Posted: February 17, 2014 in bacon, beef, Carnivore!, chicken, Food, lamb, pork, potatoes, scallops, seafood, shrimp, wine
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I’ve been asked to list my sources for the organic, pastured, wild-caught or grass-fed foods I use in my recipes. I’ve had many successes as well as many failures with purveyors of foods over the years, but I’ve been able to find a handful of websites that deliver what they promise.

Of course, I support my local farmers. And if they’ve got the product I’m looking for, I will buy from them first. But the convenience of ordering from home is unbeatable…and sometimes you don’t live anywhere near a farm that can supply you with what you’re looking for.

My philosophy is simple: I will pay top dollar if the quality is there. I would rather eat exceptional quality meat and seafood rarely than antibiotic-laced, hormone-injected crap every day.

When it comes to seafood, I buy wild-caught (line-caught in the case of fish) American products. I’m OK with some farmed fish, like USA catfish and trout, which are of high quality. I buy Pacific cod, not Atlantic cod, which has been depleted in its numbers. I don’t buy orange roughy or Chilean sea bass because of overfishing. Same with swordfish unless it’s local and line-caught. I never buy farmed shrimp from Asia or South America, where there are no rules about what they feed them and how badly they crowd them in nets. I don’t buy Atlantic salmon, which is farmed and comes from Norway, Canada or South America. I buy wild-caught Alaskan salmon and halibut. Farmed oysters and mussels are fine, because their habitat is about the same as in the wild, and we have great sources for them here in Rhode Island.

It’s expensive to eat well. My family is worth it. I cut corners elsewhere.

TALLGRASS Owned by TV journalist Bill Curtis, they sell a variety of 100% grass-fed beef steaks, burgers and dogs. Just recently, they started selling my favorite cut: the porterhouse. But more than anything, this is my go-to website for grass-fed hamburger. They sell them in 1 lb. bricks, and I’ll buy about 24 lbs. at a time. I prefer the bricks over the pre-formed burger patties, because I use them for meatballs and tacos…not just burgers. Best burger I’ve had.

pork A great website for Berkshire heritage pork. This is not the pale, flavorless stuff you get in a supermarket. Berkshire pork is known in Japan as Kurobuta pork, and is considered the “Kobe” of pork. Excellent quality, beautifully marbled fat, and delicious. I’ve bought the pork chops, the ribs, pork loin and the pork belly, and none of them has disappointed. Excellent service.

salmon If you’re looking for incredible wild-caught Alaskan seafood, this is the site. Wild salmon, tuna and shellfish. Frozen right after it’s caught. Rare treats like wild Pacific spot prawns, some of the tastiest shrimp you’ll ever eat. Hard-to-find organic grass-fed Wagyu beef. (Wagyu is American Kobe beef.) Without a doubt, some of the best chicken I have ever had in my life comes from this family run farm in Tennessee. Delicious not-too-big (about 4 lb.) birds. And their chicken wings are the best ever–period. No scrawny wings here: they come with breast meat attached, making them a real treat. They also sell grass-fed beef, lamb, pork, organic products and more. I’ve tried their other products, but for me, it’s all about the chicken. If you’re in Tennessee or Georgia, they have many pick-up locations to choose from. I go the mail-order route, and I think I might be their only online customer! But their service is top-notch. My trusted go-to place for any Cajun food you could want, from Turduckens (excellent quality) to alligator sausage, to live crawfish (in season.) This is where I get all of my wild-caught American gulf shrimp. Even with shipping costs, their prices are so much better than any local seafood store. Excellent service. Burgers’ Smokehouse has been around since 1952 and they’ve got it down to a science. You won’t find grass-fed or organic products here, but you will find great bacon, ham, turkey and other smoked products. Their Thick Original Country Bacon Steak is what I always buy…12 lbs. at a time. Their cooked and spiral sliced country ham is a real treat. Not only is their service awesome, but unlike other websites that surprise you with crazy shipping costs after you’ve spent an hour getting your order together, all of Burger’s price include shipping. That rocks! Beef of the highest quality and outstanding flavor, although not grass-fed. This historic Texas ranch, established in 1791, has been dealing with droughts which have limited their supply of beef, and their website says their beef supplies will be back to full speed by June of this year. This is the website of Tendergrass Farms, a supplier of grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and organic meats. We’ve had some success with the beef, and we also purchased a very tasty turkey from them for Thanksgiving last year. It’s time for as drink! And these guys, based in Brooklyn, NY, have just about anything you could want. It may seem silly to order your spirits online instead of going to your local liquor store, but these guys have the high-end things my local guy doesn’t…and they’ve got better prices on the stuff he does have. Shipping is fast and reasonably priced. Need wine? These guys are based in upstate NY and they’ve got a huge choice of excellent wines at great prices. Shipping is FAST, but make sure they ship to your state to avoid disappointment.

Coming in a future blog: my sources for the gardening season: seeds, plants and more.


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