52 ways to save money on a healthy diet: Raid the local raw pet food freezer

(See the rest of this series here)
I’ve talked a lot recently about making your own homemade stocks for their nutritional (and frugal and tasty) benefits. I promise that I will stop talking about this so much soon, but I had to give one more tip for where to source good beef, lamb, and chicken bones for stock making.

I do try to get bones from local farmers, and it is often the cheapest that way too. When I buy a share of beef, I ask for the bones. A local farmer that has lamb meat for sale at a farmer’s market in the spring sells lamb bones that make incredibly delicious and frugal stock. But…what to do when these sources run out, or in between farm runs?

For us, a local store, New Seasons Market, has been a great source of bones! I can special order with them and get a wide variety of bones. But that always takes a little waiting time (usually about a week, sometimes it has been longer though). I was thrilled when I discovered that they had a lot of their soup bones in the “raw pet food” case on a weekly basis. Now, of course, you should always make sure that the food in a “pet food case” is safe for human consumption, which was true in this case. It is the same stuff I get from behind the meat counter.

This is what I’ve found in the case:

  • Marrow and knuckle beef bones, pastured and grain-finished
  • Lamb bones
  • Chicken backs
  • Chicken liver

All of the above is generally 2 dollars or less a pound, meaning I can make a pot of stock for about $5 dollars. So much cheaper then buying it premade, and so much more nutritious too!

I love animals, but please, I don’t want them to get all of the good stuff! I find it pretty ironic that most Americans pass by some of the most nutritious parts and give them to their pets! I hope to someday get a dog and/or cat, and they will just have to share with us. 😉

So, there is my quick tip for the day! I’d love to hear if anyone else has been able to find bones for stock making in a raw pet food’s case, or any other “think outside the box” ideas for saving money while eating healthy. 🙂

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. KJ says

    I’ve been thinking about checking out my local raw pet food co-op myself (and feeling a little weird about it)! I don’t even have pets, but it sure looks as though they are selling some high quality animal parts quite inexpensively. I wish I had a chest freezer, though, because I think the quantities tend to be quite large, from what I can tell.

    • KimiHarris says

      Raw pet food is getting popular and many feed raw bones and organ meats as part of the raw pet food diet. It seems like a good place to scope out for bones- especially as many grocery stores don’t carry stock bones. 🙂

  2. KJ says

    For readers in the Bay Area, I’m talking about http://www.sfraw.com — people without pets might not know about it. The only reason I know it exists is because I had a meat CSA that did drop-offs in their parking lot.

  3. chrissy says

    I have wondered about this regarding the raw “pet” butter that I have found…what the? Is that just a way to circumvent regulations about raw dairy? Because raw meat and bones for dogs makes a lot more sense than very expensive raw grassfed butter! I want to buy it but have been thrown off by the whole pet thing.

    • Jen says

      Yes, that is the way some farmers and consumers get around the raw dairy regulations. Butter is butter (as long as it’s pastured and raw), and there is nothing special they do to make it for “pet consumption” vs. “human consumption”.

  4. r says

    You said- “I love animals”. I think you mean you love domesticated household pets.
    Do you love animals so much you want to chop them up and eat their bones?

    • KimiHarris says


      I do love animals, including farm animals. My decision to eat meat is not based on hatred towards farm animals. 🙂

  5. says

    I’ve bought the pet food from US Wellness meats- a mix of ground beef, liver, and heart from grassed cows! The label says its not safe for human consumption, but I think that’s just a legal formality 🙂 I haven’t died yet!

  6. Debbie says

    Good info! Thanks! I read recently, while shopping at Tropical Traditions, that their ground chicken is sold as “pet food”, only because the state in which it is produced in can’t get the regulation to go across state lines so Trop. Trad. has to sell it as pet food. I haven’t bought any yet… just have to get over the pet food connection! 🙂

  7. says

    Hi Kimi!
    We live in portland and just got chicken liver for 2 dollars a pound! It was so excited! I also just bought your book, ladled. I’ve been a follower for years now, so excited to make some of those recipes!

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