$2 Million Worth of Wagyu Beef Is Headed to SF's Food Banks and Hospitals

The massive delivery of fancy beef will be cut into 35,000 steaks—worth $60 each—and distributed to several Bay Area organizations.
April 29, 2020, 7:19pm
wagyu steak beef
Photo: Shiho Fukada/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On its website, Snake River Farms says that eating its hand-crafted American Wagyu beef is a "delicious, life-changing experience." And although the family-owned farm is obviously trying to sell its expensive well-marbled cuts of meat, that "life-changing" part of the product description could be interpreted in a more literal sense now, too.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Snake River recently made a ridiculously generous donation to food banks in the Bay Area, transporting $2 million worth of its American Wagyu beef from Idaho to northern California. That massive delivery will be cut into 35,000 individual 10-ounce steaks—which would retail for $60 each—and then distributed to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, La Cocina, Meals on Wheels, and Self Help for the Elderly.

"It’s kind of a random thing to have come up, but it’ll be really nice to see people’s faces when they get something they really weren’t expecting,” Karunaratne Cheng, the founder of newly launched nonprofit TogetherSF, said. "It's so rewarding."

And residents of the Bay Area aren't the only ones who are benefiting from the farm's recent generosity. So far this month, Snake River and its parent company, Agri Beef, have donated 16,000 pounds of beef to the Idaho Foodbank, and it has also given 200,000 American Wagyu steaks to healthcare workers, restaurant employees, and food banks in Los Angeles, New York (both city and state), and Seattle.

In New York, more than 50,000 steaks were delivered to the 23 hospitals in the Northwell Health network, where they were either cooked on-site by hospital chefs, or given "uncooked and frozen" to employees and their families.

"We are firm believers that in times of crisis, food can bring comfort and healing," Jay Theiler, Snake River Farms executive director of marketing, told the Massapequa Observer. "While we are thousands of miles away, we care deeply and are grateful to everyone on the front lines that are risking their own health for the sake of all of us.”

Snake River says that its American Wagyu beef is the result of crossbreeding between imported Japanese cattle and "traditional" cattle breeds. It sells fresh dry-aged American Wagyu steaks on its website, which range from two 10-ounce American Wagyu filet mignon ($149, plus $49.99 shipping) to a 2.5-pound American Wagyu tomahawk ribeye ($199 plus shipping). It also has recently started to offer frozen "Bulk Provisions," which start at $125 for 12 pounds of American Wagyu ground beef and top out at $749 for 12 American Wagyu New York Strips.

VICE has reached out to Agri Beef for comment but has not yet received a response.

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