Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is all the meat you sell from animals raised at your farm?
A. All the beef and pork we sell is from animals we breed and raise at our family's home in Smithfield, Rhode Island. All the sausage is made from our meats by small, locally-owned sausage makers. All the poultry we sell comes from two area farms that employ similar humane practices to our own.
The photos you see on our site are made with our meats by our staff. None of these meats are exposed to chemicals or oxygenated for photos. What you see is what you get, understanding that there will always be very slight variations in anything raised on a family farm like ours. We're not a factory putting out identical slabs of uncared for meat millions of times.
Q. What makes this site and what we deliver different from the hundreds of farm-raised meat sites out there?
A. Unlike many of the companies who've sprung up to sell humanely raised and slaughtered meats, we're a single family farm. Blackbird Farm is not a conglomerate or co-op or other combination of meat from dozens of sources sold to you. When you buy from Blackbird Farm you're getting the meat direct from the farmer, a single-source, with no middle-person.
And we want to make sure you're happy with your order from Blackbird Farm. There's a saying, a happy customer tells one person, an unhappy customer tells ten. We want to make you a happy customer AND tell ten people how happy you are with the meats from Blackbird Farm.
Q. Do you use any antibiotics or hormones in raising your animals?
A. No, prophylactic antibiotics or added hormones are not administered at any point in the animal’s life. If an animal becomes ill, and under the recommendation of a large animal vet requires antibiotics to save it's life, we will use the drugs. If that animal was being raised for meat, it would no longer be and would be sold in another market.
Q. Why don't your cuts look exactly like supermarket cuts?
A. Our meats are cut by local butchers from whole sides of beef and pork which sometimes have slight variations or very minor imperfections that never impacts the taste and quality of the meat. Unlike a huge concentrated animal feeding operation, which may use confinement and chemicals to ensure every animal is the exact same size and shape as each other, our animals and their meat won't look like it comes from a factory.
Q. Is all your meat frozen?
A. Yes, per USDA regulations: Sales of fresh meat or poultry products are prohibited for regional farmers or ranchers. Only frozen meat and frozen poultry products that have been processed in a USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) licensed and inspected facility and bear the USDA seal of inspection are permitted.
All our meats are butchered into individual cuts, vacuum-packed—placed in plastic bags and have most of the air inside the package removed to prevent oxidation and inhibit pathogen growth—and then flash-frozen at extreme temperatures to prevent ice from forming.
Q. Where do you offer free or flat rate shipping on orders $99 and up?
A. Fill your Shopping Cart with $99 or more of our meats and we offer the following shipping deals:
- Free UPS Ground shipping (one to two-day delivery on average) to the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington D.C.
- Flat rate of $29.99 on UPS 3 Day Select® shipping to the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin
- Flat rate of $49.99 on UPS 3 Day Select® shipping to the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
Q. When will my order be shipped?
A. Orders will ship out on the next business day. If an order is placed on a Thursday or before a holiday weekend we may hold it a day to ensure prompt delivery and not held at UPS.
Q. How will my order be shipped?
A. As mentioned above all our meats are flash-frozen at the time of butchery. We pack those frozen cuts with reusable Nordic Ice Bricks into recyclable cardboard boxes with biodegradable foam insulation. This packaging will keep our meats within the safe temperature zone. In our rigorous testing process our meat will slowly thaw while in transit and may arrive to you partially frozen or completely thawed, depending on the cut.
We recommend the following timelines for cooking or freezing:
- For beef cuts, please cook and eat, or freeze, with ten days.
- For pork cuts, please cook and eat, or freeze, within five days.
- For poultry, sausages and ground meats, please cook and eat within three days, or freeze immediately.
Q. How do I know my order arrived safely?
A. All the meat in the package should be cool to the touch when it arrives. It's O.K. if the Bricks aren't frozen, but they should still be cold to the touch. If you’re still not sure, rely on your nose. Spoiled meat will smell sour and be very sticky to the touch. If the packaging is damaged or opened in any way please contact us.
Q. Where do you deliver?
A. Anywhere in the contiguous United States (does not include Alaska, Hawaii or any of the USA island territories).
Q. Am I able to cancel my delivery?
A. You can cancel an order through our web site, but once an order has been shipped you are unable to cancel. At that point delivery is in the control of UPS. If there is a problem with the order, please contact us.
Q. What's the recommended way to thaw frozen meat?
A. From the USDA Food Safety division: When thawing frozen food, it's best to plan ahead and thaw in the refrigerator where it will remain at a safe, constant temperature — at 40 °F or below. There are three safe ways to thaw food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave.
For more information on these thawing methods, please see https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods
Q. Is that red liquid in the packaging blood?
A. Absolutely not. That is myowater, basically water colored by iron and oxygen from the protein myoglobin in the meat. It's a little messy, but nothing to be concerned about and definitely not blood.
Q. Is the meat dry-aged?
A. Yes and you can taste it! All our beef and pork is hung at the processor for up to 21 days in the case of beef and 7-14 for pork. This greatly improves the texture and taste of the meat. Beef has a naturally-occuring tenderizing enzyme in its muscle fibers which works for up to 8 days after harvesting. This hanging time also evaporates water from the muscle, which helps to concentrate the flavor of the meat.
Have a question we don't answer here? Please use our contact form to send it to us.