[QUOTE=PaulRomasco;870014]Annika, I also live in Vermont! (living in the Burlington area)
I have been on the hunt for a reasonably priced side of beef. I can't find anything under $7/lb however.
Are you paying $4.69 for grass-fed? Also, is that the hanging price or the price for the actual meat you're left with?
If you are paying 4.69 for the edible meat of half a grass-fed cow, do you mind if I ask what farm you get it from?
Thanks so much![/QUOTE]
My side of beef was $3.10/pound hanging weight. When I did the math last year, it worked out to about $4.60/pound of actual meat (I didn't mean to be so specific and type $4.69 - typo!). Plus I get all the bones I want for free. And the beef is all grass-fed - it's raised by a friend, so I know it's excellent quality. The farm is Badger Brook Meats in Danville.
Edit: here's a farm a bit closer to you: [URL]https://sites.google.com/site/lakewayfarm/beef-shares[/URL]
[QUOTE=Brent*;870133]I think I found a a few a little cheaper, but am curious about quality. How do you know what you are getting will even taste good? Spending several hundreds of dollars on beef is fine with me as long as it is top quality meat that most importantly tastes good. Curious how you guys make your decision on what farm to go with. I imagine farms don't offer refunds on your beef if it isn't good, or is not cut very good.
I would buy go to a few farmers' markets, ask around about who sells sides of beef, and buy a small amount from those farmers. Some farmers who don't sell at farmers' markets might sell small amounts off the farm - my beef supplier has self-serve freezers in her barn.
I can highly recommend these guys - [url=http://www.hemlockhighlands.net/priceinfo.html]Beef Price Information[/url] We've bought from them before and the beef was excellent. They aren't far north of Seattle, and you can request extra offal on butcher day. Their cattle are grass-fed, but I think they sweeten them up close to butchering with grain.
We have a newish operation in my area too - [url=http://bellingham.craigslist.org/grd/2988415949.html]Local Grass Fed Beef[/url] doing grass fed for $2.50 plus cut & wrap.
I do know that per head price for feeder calves has jumped a lot recently and it's pushing small ranchers out of the business. If a place isn't big & established enough to run its own cow/calves, they have to bump retail prices to make up the cost of buying stock.
We were able to raise 2 Dexter steers for about $3/lb take-home weight (I weighed everything as I put it in the freezer) but it was taxing on our little place. Now we're low on beef and starting to shop around ourselves. Looking at $1000 or so for a half. Good thing we'll have some pigs to send to freezer camp first.
Wow, I'm so jealous. The only place near my home that I've found selling grass fed beef sales it for $10 per pound. I asked about just ground beef last week and was told that was $50 for 5 pounds! I can't afford that so I'm still buying the beef in the grocery store.
[QUOTE=Brent*;869435]1/4 beef is sold at $7.45lb. Is this really the 'deal' you guys get?[/QUOTE]
I get mine for $2.80 / lb
It does my inner scotsman proud.
Sorry, there isn't a website for the source. :)
baby bacons...that made me laugh :)
Around my area you get double charged: you buy the beef for around $4-$6 a pound butcher weight (which if I understand them right is different than hanging weight*), then pay the butcher another $1-$3 for cut and wrap. I've yet to find anyone that will give me a flat price (ie for 50 pounds you pay xx amount and get so many steaks, roasts, pounds ground, etc)
(*How I understand it:
Butcher weight-weight of animal when it was killed
Hanging weight-weight of animal with skin, guts, and usually head and lower legs removed)
Yeah, that's how it works for us too. We get charged $2.50 / kg (about $1.20 / lb) per kg, plus $300 for the butcher and another $150 for petrol (to transport the dead and frozen cow to us, since it's about 4 hours away). When the dust settles that turns into about $6 /kg ($2.80 / lb).
I wouldn't mind but then the rancher usually says that a whole beef weighs between xx and yy and that 30% of weight is lost during the processing. But you've paid for that 30% because you pay the butcher weight to the rancher. Seems like money thrown away. I don't know, I may be misunderstanding how the whole thing works.
I think the taste question is also an important one. I have eating amazing grass-fed beef, but I have had some that was terrible. The first time I bulk purchased grass-fed beef I could not eat it. It was so gamey that is made me gag. I had to give it all to some friends who don't mind that taste.
I would ask if you could buy a few lbs of ground beef and a steak or two before buying a whole cow.
First there is Live Weight - self explanatory
Then there is Hanging Weight. The animal typically has lost its guts, head, feet, skin, and some water due to a bit of aging - 1/3 of the Live Weight has been lost at this point as an average, but that also depends on the breed of the animal. Some breeds give you better numbers.
Then there is Cut (Packaged) Weight. This is the hanging weight minus all the bones and fat trimmings and meat scraps you don't specifically say you want. As far as the meat habits around my location go, another 1/3 of the Live weight is lost.
And you have to pay the processor (butcher) to cut and package all this flesh for you. Usually a flat per pound price, depending on the kind of animal (processing deer around here is a different price than beef).
I was shocked the first time I bought a half beef - wasn't so much for a family of 6 heavy feeders as I had thought! - and later found out what I was giving away! I suggest you keep everything the law will let you have. Organs, tallow, scraps, bones, etc. This is nutritious stuff that you can use!
The loss is what jacks the price up.
At least, this is the typical thing for my area.
Edit: the 100% grass-fed guy I plan on visiting has a freezer full of cuts that you can buy to try his beef before you commit to larger orders.