For most of human history if you wanted to eat meat, you had to leave your family and risk bodily injury in the hopes of returning with fresh meat to share.
Today, all I'm asking you to do is plan ahead a little bit and order your meat delivered to your house directly from a high-quality producer.
Every time you purchase meat, you have the ability to support sustainable, regenerative, and mindfully-harvested meat production. All it takes is a little planning and some space in your freezer.
If you are anything like me, you probably still buy a significant portion of your meat from the store —even in years when the hunting and fishing are great.
I currently have ground venison, bison roasts, whole quail, and wild pig shoulder in my game freezer, each of which was sourced from directly from a producer that I'm thrilled to support, both because of the quality of the product and the care that these producers are putting into improving the ecosystems that they're a part of.
"Despite the efforts of a loud and misleading vegan narrative, research is showing that our greatest tool to capturing atmospheric carbon is actually ruminant animals grazing on regenerating grasslands." -Force of Nature
In a similar stance of defiance to the popular narrative against meat, Wild Idea Buffalo Company, an outfit in South Dakota headed up by writer Dan O'Brien and his wife Jill, introduced the "Possible Burger" earlier this year. Wild Idea's bison herd is given ample room to roam and feed (35 acres / head) and is humanely field harvested, before being packed and shipped directly to you from South Dakota. If you read any of O'Brien's work, you'll quickly realize that sustainable care for the Great Plains is no afterthought, it was the primary driver in the origin of their business.
The idea of field harvesting meat with the intention of selling it is a complex one, a USDA food inspector must be present, which adds to the cost and complexity of the operation. Mobile processing plants are also required to ensure the animal is broken down and packed in the freezer in short order. Wild Idea put this into practice in order to harvest bison the way they knew it should be done.
On the Hawaiian Island of Molokai, Jake Muise and the team at Maui Nui Venison have a similar field harvest program in order to take and process invasive axis deer. Just like in South Dakota, the team on Molokai must be accompanied by a USDA inspector for their field harvest, to ensure the safety and quality of the meat. Spoiler alert: the quality is unmatched. As it turns out, Axis Deer thrive in the paradise that is the Hawaiian Islands.
Because of their invasive status, these deer do not fall under the same wild game laws that elk, whitetails, and other species do in the US. The Maui Nui team is able to offer truly free ranging venison meat by jumping through all the right regulatory hoops.
"By humanely sourcing invasive axis deer under stress-free conditions, we simultaneously alleviate the impact deer have on Hawaiʻiʻs beautiful and vulnerable ecosystems while unlocking a delicious, high-quality food resource." -Maui Nui Venison
If you want the widest selection of wild meats, turn your attention to the folks at Broken Arrow Ranch in Texas. They source and offer everything from wild pig to wild-harvested Nilgai Antelope. Broken Arrow's meats are sold to restaurants and discerning eaters across the country. Personally, I've ordered more than a few quail from Broken Arrow for hosting and sharing with friends.
If its seafood you crave, our friend Cole owns a company called Bristol Crown Fisheries. There is a defined season in Bristol Bay, and commercial line fishing is only open to permitted boats. Bristol Crown gives you the ability to pre-order salmon so it's ready to ship straight to your door as soon as it's available—which means it doesn't get any fresher unless you catch it yourself.
Buying—and eating—within the rhythms of the seasons is part of living more closely connected to the natural world.
Any one of these producers above will help ensure that you, and your family, are getting the highest quality meat you can buy and in doing so, you are supporting truly sustainable practices from genuinely good folks.