The concern about the meat needing to be “trucked in” is really a moot point – the grocery stores have to truck it in too. Any producer who wants to serve any metro area is faced with that business reality – we truck meats into the SeaTac metro area as a normal part of our business. I don’t know of any meats producer who doesn’t.
The point is, there are farmers and ranchers who live, work and deliver product in/around SoCal. I know this because a number of them are on my various farming lists, and they’ve mentioned in passing in the past which areas of SoCal they serve. Most of them have multiple drop-off points throughout the region where they meet up with their customers. And that’s just the folks who happen to be on the lists I also happen to be on. Also keep in mind that so-called urban hometeading is alive and well, with a LOT of folks raising meats right within city limits (usually not cows, but sometimes). You might have a rabbit or poultry or goat/sheep or hog producer within 1/2 mile of you and never know unless you start looking for them. Think you’re too urban and your neighborhood too crowded for livestock? Four rabbits in a basement or a backyard can keep a family in meat all year round. Eight rabbits produce enough to sell, and take up as much room as a sheet of plywood. So yea, you can have meats production right on your own city block and never know unless you ask.
Aside from getting lucky with word of mouth, that localharvest.org website is one of the best ways to find them. Or, you could go to any ethnic grocery store near you, and ask them where they get their meats from. A lot of times, it’s someone regional who could sell to you directly and you’d thus avoid the grocery store’s markup. Sometimes that markup is 50%. I know for our customers, if they bought our meat from the grocery store rather than from us, they’d pay roughly double at the grocery store what they pay us, thanks to that markup. So it can definitely be worth your while to make the effort to hunt down nearby producers.
You asked for ways to cut costs; if you spend a lot of money on meat, this is how you can cut that cost. Whether you decide to pursue this option is entirely up to you.