I have already mentioned the link I found about budgeting for real food here. Ever since reading it I have been researching sources, both local and via the Internet, for purchasing in bulk. Azure Standard is already very helpful for many items. But I need a good source for pastured chicken, grass-fed beef, and healthy fish. I have found several good beef sources at farmer's markets and online, but not as many satisfactory ones for chicken as you will see.
- Doublecheck Ranch (at Phoenix Public Market): more expensive, sell suet and broth bones
- A Bar H Farm (via their website and pickup locations on delivery day--schedule found here): the cheapest price per pound I have found online, as long as you buy 1/2 animal or so
- US Wellness Meats (via their website): very high quality, not the cheapest but does specials for free shipping sometimes, check for sales. I have their ground beef in my freezer and it is delicious!
- Ahwatukee farmer's market (I do not know the name of the vendor, but will find out this weekend and post it here): the cheapest local beef I have found, we buy steaks and grill them on the weekends
- List of local vendors for Arizona (all grass-fed meats): I haven't tried all of these sources, but I am sure they are good based on my success with the others I have tried above.
- Rosie's Free Range Chicken (at Sprouts or Sunflower Market): this is the chicken I have purchased for the last few years, it produces stock that gels in the fridge, so I know it is good enough produce healthy gelatin when turned into stock. However, I have heard these chickens may not be truly pastured, and they DO eat soy and corn in their feed which I dislike. I am trying NOT to buy these anymore.
- Rosie's, Rocky, and Shelton brand free range chickens (at Azure Standard): similarly problematic for GMOs and corn and soy. Will NOT be buying these, unfortunately.
- Mary's Pastured Chicken (at Whole Foods): my current main choice for chicken since contacting Mary's brand and they have said that though the chickens do have meal made with corn and soy, it is NOT GMO, and they eat very little of it, preferring being outside eating bugs. Also, if you ask Whole Foods, they will order you a box of chickens (8 come in a box, around 25 lbs. total) and you can have a 10% discount for ordering in bulk.
- Tropical Traditions Pastured Poultry (via their website): my current supplemental choice for chicken because it is so expensive. These are the most nutritionally superior chickens I have found. (I will use one of these chickens per month, and use the Mary's brand for all the other needs of our family. That way I need only buy 12 of these per year, hopefully during times when they are on sale, like right now.)
- There are still a few vendors here in AZ I need to call, so I will add to this list in the next day or so if I find anything out.
- Fishhugger (via their website and the Ahwatukee Farmer's Market): very expensive, but very high quality to the point of being sushi-grade. We buy it once in a while.
- Trader Joe's, Fresh 'n' Easy, Whole Foods, for fish on sale, using the Seafood Guide to know what is safe to buy at any given time.