About our Pastured Meats
Ordering, Shipping and Delivery
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About our Pastured Meats
Is your meat fresh or frozen?
Your meat will arrive frozen. Since we freeze our meat immediately, it is much fresher than most frozen meat you find in a store. Many of our customers who don't generally buy frozen meat have told us they can't tell the difference.
Is Grow and Behold meat "organic"? What's the difference between 'pastured' and 'organic'?
Most of our products are not certified organic, because the cost of certification is often too high for our small farmers to bear. Further, USDA organic standards allow chickens to be raised in near total confinement and fed nothing but organic corn and still be called "free-range organic." Those practices are unacceptable to us: we want the animals to be outside and enjoy life in their natural setting. All of our poultry is raised on pasture (think: rolling green fields) when weather permits (Northeast winters and pastures don't go together). Our beef spend the majority of their lives on pasture as well. You can read more about how our animals are raised, including our specific Beef and Poultry Standards, here.
Is Sara's Spring Chicken grass-fed?
Our chicken is raised on pasture--which indeed means a variety of grasses, legumes, and critters are prominently featured in our birds' diets. But chickens are omnivores, and require additional fats, proteins and minerals to stay healthy. They obtain these from a feed mix of cracked grains, including GMO-free soy, wheat, and corn.
How do you make sure the chickens are always on fresh pasture?
Pasture-raised chickens are often raised in movable pens that have sides and a roof, but no bottom. Rather than leave the birds in one place and risk overgrazing, our farmers use these pens, often called "chicken tractors," to move the chickens to fresh new pasture (and allow the field to replenish itself, enriched by the manure left behind). Additionally, chicken tractors protect the chickens from predators like raccoons, possums and hawks (who love pastured chicken almost as much as you do!). Inside the chicken tractor, our birds have plenty of room to run around, dustbathe (a favorite chicken pastime), and enjoy the grass and critters.
Does pastured meat taste different?
YES! Our meat has much more flavor than conventional or organic kosher poultry and beef. That's because our animals eat grass and legumes out on the pasture, and get a chance to use their muscles. You can really taste the difference!
Do I need to cook pastured meat any differently than I am used to?
In some cases, yes. Be sure to read our cooking tips to understand the differences between pasture-raised and conventional meats, and what this means for your cooking process. In general, since the meats can be leaner and more flavorful than conventional meat, you'll want to cook at a lower temperature for a longer time, and use less seasoning to let the delicious pastured flavor shine through.
Why is your beef fed grain during the last few months before slaughter?
Although it's the topic of much press and conversation, feeding grain to cattle is not always a bad thing. Feeding cattle only corn makes them sick, which is the practice on large feedlots, such as those in the Midwest. We abhore the practices of these large feedlots, where overcrowded, malnourished cattle are routinely fed antibiotics to keep them alive long enough to put on weight for slaughter. However, cattle naturally eat grain in their diets (grass seeds are grains), and people have been feeding animals limited amounts of grain for millenia to produce flavorful, well-marbled meat (see Harold McGee, On Food and Cooking, p. 135). In contrast to feedlot beef, our animals are healthy. Grain is gradually introduced into their diet in the last few months, and is never more than 50% of their diet (the remainder of their diet is grass and hay.) We inspect our farms regularly to ensure that conditions meet our standards. We examine every animal before slaughter, and again after slaughter (checking innards) and attest that our animals are healthy and do not suffer from the grain (in fact, they eat it eagerly!).
During their last few months, a limited amount of grain is gradually added to our cattle's diet (up to 50%), while the cattle continue to eat as much grass as they wish. Including some grain in their diet helps us deliver a more tender, delicious and consistent product. The animals NEVER receive growth hormones or routine doses of preventative antibiotics which are necessary in the large feedlots in the midwest where cattle are overcrowded and fed nearly entirely on grain. Our finishing areas are clean, spacious and animals are healthy and well-cared for. Their 100% vegetarian diet (no animal by-products) consists of a balance of hay, grass and grain.
Ordering and Delivery
How do I purchase your meat?
Place your order on our website using our secure ordering system. We'll deliver it via one of four methods:
- Home Delivery in the New York Area
- Pick up from 5 locations in the Philadelphia Area
- Shipping to any location in the United States
- Group Orders to a Buying Club Location
Find more information about our delivery options here.
How do I make the most of my shipping charges?
Underneath the shopping cart we have a little display that tells you how close to 100% full your box is. We start filling your order in a small box. Once the small box is 100% full, we switch you over to a large box. You will find the best value by filling your box as close to 100% full as possible. The FedEx shipping charge is assessed based on the size of the box, not the weight (since the insulated boxes are large, and even a lighter one takes up room in the truck). To find out what other items you can fit in your box if you're very nearly full, click on the link to "View items that will fit in your box."
On the checkout page, choose the cheapest option from the drop down menu (usually Home Delivery or Express Saver).
Finally, make sure you tell us what other items we can add if we find we still have a bit of room in your box. Each order is slightly different, so sometimes we can sneak a few more items in. The best change of success is with small items like sausage, hot dogs, deli meats, chicken necks, or hamburger patties.
What is a subscription?
When you order a subscription, you are placing a standing order that will be delivered on a regular basis. You can choose your delivery: every week, every other week, every 3 weeks, etc. You will enjoy a lower price than one-time orders, and the peace of mind that comes with having your order placed automatically. More info on Subscriptions here. Please note that we're not currently accepting new subscription orders until after Passover.
Can I purchase a beef subscription?
No. Our subscription service is only available for chicken at this time. However, you can always log in to your subscription order and add beef items for a specific delivery.
Why are the weights approximate?
Each animal is slightly different, and the weights of all of our products vary as a result. If we were to sell you items based on an exact weight, it would add an enormous amount of complexity to our fulfillment process.. Instead, we sell our products in a weight range that is within 10% of the approximate weight displayed on our website. Processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausages, and beef bacon are packaged and priced based upon exact weight.
Why is it so expensive?
Kosher meat is generally more expensive than conventional meat because it is a much more labor-intensive process. The animals are slaughtered individually by a person, and the additional steps of soaking, salting and ritual butchering and supervision all add to the cost. (Read more about making kosher meat). On top of that, we're paying our farmers a premium to raise their animals in the best possible way. There is an expression that holds especially true in the world of meat: "You get what you pay for." Doing it right just takes more time. Our farmers are constantly moving their animals to fresh pasture so that they can stay healthy and clean. This take more time than cramming animals into feedlots, but we believe the taste and the peace of mind are well worth the few extra dollars.
Why do you ship in Styrofoam containers?
We care about the environment a lot. We use wind power and recycled paper for all of our printing. However, we're still a very small company, and the costs associated with using some of the newer "eco"packaging materials would mean that no one could afford to buy our products. We're not happy with the situation, either, and we hope to be able, as we grow, to adopt more sustainable packaging and encourage the industry to follow suit. We're also working on a system where you'll be able to return your Styrofoam cooler for re-use -- stay tuned for more info on that coming soon.
The best way you can help us move to more sustainable packaging is to buy our products and help increase the volume of products we process. As our volume grows, so will our ability to shift the dominant production methods! Vote with your dollar! (And check your local recycling program -- some facilities may be able to take the containers.)
My vacuum-package arrived with a small puncture. Is the meat still good?
Sometimes sharp bones will cause punctures in the vaccum-packaging. Your meat is still completely safe to eat; we recommend defrosting it over a plate or bowl to avoid leakage. If you suspect that your meat is spoiled, please review our Return Policy.