San Francisco is a mash-up of hipsters and hippies, where Silicon Valley elite share the sidewalks with the rampant homeless, artists hone their craft, tourists jostle, activists chant, and tireless outdoor adventurers explore the nearby ocean, mountains, and forests. If you’re relocating to this magical city (or planning a visit!) you will want to know the lay of the land food-wise as soon as possible, and so I took the time to map where San Francisco grass-fed beef can be sourced.
Leave me a comment below if you know somewhere to eat/buy San Francisco grass-fed beef that I should add to the list. Please and thank you! 🙌
But in addition (prior?) to where to buy it, what’s the grass-fed beef bigger picture? What is it, and why does it matter? The answer to the first question what is it is not so simple as one might think (a fact unscrupulous suppliers exploit at the expense of consumers). On a stroll through your market or grocery store, you might notice that if the beef’s label says “grass-fed”, it’s probably more expensive than your standard package of meat. But the designation may mean absolutely nothing.
Beware that the term isn’t tightly regulated by the United States government, and therefore cryptic and possibly deceitful. The USDA does not have an official definition of the term “grass-fed”… which means the phrase is open to interpretation.
If you want to ensure that you’re not falling victim to a feel-good marketing ploy:
- The absolute best tactic is to find a rancher locally who can supply you with meat, and ask directly about his/her operation. Take a tour of their ranch if necessary (or for enjoyment).
- For United States meat, the American Grassfed Association (AGA) has published standards with which they certify their meat. If you can source AGA product, you’ll at least know the definition to which it adheres.
- Buy your meat online. For United States readers, the ranch I primarily recommend is Stemple Creek, because of their participation in regenerative agriculture and their achievement of fatty grass-fed beef… this is quite an accomplishment, and their product is totally unlike the tough, tasteless meat that sometimes gives grass-fed a bad name.
Why does it matter is also important to understand, and there are many factors at play. Properly-managed grassland for pasture means hundreds of plant and animals species sustaining a closed-loop and functional ecosystem. Improperly managed beef production means environmental destruction and unchecked pollution. Herbivores have a role to play in the ecosystem at such places as Stemple Creek, mentioned above, where the question of how effectively pasture can capture carbon is being explored (piloted by the Marin Carbon Project). A worthy inter-species experiment!
Another factor at play are the grass-fed beef health benefits for humans. Nutritionally, grass-fed beef comes out ahead when compared to grain-fed beef, according to a summary in the Nutrition Journal reviewing three decades of research.
- Beef from grass-fed animals has higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and grass-fed beef also offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants.
- The study found that meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes.
Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef, albeit with variable impacts on overall palatability.
While the levels of omega-3 in grass-fed beef may not compare to the levels of omega-3 in fish—for example—if you eat red meat regularly, then the benefit adds up over months and years.
Lastly, everyone loves the idea of cattle grazing freely in fields beneath sunshine and open sky. Compare the sight of green hillsides to the pictures of muddy, barren feedlots. It’s no surprise that from an animal welfare perspective, grazing cattle are commonly considered happier than feedlot cattle. Also, since animals grow faster on grain, there’s financial incentive for ranchers to over-feed in order to bring the animal to market faster, yet feeding grain to a ruminant, whose digestive system is fine-tuned for grass, results in the pH in the animal’s system becoming too acidic… leading to all kinds of health problems.
Now that you have an introduction to what grass-fed beef is, why it matters and where to buy it, let’s DO A RECIPE. 😍 😍 😍 I’ve created a recipe for Meat Cake before, so why not Meat Pie? Although really this is just meatloaf, done up fancy.
When I teased the Meat Pie on Instagram yesterday, I showed the photo I took of it just before putting it in the oven. Shows the latticework really nicely, doesn’t it?
As it bakes, the Meat Pie will render its fat and shrink away from the pie plate/pan sides. I chose to pour off the fat, transfer it to a serving plate, arrange fresh baby greens around its perimeter and garnish it with fresh herbs.
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 lb ground lamb
- 1 cup almond flour or almond meal
- 1/4 cup diced mushrooms
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk (I used hemp milk)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- A pack of bacon slices, baby salad greens, fresh herbs
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. In a large bowl, combine the first thirteen ingredients. Mix together with your hands until thoroughly combined.
- Grease a pie plat or pan, then load the meat mix into it. Smooth the top, then decorate with bacon in a bacon weave (this is a good basic tutorial but do not cut the bacon in half, simply trim any long bits hanging over the sides of the pie plate/pan and tuck them under the beef mix).
- Bake in the preheated oven for approx 50 minutes, or until the bacon is browned and the meat underneath is firm. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then drain off the fat. Transfer the meat pie to a serving plate, arrange baby salad greens around it, and top with fresh herbs and freshly-ground black pepper.