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goat/lamb from supermarkets vs farmer's market/grass fed versions

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 12, 2011 at 8:09 AM

I bought some goat from Ranch 99 (frozen), as well as heard of goat in some mexican supermarkets in the area. Lamb also (from Australia) I've seen at Costco and Ranch 99.

From what I've read Australian lamb (and New Zealand) are both grass fed, and I don't think goat is crazily processed like cow anywhere. Is that true? If so, how much more benefit do I get from buying the nice stuff, as it is about twice as expensive? Is goat even ever not grass fed? Thanks!

32123f4f25bdf6a7b70c9c2a719386ed

(396)

on July 12, 2011
at 11:56 PM

I believe most lamb is grass fed no matter where it came from.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 12, 2011
at 05:50 PM

you are in Chicago? My mom buys from http://themeatgoat.com/ I don't see goat on their website, but you can try emailing them. I would also try contacting goat cheese makers. I've seen several at Chicago farmer's markets. They might not sell it, but they know where they send their male kids. Also try contacting farms on localharvest http://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?map=1&lat=41.885144&lon=-87.625994&scale=9&ty=-1&nm=goat&zip=60601

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:20 PM

How do I start looking for cheap whole goats? All the other meat I buy is grass-fed organic either from a buying-club or local 'green' grocer that gets sells local stuff. It's all crazy-expensive.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Thx for the eye-opening 2nd link. It's left me pretty squeamish.. As an ex-vegetarian, I'm still, uh, 'coming to terms' with eating meat - particularly conventionally-raised. If I could tell myself that this is a worst-case scenario - a smallish family farm that uses corn-feed, and sprays the fence perimeter with Round-up - I'd be ok. But surely conditions are much worse at the farms that raise the goat I get in chicago? Ugh. I can't afford organic grass-fed everything, and I really like goat-meat; I've been buying it regularly at the carniceria, with fingers crossed. Blerg.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on July 12, 2011
at 10:40 AM

I think this is a great question. I've often wondered the same thing myself. I believe that American lamb is raised on grain, but I've never heard of CAFO goat or anything close. I'd love to get a more definitive answer regarding this as the goat meat I can get at the international grocery store is much cheaper than what I can get at the farmer's market (and more widely available year 'round).

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3 Answers

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 12, 2011
at 03:27 PM

There is some grain feedlotting of lamb in the US. It's much rarer with goats, but the fact that feed companies sell meat goat feed that contains grain means that some suppliers are doing it (that one also contains antibiotics!!). Here is a guy who is a local small farmer who supplements with grain. The goat industry is kind of anarchic though, which is one of the reasons it is not a popular meat with Americans. Goat meat is just so inconsistent taste-wise. Most people who eat it in the US are immigrants who heavily spice it. I prefer to buy my goat from a single supplier because it tastes amazing that way. It's a very affordable animal to buy whole, often because they are unwanted byproducts of the goat cheese industry and are slaughtered small enough that you fit one in a regular freezer. Last one I got was 25 lbs at $3 a lb. That, plus the desire to avoid added antibiotics/hormones given by some farmers is why I continue to buy pastured from local farmers.

I've had some New Zealand lamb that tasted AWFUL even when I drowned it in spicy sauce.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on July 12, 2011
at 05:50 PM

you are in Chicago? My mom buys from http://themeatgoat.com/ I don't see goat on their website, but you can try emailing them. I would also try contacting goat cheese makers. I've seen several at Chicago farmer's markets. They might not sell it, but they know where they send their male kids. Also try contacting farms on localharvest http://www.localharvest.org/search.jsp?map=1&lat=41.885144&lon=-87.625994&scale=9&ty=-1&nm=goat&zip=60601

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:20 PM

How do I start looking for cheap whole goats? All the other meat I buy is grass-fed organic either from a buying-club or local 'green' grocer that gets sells local stuff. It's all crazy-expensive.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on July 12, 2011
at 05:14 PM

Thx for the eye-opening 2nd link. It's left me pretty squeamish.. As an ex-vegetarian, I'm still, uh, 'coming to terms' with eating meat - particularly conventionally-raised. If I could tell myself that this is a worst-case scenario - a smallish family farm that uses corn-feed, and sprays the fence perimeter with Round-up - I'd be ok. But surely conditions are much worse at the farms that raise the goat I get in chicago? Ugh. I can't afford organic grass-fed everything, and I really like goat-meat; I've been buying it regularly at the carniceria, with fingers crossed. Blerg.

1
66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

on July 12, 2011
at 03:52 PM

i buy the American Lamb brand and i don't think it's totally grassfed. when compared with the new zealand and australian lamb i eat, it's less gamey, fattier and clearly from a bigger animal. tastes awesome, though and i prefer the taste of it to the grassfed nz and aussie lambs.

1
Medium avatar

(7073)

on July 12, 2011
at 02:25 PM

I have never heard of lamb that is NOT grass fed. They are seasonally born and pasture raised in nearly every state in the U.S., that is why the meat is so expensive.......buy the most expensive meat you can afford, that is my motto and of course, it is always best to get to a farmers market where you can meet the farmers face to face and ask questions.

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