In my kitchen, there are conflicting needs. One side of the conflict is the budget. There isn't a whole lot in the coffers here at Chez Freelancing Single Mama With A Toddler At Home. The other side of the conflict is my deep, deep desire to feed my son the best I can. And for me, "the best" is defined as clean, organic, whole foods to the extent of my ability. I prioritize organic meats and "the dirty dozen" in produce -- and if he were able to have dairy, I'd make organic milk a staple, too.
Organic stuff, as you know, is not so cheap. I buy in bulk whenever I can, but the meat gets me every time. Enter: Zaycon. They offer basically organic ground beef (93/7) and boneless chicken breasts approximately every quarter.
I am a HUGE fan.
There are a couple of catches to using Zaycon. First, their deliveries are what I would call "sporadic" -- I am a pretty new member so I don't have a really good sense yet, but I think chicken comes twice a year and beef comes quarterly to where I am. It may be that chicken also comes quarterly. The second catch is that these meats are not technically organic, because the farmers keep antibiotics on site to treat sick animals (which are kept apart from the health animals until they're off the drugs); to be certified organic, there can't be any antibiotics on site. So they are basically organic, and it's close enough for me. The third catch is that you are ordering in bulk. In 40lb boxes, to be exact. Too much meat? Split a box with a friend. If you're in the Triangle and you want to share a box, let me know! The fourth catch is that you're getting 40lbs (or more) of fresh meat, packaged in 10-lb things, which means you need to take your box home and process it yourself pretty much immediately because you probably do not want to stick ten pounds of ground beef straight into your freezer. You don't get to pick your pick-up date, but you'll know it a couple of months in advance so it can be easy to plan around. For me, "processing" four 10lb logs of ground beef involved a food scale and a bunch of ziploc bags, basically. Also: lots of time. It's fun with a friend, though.
That sounds like a ton of effort, right? Well...maybe it is. But I'm generally willing to do a little work if it means I can save a lot of money. So when I found out that the ground beef was $3.49/lb and the next chicken is priced at $1.84/lb, I was completely sold. I might have even uttered a four-letter word that starts with H and ends in hockey sticks as part of a verbal affirmation.
You want in on the deal? Check them out and see if there's a drop in your area.
Zaycon also offers other great stuff like strawberries and honey and milk, but only in specific parts of the country (NOT including my part, sadface). If I remember correctly, it's because part of their business model is to keep things as close to local as possible, though "local" is probably loosely defined as "within a state or two" if I'm guessing. Either way, no PNW wildflower honey for me.
I recently picked up my first box of their ground beef. I found out about the drop right before it happened and everything had sold out; fortunately, I was walking past my computer at the exact moment that I got an email saying that they had a few extra boxes for people on the wait list. By the time I got to the site (which was within 20 seconds of getting this email!) it was down to one box, which I handily nabbed. It was really exciting. (I guess you just had to be there.)
Zaycon's fall chicken sale is now open -- I would highly recommend you take a look and see if they're coming to your area. It's in October, so there's lots of time to find a freezer solution if you need one.
Note: the Zaycon links above are my affiliate links. I get a $1 credit for every purchase made by someone who registers using that link.