Friday, February 12, 2010

Our first bulk meat purchase!

We've talked about it for years but we finally walked the walk. I've done lots of research on the benefit of buying grass fed beef (mainly the decrease in fat and the increase in Omega 3's) and I've searched local farms high and low. From my research, it ran from about $3-$6/lb fully processed. And there is every range from someone who posts on Craigslist (with bad grammer and spelling errors) to farmers who come highly recommended on many local eating sites yet have a wait list at least a year long to recieve their meat, yet still require a $250 deposit up front! I did end up finding our farm, Bare Family Farm on Craigslist, but he had a very nice ad with a link to a very informative and nice webpage.
In early December we actually went to the farm to visit and they were the nicest people. Showed us around the farm and even invited us in so our kiddos could warm up and play with their kids. The farm is a working farm, aka, not the picturesque farms you see in a issue of Martha Stewart Living, but overall very clean and a great set up for raising beef and their 4-H goats (their kid's projects for the county fair).

Three weekends ago we picked up our first bulk meat order from the butcher, 142 lbs, a 1/4 a side of beef. Just for anyone who is curious how much meat that actually is, here is pictures of everything on our counter.
We actually ended up giving my parent's about 50 lbs of it so after all that, it really isn't all that much. It will easily last us 4 months I'm sure though if we only eat beef 2-3 times per week.
And just in case anyone is interested, this is a picture of how our beef is marked. I was a little weary beforehand about knowing what was what, but I was so relieved to see the packages marked this way, with the date and what each item is.
For 142 lbs we got approx 40 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages), 6 packages Tbones steaks (3/4" steaks, 2 per package), 6 Ribeye Steaks (3/4" thick, 2 per package), 2 packages of soup bones, 2 or 3 packages of short ribs, 4 packages of beef stew meat, 5 packages of cube steak, a half of a flank steak and several roasts.
So hows the taste? This was probably my biggest concern is that we wouldn't like it. Overall, we do like it and will do it again. The biggest thing for us to get used to so far is one, not having large steaks. In a restaurant, we are used to being brought T-bone steaks that amost fall over the side of the plate. With grass fed beef, especially from a younger, smaller (aka, more tender) cow, the steaks are MUCH smaller then we are used to. BUT, we know this is the amount of steak we should be eating so it's just something to get used to. The other is more variety. We had flank steak the other night and it was great. Todd asked when we could have it again. Well, the next time we buy a cow since cows ony have one flank per side. But we like flank more often than this. So that is something we just need to get used to.
As for the taste, I think it's delicious. We made burgers the other night with the ground beef and they were just to die for. Steaks are okay, but we just arn't huge steak fans since we don't eat anything around the fat. Flank steak was incredible and we're looking forward to trying a roast, short ribs, and cube steak in this weeks menu.
Also stay tuned for my report on buying 1/4 pig (110 lbs). We're picking it up tomorrow. Not sure how it's going to fit in our already stuffed to the brim deep freezer and fridge freezer, but tomorrow morning I better get it figured out!

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