lettuce continue

Alrighty… since we started this conversation on beef, let’s go ahead and wrap it up, eh?

It’s not necessarily cheaper to buy local beef in bulk any more. You’ll remember from last time that the industry has become so efficient that it’s nearly impossible for a local farmer to be able to match grocery store prices.

We are a society that links convenience with choice with quality. Unfortunately, those three things are seldom found in the same package.  We walk into a store and expect socks, crackers, and motor oil to all be available… and on sale.  When we scream through the produce aisle, we want bananas and tomatoes and peppers all the time… seasons be damned.  The meat counter is no exception.  We want family-packs of chicken breast- 12 pieces. That’s 6 birds in one package, folks. Doubtful they came from the same farm. We want our ground beef the same way: in bulk and on sale. The problem is, the beef you’re looking at? Those beautiful steaks? All from different cows from different farms with different programs and weather and feed and families. That’s not choice, Friends. That’s supply.

Which is FINE if you’re ok with less control over your food.  There are really good options at the store.  But there are really good options right around the corner, too.

What if you could pay the same amount for your beef… maybe slightly more… a have it all cut exactly to your preference? Be assured the ground beef you are eating is from one cow, from one farm as opposed to a combination of hundreds of cows from all across the country? Know the farmer and the family and the lifestyle of that food your fueling your life with? Yes. I would pay for that.  I would. I do, now. Honestly, before we started this whole farm, I’d never really given it much thought.

beef cuts

You have a choice… a real choice. You can look up a local farmer who has a little extra to sell… just like our family. You can make a decision based on distance and feed options and plain ol’ personality instead of blindly tossing a plastic-wrapped package into your cart.  I bet there’s food nearby you didn’t even know about.  These websites will help you out:

There are some negatives, of course.  You have to pay up front. You won’t have an endless supply of porterhouse steaks like the grocery store.  The butcher prolly isn’t right around the corner, so it may be a drive to pick up your order.  And, of course, you have to be able to store the meat you buy.  A quarter of a cow fits in a freezer the size of the one that came with your fridge- about 5 cubic-feet of space. And a quarter of a cow will easily feed a couple or small family for a year. A quarter from our farm costs about $500 and gets you about 100 pounds of beef. (Remember, longhorns are slightly smaller than traditional beef cattle.)  That works out to $9 per week- for steaks, for stew meat, for ground beef… all cut and packaged exactly how you like it, from one animal.  Three-pound roasts? No problem. Two steaks in a package, one-inch thick? Great. Pre-cut hamburgers? Absolutely.  All from one source- that you hand-picked.

THAT is choice, Friends. 

I think it’s an easy choice. It’s not an easy transition, what with the planning ahead and the interviewing famers and buying a little freezer and everything. I know.  It does take a little effort initially. But, it’s worth every penny. I don’t want you paying supermarket prices for a sub-par product.  Next year, take that same amount of money… everything you spent on meat for one year, and put it into a local farmer’s operation. You’ll get better meat and more peace of mind.

PLUS, some of those farmers? They’re really fun people, and you’d be glad to know them.

Next week, we’ll talk real quick-like about how the pricing actually breaks down. It involves spreadsheets and division for the nerd in all of us.

Some of you were interested in how longhorn nutrition compares to other meat.  Here ya go:

nutrition table

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

11 responses to “lettuce continue

  • Jim B

    Buying locally is a good thing for sure. The dollars spend near you mostly stay there. We now have a small grocery near us that sells natural products, mostly from MI, and he is getting more business every day. I believe the number of people are growing who think as we.
    It just feels good and tastes better. We just need another freezer. 😃🎿🚲

  • Amy B.

    Thanks to your links, I discovered – as you said – a beef farm just 5 miles from us. $4.50 per pound. Next availability in June – I will put my order in this week. Thank you for pushing me to do something I’ve pondered for awhile. Next will check out chicken farm a little further away.

  • Heather P

    Thanks for the information! Being diabetic and having my DS daughter being diabetic, we have to watch what we eat. Hope it’s okay that I copied your pics and saved them to my computer for future reference.

  • Amy Reda-Freiberg

    I am a vegetarian, but my husband and oldest son are not. Do you sell a smaller amount of beef for people that do not et it often?

  • wildramp

    Great write-up. The next best thing to buying a half or quarter cow is to shop at a local farm market like The Wild Ramp in Huntington, WV. One of only 3 of its kind in the U.S., The Wild Ramp has products (produce, meats, dairy, eggs and much much more) from farms within 150 miles. The blogger (me! what fun!) visits each to verify they are producing what they bring in for sale and also to learn the farming practice and then share it all with the consumers. Until people understand that they stuff in the supermarket is not the same food our grandparents ate, they won;t switch. But as soon as they do really understand this, they look for options.

  • Margie

    I have to confess I’m one of those who’ve never given much thought to this (although, we rarely eat steaks – well, never). But this just – well – makes me want to ponder this a bit more. Thanks, K.

  • Missy

    Nope. I am not okay with have less control over my food. And quite frankly, I do believe you are doing those of us who read a huge service in letting us know that we have choices. Choices are good.

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