I really want to try beef (or any other animal) heart. Whole Foods does not sell it, and neither does the local food co-op. Is this something I need to get directly from the farmer?
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The farmer should have it for you, depending on how cooperative they are. In my area, the large "farmer's market" has beef and lamb hearts. I also know of a restaurant that has an amazing seared lamb heart dish.
If you can't find it locally, try US Wellness http://www.grasslandbeef.com. They have lamb, beef, and chicken hearts. They're also one of the few places I have found real lard (not the hydrogenated stuff in buckets at the grocery store).
Also, you can try looking for local places on eatwild.com and localharvest.org. I've found a lot of great farms through those sites.
Best of luck! Hearts are tasty, tasty things.
I get mine from a local grocer, New Seasons, in Portland, OR. They just have them packaged near the oxtails and knuckle bones!
The Mexican markets in my area carry all of the offal bits. It isn't grass fed, but since it is fairly lean muscle meat, it should matter as much. My son stuffs it after cutting any fat off of the outside, then wraps it in bacon and roasts it.
Go to an ethnic market or to a market in a highly ethnic neighborhood. I get mine from a small market in an older part of town. It's all CAFO stuff, but they have real butchers. They even have up on their board that you can place an order for a whole butchered pig with 2 days advanced notice. Most upscale and regular grocery stores don't get whole animals and butcher them anymore.
if a local farmer is having beef butchered, what he is getting is "from the processor" but also from HIS steer.
Almost anywhere in the us, you can find a "local" butcher. They can get organ meats for you easily- from local animals or high grade purchases. (one of our locals carries blue ribbon, which is about as good as you can get for "regular" beef, when they don't have local steers on hand.)
Ethnic shops- notably kosher or halal- will also be able to help.
Go directly to a processor if you can. The farmer may have it, but they would just be selling what the processor gave them.
The good thing about organ meats is they're still not popular, so they're cheap. I get GF beef heart for $2/lb.
For all offal, it is enough to contact a local grassfed farmer via eatwild.com. He either has it, or his butcher has it. I was amazed that, when I bought only half a steer, the other unknown parties would ALWAYS let me have heart, liver, and tongue. We only had to fight on the tail.
Its extremely reasonable in price in comparison to other beef cuts and great in stews or soups .I can get a 60lb case of beef hearts for a $1.00 a pound.As a added bonus my pets 2 dogs and cat are on a species appropriate diet.Sliced and dehydrated awesome jerky without all the additives crap that slim jims have thats whats crazy.