There are many things I prefer to do solo: grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. It's faster and more efficient, yes, but it also offers a sort of meditative break from my regular job, which involves sitting at a desk all day long. One might argue there is a good reason I'm single!
But there are limitations to my single status. From recipes (almost always designed to serve four to six) to loaves of bread (why are they so big?), I inevitably end up eating the same thing until I'm bored to tears, sticking it in the freezer and forgetting about it, or feeding it to my dog.
This is especially true when it comes to meat. That family pack of chicken thighs? Great if you are feeding a family; not so great if you are feeding one. Until recently, I was basically an at-home vegetarian. Until recently, I had definitely never cooked a steak for myself.
And then I discovered Greensbury Market, an online meat delivery company based in New York.
Why Greensbury Is So Awesome for Single People
Greensbury Market is just one of a slew of online meat purveyors I've noticed of late. Butcher Box, for example, offers a monthly meat subscription. For $129, you'll get a box of beef, chicken, and pork, which the company says equates to 15 to 20 meals. The problem with this option, for single me, is that I don't really want 15 to 20 meaty meals per month.
Another newcomer, Crowd Cow, lets you become a (ahem) "steak"-holder in a cow. They sell each cow, one at a time; at last check, the current stock was five servings (of about two pounds each) of ground beef. Again, though, single me is not exactly looking for two pounds of ground beef.
This is where Greensbury Market is so special. For starters you can order what you want, when you want it. You don't have to subscribe (although you can) and you don't have to wait for the next cow to become available.
The thing that really sold me, however, is the packaging. Most products are offered in 12- to 16-ounce portions, which would still be too big for me if not for this: The meat arrives as two individually wrapped servings. That 16-ounce skirt steak order is really two 8-ounce servings, which means I can put one in the freezer and the other in my fridge. Once it's defrosted, I just sear it on the stovetop (eight minutes to cook, 10 to rest), eat it for dinner, and slice the rest up to (literally) beef up my salads later in the week.
As I write this article, I have a single (six-ounce) serving of salmon sitting in my refrigerator, ready to be turned into a summer Nicoise salad I spied in this month's Cooking Light.
The Cost of Mail-Order Meat
Full disclosure: The company sent me a sampling of their products, including organic and grass-fed beef, organic and free-range chicken, wild-caught salmon, wild-caught halibut, and a five-pound bag of beef bones, which I have yet to bust open, but I am very excited about. All together, it would have cost roughly $100, which is a lot of money to spend on meat and fish, but also a lot of meat and fish.
Price-wise, the cost was comparable to what I would have paid at my local Whole Foods or even another online retailer like FreshDirect. For example, wild-caught cod is priced at $12.95 for 12 ounces, or $17.26 per pound. On FreshDirect, it's $27.99 per pound. Organic grass-fed ground beef is $11.47 at Greensbury and $12.09 at Whole Foods.
Of course, there is the packaging. This, for me, is the main drawback of mail-order meat. Meat arrives in a cardboard box. Inside the box is a styrofoam cooler. Inside the styrofoam cooler is dry ice and your meat.
I actually really like the dry ice because it keeps the meat frozen and I don't have to worry about what to do with the eight freezer packs that arrive every time I get a delivery. I don't love the styrofoam cooler, although it does its job of keeping the meat very, very cold. I'm trying to figure out a way to upcycle the cooler — maybe I'll put it in my car trunk as a cheap alternative to a plastic cooler.
Have you tried mail-order meat? Share your thoughts in the comments!