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Where to Buy and Try Sustainable Alternative Meats in San Diego County

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October 29, 2018
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Credit:Esdelval

Industrial livestock production seems to have taken over both much of the Earth's arable lands and our plates. However, we do have options. As mentioned throughout the September/October issue, sourcing your meat locally goes a long way towards better health for everyone.

Farmers and chefs are shaking up sustainability with lesser-known sources of protein that are earth-friendlier, easier to raise, and (bonus!) offer two to three times more protein than their more popular counterparts. They also happen to be delicious.

Here's where to taste them for yourself in San Diego County.

RABBIT

Boasting one of the highest percentages of digestible protein, rabbit is mild in flavor and, according to Slow Food USA, “can produce six pounds of meat on the same amount of feed and water it takes a cow to produce just one pound.”

Not to mention, they breed like, well, you know...

Try Rabbit

Sample rabbit hand pies layered inside a flakey duck fat crust with roasted carrot puree and rabbit specials at The Lion’s Share in Little Italy.

Buy Rabbit

Thanks to Da-Le Ranch, you can grill with a little less guilt by picking up this pleasant protein at almost any San Diego farmers’ market or by ordering online.

Credit:Maryna Iaroshenko

CRICKETS

Requiring only a gallon of water per pound, these nutrient-dense, low-impact chirpers are already enjoyed by 80% of the world. With a taste described as a nutty medley of cashew, macadamia, and peanut, crickets, also called chapulines, are quickly forging the way for insect-eating acceptance with Westernized palates.  

Try roasted crickets in stir-fries or add an extra dose of essential amino acids to your smoothies and baked goods in its versatile powdered form.

Are you ready to try these crunchy critters? Come on, live a little!

Try Crickets

El Tejate in Escondido serves traditional, crunchy-fried Botana de Chapulines seasoned with chili and lime.

Buy Crickets

Coalo Valley Farms is California’s first urban cricket farm in Van Nuys.

BISON

Calling all conscious carnivores: Buffalo meat could be just what the doctor ordered! Considered a heart-healthy protein powerhouse, this North American native contains fewer calories than beef, produces low carbon emissions, and actually helps preserve grasslands.

Even better news? You don’t have to visit Montana to get your fix. A slew of gastropubs throughout San Diego are reimagining the timeless burger with juicy, Midwest-meets-SoCal flair.

Try Bison

Grab a bison burger at Pure Burger in Carlsbad, or have a bison lunch down the street from the ranch in Ramona at The Main Course.

Buy Bison

Star B Ranch in Ramona raises their own heard of Bison. Buy directly from the ranch or find their meats at Ramona Family Naturals markets.

El Tejate
Pure Burger

QUAIL

Small but mighty are these unsung heroes of poultry. An economic provider of protein for small farms and even backyards, quail is similar to chicken in flavor, yet quails produce more eggs, need less food and space, and mature much faster than their feathered friend.

Try Quail
Order sriracha-honey glazed quail knots at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Liberty Station or head to Yakitori Hino where they offer quail eggs and occasionally meat.

Buy Quail

Buy from Da-Le Ranch at most farmers’ markets or online at da-le-ranch.com.

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
Joni Hargrave
Joni Hargrave is a Leucadia-based writer and lover of food, travel, and slow fermented sourdough baking. Constantly on the hunt for pockets of...
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