef Locally
Remember that grass-fed is only an appropriate term for grazing animals, like cows, bison, and lamb.
The best place to buy grass-fed beef is your local farmer. There are several ways to find grass-beef near you!
- Search for “grass-fed beef near me” to see local farms online
- Visit your local farmers market to see grass-fed farmers near you
- Post on social media asking for tips from friends & neighbors about grass-fed beef
- Search the EatWild grass-fed beef index
Before you buy, be sure to ask the farmer the questions above to make sure you understand what you’re getting.
Where to Buy Grass-Fed Beef in Washington State
As a proud resident of Western Washington, I am happy to share some of the farmers near me that offer grass-fed beef.
On my page Sustainable Kitsap, I share local farms & farmers markets on Kitsap Peninsula. There are several ways to find grass-fed and pasture-raised beef in Kitsap!
- Blackjack Valley Farm – Port Orchard
- Farmer George Meats – Port Orchard
- Heyday Farm – Bainbridge
- Walker Meadow Farm – Silverdale
- Silver Creek Angus– Eglon (pasture-raised, not grass-fed)
For Olympic Peninsula, we recommend working with Clark Farms out of Sequim. I’ve known them for years from managing a local farmers market and they sell absolutely delicious grass-fed beef. They also offer drops in Kitsap County!
We also enjoy the grass-fed beef from Shorts Family Farm in Chimacum.
For other regions of Washington, check the Eat Local First website.
Buy Grass-fed Beef in Stores
Many grocery stores sell grass-fed beef these days! It’s kind of amazing. Did you know Costco sells grass-fed beef? We’ve even seen it at Grocery Outlet!
But, here’s why I almost never buy grass-fed beef from stores.
- I cannot confirm the animals’ growing conditions (access to pasture).
- Tons and tons of grass-fed beef are imported from across the world.
As someone who tries to live sustainably, I know that beef has a high environmental cost. I cannot justify buying grass-fed beef imported from New Zealand when there’s a farmer down the road selling the same stuff for basically the same price.
Always check for grass-fed beef raised in your country, if not your region.
Wondering about the grass-fed beef from Costco? According to my research, that is raised by Pederson’s Farms out of Texas, so it is US grown.
The Best Place to Buy Grass-Fed Beef Online
If you aren’t able to find affordable grass-fed beef online or in your local stores, hit the internet! So many farms and farm co-ops have set up online grass-fed beef websites and deliver nationwide.
We’ve used a couple online meat delivery services to find the best meat out there.
Crowd Cow sells a wide variety of meats, prepared meals, and other foods that you can set up on a recurring subscription to build in automatic discounts. They sell organic grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and turkey, heirloom pork, and more!
Our experience with crowd cow
Crowd Cow was our first foray into online meat buying! My dad gave me a gift card for my birthday one year and we loved the meat so much we kept ordering!
It was very handy during the height of the stay-at-home orders in 2020. We were still able to get high-quality meat without leaving our home.
Our concerns about Crowd Cow
Although we really enjoyed the meat we ordered from Crowd Cow, they really focus on more than just grass-fed beef. They sell prepared meals, wagyu, desserts, etc.
For me, that’s a deterrent because they’re casting such a broad net. Yes, they sell good meat at competitive prices, but they aren’t focused on grass-fed, pasture-raised meats.
You really have to look through several pages to make sure the meat you are buying is actually what you think it is. It’s confusing (and frustrating!). Watch the clip below to see what I mean.
I was also crushed when I saw that some of the meat I ordered from Crowd Cow was imported internationally. That’s just not something I support personally.
After getting frustrated with Crowd Cow for sending us imported beef, we decided to research alternatives and found Wild Pastures!
Wild Pastures offers a recurring subscription meat delivery box that you can customize with beef, pork, and chicken.
You order a box of either 15 lbs or 25 lbs that you can customize any way you’d like in the ordering process. Add extras by using their “add-ons” or shop their sales!
We were so excited to see that Wild Pastures only sells American-raised grass-fed AND pasture-raised beef, chicken, and pork.
Even more exciting, they only partner with farms that use regenerative agriculture. One element of regenerative agriculture is rotational grazing. This means that the animals are allowed to feed in one field for a while and then rotated to another field to allow the first field time to recover and regrow. You will also see farms using cover crops to build soil health and prevent soil erosion.
Research shows that regenerative agriculture models can actually sequester carbon to help reverse climate change.
Normally, I can only find regenerative farming at my local farms.
Our experience with Wild Pastures
We placed an order with Wild Pastures to test them out and unfortunately, our package was lost in transit for a week. By the time it arrived, the meat had totally thawed and was not safe to eat.
It was absolutely beautiful meat and we were crushed we couldn’t eat it! Wild Pastures generously offered to reship at no cost, but we declined and scheduled a meat delivery with a local farmer instead.
We love Wild Pastures and if we were ordering grass-fed beef online, this is the company we would use. However, we don’t want to take any risks with the weather and would rather support farms local to us.
The Best Place to Buy Grass-Fed Beef Online
Wild Pastures makes the process way easier by selling grass-fed and pasture-raised and pasture-raised chicken and pork. Plus, they use regenerative farming practices and only offer American-raised meats!
Other options to buy grass-fed beef online
Butcher Box is one of the first meat delivery boxes available online. They sell a subscription box of grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, similar to Wild Pastures, but they also include poultry, pork, and seafood. You can customize your boxes to make sure you only get the cuts you like. They are also a Certified B Corp!
We have never tried Butcher Box, but will let you know if we do!
Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative sells completely grass-fed, pasture-raised beef grown on farms across the US using regenerative practices. They are very similar to Wild Pastures and are a great place to check!
We ordered from them once years ago and thought their proteins were absolutely delicious! Their prices do seem a little high for us, which has made it hard to order from them.
We regularly use Azure Standard for pantry staples, cleaning products, and plant starts. Did you know they also sell grass-fed beef?
You can buy individual cuts of grass-fed (or grass-fed and organic) beef or you can even get a 50 lb box of grass-fed beef from Holy Cow Better Beef!
The past few times I’ve looked into grass-fed beef with Azure Standard, their selection varies and they have different companies each time. They always have bulk boxes available, though, to help you get the most beef for the best price.
I first heard about Cook’s Venture when I tried their meats from Crowd Cow! At one point, Crowd Cow switched to Cook’s Venture chicken wings and we LOVED them!
Cook’s Venture sells pasture-raised poultry and pork. They also offer pasture-raised and grass-fed beef. All America-grown using regenerative practices!
Similar to Wild Pastures, you order a box of a specific size and then can customize exactly what goes in the box.
I really like that Cook’s Venture sells individual chicken cuts for pretty decent prices and that they even include flavored sausages! These sorts of ingredients just make cooking easier.
You can get $50 off your first order with Cook’s Venture with promo code AK50.
Wellness Meats has been selling high-quality meat online for years! They offer a variety of proteins like lamb, bison, pork, seafood, and, of course, grass-fed and pasture-raised beef.
Unlike many other companies, they also sell tallow, offal, bone broth in addition to their steaks and ground beef. Simply add the items to your cart to order or you can arrange a subscription for ongoing deliveries.
We haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but would definitely like to see what their products are like!
Is it possible to have a crush on a company? Because I’ve looked at the Force of Nature website several times now. Their logo and branding is just downright stunning, but obviously, that’s not really important.
Force of Nature only sells regeneratively grown proteins, including beef, elk, boar, venison, chicken, and more. They’re fanatical about regenerative farming for the quality o the meat, the beneficial lifestyle for the farmers, and the environmental benefits as well.
Plus, they don’t do free meat giveaways, discounts, or promo codes. They’re against the commodification of meat. They sell individual items or cases of 12.
They offer regular ground meats, but they also sell ancestral blends that include heart and liver to offer the nourishing benefits of these organs without affecting the taste.
Where do we get our grass-fed beef?
Well, clearly, we are spoiled for choices! Between our local farms, grocery stores, and online options, we could have chosen any of these!
Personally, we decided to commit to eating only locally farmed grass-fed beef as we could ensure there would never be meat lost in the mail, we could reduce our shipping miles (the farm we use is a 10-minute drive away), and we could support a small, local farm.
We were picking up meat from Clark Farms in Sequim at their Poulsbo drop-site, but we just placed an order for half a cow from Blackjack Valley Farms! We’ll be splitting it with our in-laws.
We’re thrilled about this option and can’t wait to talk to the butcher about saving all the bones, tallow, and (most of the) organs.
We’ll likely order from Force of Nature sometime simply to try out those ancestral meats! I love that they sell a 12-pack of any of their meats or cuts.
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Tell us – where do you get your grass-fed meat? What’s the going price per pound for ground beef? Are there any local farms in your area?