meat locker

The Meat Locker helps make bulk local meat purchases possible!

The Meat Locker

The Ithaca Meat Locker is a community freezer space for storing bulk purchases of locally-raised meat. Though many people are interested in buying meat locally and in bulk, many lack adequate freezer space at home. As a solution to this barrier, we posed the idea of a Meat Locker, just like ones that were frequently used in the 50's and 60's. Our large, walk-in freezer is located conveniently in downtown Ithaca, at 118 W. Green Street (Press Bay Alley). Locker members rent a plastic bin (either a small for $3 or a large for $5 a month) within which they can store their meat. Bins are stacked neatly within the freezer, which maintains a cool 0 degrees. In these conditions, your meat will stay perfectly fresh for up to and often times over a year.

Become a Meat Locker Member

Anyone interested in joining the Meat Locker can do so - the first step is to arrange your bulk purchase. Determine what kind of meat you'd like to purchase, how much, and decide on which farm you'd like to buy from. Searching MeatSuite is an easy way to get a head start! Arrange your purchase, pay the farmer, and determine whether you'll pick up the meat or have it delivered to the Meat Locker. When all these details are arranged, email the contact listed below to set up your intake appointment during our regular Thursday Meat Locker Hours

Be sure to arrive with your meat completely frozen and vacuum-sealed. A staff member will roll out your bin for you to fill.  Our members find it helpful to keep a running list of the meat in their bins.

The rest is up to you! Take out as much or as little meat from your bin at a time as you would like. Only local meat may be stored inside the Meat Locker, with occasional exceptions. Locally-hunted venison is also acceptable for storage in the locker.

Background Research

In the past few years, we have researched the best marketing channels for livestock farmers to sell meat. The "freezer trade" (sale of animals by the whole, half, and quarter) is the best way for farmers to sell meat locally, so we want to expand the freezer trade in our region. Additional research on the consumer side reveals that freezer trade offers affordability in terms of price per pound. A survey of beef prices around our region, for example, showed that locally raised, high-quality beef and pork can be purchased in bulk for less than grocery store meat! Freezer trade expands accessibility to a larger population and is, in fact, the best way to buy for cash-strapped local meat lovers.

Ready to Join?

Visit our Meat Locker Registration Form to get started.

Already a member?

Visit our Meat Locker Terms & Instructions to get a refresher on how to get to your bin.

Last updated October 20, 2020