Sunday, September 23, 2012

Local Beef can be Affordable

There are several places on Maui to buy local beef. It is sometimes more expensive than beef imported from the mainland, but it can be less expensive.

Some advantages to buying local beef, i.e., from cows raised on Maui.

Maui Cattle Co. Beef at Pukalani Superette. 

  • Local beef is healthier.
  • The animals have had a better life than animals raised in CAFOs (aka commercial feed lots) and have had access to pasture and grass and sometimes ocean views!
  • The environmental costs of raising and transporting beef locally are also less. 
  • A summary of reasons to eat grass fed beef can be found here
I was told when I asked about hormones in the beef, that Hawaii state law prohibits local beef to be produced using any growth hormones.  Also, if you’ve watched the documentary Food Inc, there’s a scene in which the narrator says that a single commercially produced hamburger can contain portions of meat from hundreds of cows mixed together, and some of the cows have tumors in the meat or other diseases. Yuck.

Where to buy local beef: 
PukalaniSuperetteMana FoodsWhole Foods MarketHanzawa's Grocery in Haiku, and Rodeo General Store in Makawao. Sometimes Longs Drugs carries local beef in their frozen section. Haiku Grocery may carry some local beef under the Maui Cattle Co. label, but the store-packaged hamburger is no longer local as of this year.  I’ve never seen local beef at any of the chain supermarkets. Local hamburger or ground beef is sometimes as low as $2.99/lb (this is less expensive than most supermarkets on Maui) but usually it’s more. Other cuts can be up to $8 or $9/lb but you can buy cuts like beef chuck and then tenderize the heck out of it using shredded green papaya. And it will taste great!  If you need to find certain cuts of local beef like beef chuck or livers or kidneys OR buy in larger quantities, definitely ask Pukalani Superette, because they can let you know what days certain things arrive to their store and they are wonderfully helpful. 

Update 1/24/13: Originally, this post mentioned a specific local institution to buy Maui beef directly, without a middleman, but shortly after I posted it, the business requested that I remove their name and not mention them. They said they just didn't want the publicity. 


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