does anyone have a good recommendation for where i could procure a 1/4 cow around boston? preferably grass-fed etc. just bought a deep freeze and i'm eager to stock it! thanks!!
I would check with Savenor's. I would be very surprised if they can't source one for you. There used to be a meat vendor at the Central Square farmer's market as well.
You are so smart to do this! http://www.eatwild.com/products/massachusetts.html
has a list of producers in Massachusetts. My recommendation is to contact a couple of them and get their advice. In my area of the US these growers know one another and when I ask for advice they always head me in the right direction.
If you're willing to venture as far as Smithfield, RI, Blackbird Farm has incredible pasture-raised beef: http://www.blackbirdfarmri.com/
We have been buying meat in bulk directly from the farmer for a few years (in the Seattle area). One thing we found very helpful in the beginning was to do some comparisons between different farmers' product--by going to the local Farmers' Market or farm stands (SKK's eat wild suggestion is great for finding local farmers who sell individual cuts) and purchasing a couple different cuts--say, a steak and some ground beef, then tasting it. There's a big difference in the meat, depending on the breed of cattle, what they have eaten, etc and it's helpful to make sure you like that particular farmer's product before you commit to a 1/4. Also, if you have the option to choose package size on the 1/4, think about what works best for how you cook. We found that there is a little bit of a learning curve on managing the meat supply when it's frozen and that smaller packages (a pound of ground rather than 2 pounds) gave us flexibility that was nice.
thanks for all the info/suggestions!!! i unfortunately quite limited in my free time these days (thank you, med school), but this has given me some good ideas for how to get started. much appreciated!!!
Blood Farm (some name, huh?) in Groton. Also Hilltop in Saugus.
I would probably ask at Wilson Farms in Lexington.
quick update: we've scrapped the 1/4 cow and gone in for part of a pig. kind of an impulse buy, but we were at the butcher shop for dinner last night and decided to sign up for their september csa (part of a berkshire pig). thanks of all the suggestions -- i'm looking forward to checking out these farms in the fall!