Good for you for making the switch! Grass-fed beef is better for you, better for the environment, and definitely the more humane choice. And, thanks to the likes of Michael Pollan and Food Inc., it’s getting easier to find local sources.
If you need help being convinced, the Mother Nature Network has an excellent article outlining the Top 10 reasons to eat grass fed meat and AmericanGrassFedBeef.com explains the significant health benefits of going grass-fed (did you know that grass-fed beef has up to half as much saturated fat as grain-fed, and up to 6 times the amount of cancer-fighting omega-3s?).
Now that everyone is rarin’ to get that beef in their bellies, how about some links to find it?
I’m assuming you’ve checked your local health food store and farmers markets, right? The best way to find local goods is to ask around locally!
If you have to go the online route, a good place to start is the American Grassfed Association. These fine people have strict standards of certification for producers to use their logo. You can search by state to find producers near you. The AGA only includes the ranchers who want to shell out $100 a year for certification, though, so not everyone in your area is going to be accounted for.
EatWild.com has an extensive collection of producers listed on their site. However, their standards for inclusion are rather lax: you only have pay them $50 and to promise that you treat your cows well; no one is going to come out and check up on you. The likelihood of someone lying on EatWild.com is very low, of course, so it remains an excellent resource. Besides, you’re looking for someone local - you can go visit the farm to see if it meets your standards!
Two similar search engines are The Eat Well Guide and Local Harvest. Type in what you want and the mile radius you’re willing to travel for it, and get a list of farms, stores, restaurants, CSAs, etc. to meet your needs.
If you really want to go the gritty underground route, you can always do a search on your local CraigsList. Farmers and ranchers can be pretty lo-tech; they’re not going to take the time to pull up the interweb on their dial-up and submit a listing to any of the above. But they might post a free classified ad on CraigsList! (I found my pastured eggs supplier on CraigsList, and it wasn’t nearly as shady as I tried to make it sound to my friends. She brings my eggs to her posh downtown office and I pick them up after our weekly trip to the library and coffee shop!)
Grass-fed beef might take some extra effort to find, but it is well worth the trouble! Good luck!