'Crowd Cow' Lets You Buy Meat From Local Farms Without Leaving Home
Buying local can be hard for meat consumers, especially if they don't have a nearby farmers market, but Crowd Cow is an app that connects omnivores to local farmers.
No matter what your diet or lifestyle is, many of us are becoming more and more aware of where our meat comes from. Whether meat is part of your daily food intake, or a treat for your once in a blue moon summer barbeques, consumers are steadily looking into how their favorite protein is produced. From the humane treatment of animals, to providing workers with safe conditions and fair pay, the average buyer is starting to prioritize the ethics behind their burger. Now, Crowd Cow is a crowdfunding delivery service that is hoping to help that cause for those looking to get better meat.
The process is pretty simple for getting meat from Crowd Cow. Customers are able to pick what cuts they want their beef and how much of it they want through the shares available. A farm is highlighted on the website and tells you upfront how much has already been sold, how many days are left to purchase a share, and how many shares are remaining. This helps consumers make informed decisions and weigh their choices when making a selection. Delivery times vary, but it’s usually within a week, making it great for when you want to plan your groceries ahead of time or do a purchase for a large event or family gathering.
Shares can feature many pounds of meat, such as a “flat iron” share that includes four eight-ounce flat iron steaks, two 10-ounce chuck eye steaks, and two pounds of premium ground beef. Other a la carte options can vary in amount and time. They’re able to ship anywhere in the continental United States, and they offer a referral program that even includes free steak.
Crowd Cow started up at Seattle in 2015 by two entrepreneurs, Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry. This is their second company they’ve built together after Urbanspoon, a company that traded hands until it morphed under the Zomato brand. They tested out the concept of people crowdfunding beef in 2016, and after receiving $2 million in funding back in early 2017, they took the program to the national stage.
Not only is Crowd Cow supporting the best farmers possible, but they’re attempting to put an end to the industrialized process. “Raising high quality beef in a sustainable way is both time-consuming and expensive,” the company explains on their website. “That’s why 84% of beef sold comes from industrialized processes and companies that probably don't want you to know how it reached you.”
Any cattle rancher can apply to sell meat on Crowd Cow, but very few are selected as the team is selective when it comes to what kind of beef is sold on the site. When chosen, details of the farm are posted on the website, as are pictures, for full transparency on where the customers’ meat is coming from. All meat is also dry-aged, which increases the tenderness of the product. This is a move that’s normally seen in expensive steakhouses, and some grocery stores are starting to pick up the new method.
While it can take a few weeks to get beef, it’s easy to order a lot of it and freeze it for later use. Crowd Cow notes that customers generally get anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds of beef in an order. Shipping also doesn’t break the bank as over five pounds of meat can cost roughly $12 to ship, and there’s the added convenience of delivery right to the door. There’s also the comfort of knowing how the meat was farmed and where it comes from.