For those in California looking to support local beef ranchers, especially during the pandemic, farmers' markets have often been a place to go. It's a way to feel more connected to our food system, rather than just buying branded steak from the grocery store.
For those that want to take it a step further, or find a rancher in their area to buy meat from, California now has its own "Beef Directory" you can access to do just that.
The "Beef Directory" breaks California into three regions: Northern, Central, and Southern. You can then track ranches in the area, get their contact info, and see what they sell. Many ranches will sell individual cuts of steaks, but often times, you can also purchase a quarter or half share of a cow. A typical cow yields 639 pounds of meat, 38% of which is turned into ground beef, if that helps you calculate how much meat is in each offering.
Right now, over a dozen ranches are listed on the California Beef Directory, with listing spots available for any other ranchers that want to get on the list.
Buying from small-scale ranchers and local beef producers helps local food makers around you continue to thrive, especially during a challenging time like this pandemic. It also can be more sustainable for the planet, as smaller ranches often employ more sustainable methods of raising their livestock.
For those living in other parts of the country or world, local beef directories may exist in your region that provide contact information for ranches, info on what cuts of meat they sell, or both.
Using these beef directories makes finding local beef, whether it be for restaurant or at-home use, a lot easier, and gets the general public more connected to original food sources once again.