The sorry life of the feedlot steer—given a recent high profile in Michael Pollan’s bestseller The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which contrasts the life of a typical cheap-burger-bound animal with those living on pasture in a small, sustainably managed farm—is turning more and more people away from supermarket meat. Today’s San Francisco Chronicle reveals another option: buying a big chunk of cow (particularly one that been grass-fed and humanely raised) direct from the rancher.

It helps to have an extra freezer, since even small farms generally require a half- or quarter-cow purchase, but intrepid city dwellers can always get together with friends and share out the extra pounds. The Chronicle article also has useful info on cooking grass-fed meat (it’s generally leaner and more muscular than typical grain-fed beef, so it can dry out and get tougher faster).

Interested? Check out the listings on Eat Wild for a ranch near you.

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