New to Buying Beef? Top Tips From a Rancher 

The option to shop online for pretty much anything and everything has changed the way we live. What was once reserved for special request items can now be used to purchase everyday goods from clothing and medicines to cleaning supplies and even groceries. But like all change, the ability to shop online brings with it new dangers to navigate. 

At the onset of the pandemic, I started selling grass-fed beef that I raised on my property, Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch. It proved to be more popular than I could have imagined, and I just recently created a website devoted specifically to selling that grass-fed beef. In doing so, I’ve realized how inexperienced some people are when it comes to buying their meat from local ranchers, especially when doing so online. While I am honest and forthright about the quality of my beef, that’s not always the case with every seller, especially with online interactions. 

That said, here are some key things to keep in mind when purchasing meat from a local rancher online or in person.

  • Ask questions!
    Ranchers and companies should be up-front, willing, and able to answer any questions you have about cut, price, cattle diet, and whether antibiotics or hormones were used. 
  • Check reviews.
    Trustworthy and reliable operations have good reputations, and that’s not by accident. The ag community is close-knit. Ask around and see what has worked for others.
  • Where is the meat coming from? Find out whether you’re buying directly from a single rancher or multiple ranchers selling under one label.
  • Is the facility in which the meat is processed fully inspected?
    I can’t underscore the importance of this one enough. Cleanliness and food safety should be your top concern regardless of where you get your meat.
  • Can you tour the farm?
    Transparency is important. A rancher who has nothing to hide will readily allow ranch tours to provide a better understanding of the meat.

The grass-fed beef I sell through is pasture-raised at Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch, where we regularly offer ag tours. The cattle are then processed right here in Polk County at my professionally run, USDA-inspected F1 Meats Co. Whether you’re buying online or visiting our storefront at Chop N Block, we’re available to answer your questions and help you make a safe and satisfactory beef purchase.

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