This past summer, while cooking for some big events, I was trying to figure out the best place to buy good quality meat without breaking the bank. A couple people mentioned Sheridan Fruit Company (409 S.E. MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland), which seemed strange, because… well, the whole fruit thing. Am I the only person that has driven past this place hundreds of times, thinking they just deal with fruit? Too bad they don’t make it clear on their sign…
But it’s true! They have competitive prices on good quality meat. Think Draper Valley Farms chicken, Carlton Farms pork, and Painted Hills beef. They also have an impressive selection of wild game, seafood, and poultry. And more sausage options than I have ever seen in my life. They have tons of other options packed on to their shelves, especially bulk and produce, but I was looking for the most bang for my buck at the meat counter.
Now, before you think I was perked by the lovely folks at the Sheridan Fruit Company, let me assure you they didn’t give me a single turkey leg for writing this post. Well, they did give my children chocolate candy and pepperoni sticks while we were shopping, but that’s beside the point.
The point is, our family doesn’t eat much meat these days, maybe once or twice a week. So when it does make it on to our menu plan, I want it to be good. Responsibly raised, preferably local. But I have to be able to accomplish that on a tight grocery budget. I typically buy 3-5 packages of whatever meat is on a good sale each week at New Seasons or Market of Choice. By shopping the meat department this way, I stay within our budget and build up a nice selection of quality meat to store in our chest freezer.
This week, I headed to Sheridan Fruit Company to stock up on meat, using my $10/50 Chinook Book coupon before it expired (10/31). I just chose basic cuts of meat that were cheaper than or competitive with the prices at New Seasons. I tossed them in my freezer and will pull them out for meals throughout this fall and winter. I plan to head back in the next few weeks to use the $5/25 coupon for beef stew meat, pork chops, and ground sausage. These will stretch into quite a few meals for our family.
Here is what I bought today, split into smaller packages:
1 lb. Carlton Farms thick sliced bacon ($4.99/lb.)
3 lbs. Painted Hills 14% ground beef ($3.99/lb.)
3 1/2 lbs. Draper Valley boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($4.29/lb.)
5 1/3 lbs. Carlton Farms boneless pork loin roasts ($3.99/lb.)
– $10/50 Chinook Book coupon
Total: $43.27 for 12.85 pounds of meat (average $3.37/lb.)
Not too shabby, considering this meat will be the base for seven dinners, with plenty of leftovers, for our family of four!
How do you save money on meat?
For those of you who buy shares of an animal straight from a farmer, Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat by Deborah Krasner would be a great resource. Even if you don’t have the budget or storage space for that kind of purchase, this book is filled with great tips and recipes on different cuts of meat and the best way to prepare them.
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