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 a 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 belowto set up your intake appointment. Please make this appointment at least 72 hours in advance of when you would like to make your the drop-off.

Be sure to arrive with your meat completely frozen and vacuum-sealed. A staff member will weigh out each cut and record it in our books- when finished, you will received a detailed list of all cuts checked in to your bin.

The rest is up to you! Take out as much or as little meat from your bin at a time as you would like. We ask that you notify staff at least 48 hours in advance if you'd like to make a pick-up appointment, or 72 hours in advance if you'd like to schedule a drop-off. Only local meat may be stored inside the Meat Locker, with occasional exceptions. Locally-hunted venison is also acceptable for storage in the locker.

Visit Us at Open Hours

Though you always have the option of arranging an appointment to visit the Meat Locker, we suggest you visit us during open hours for a convenient and reliable time to access your bin.

Unless otherwise stated on our Facebook Page, open hours are Thursdays from 3-6 pm in Press Bay Alley. Open hours run May through December (and close following the December Holiday Market at Press Bay Alley).

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.

Last updated April 29, 2020