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Thread: Grass fed cattle, advice on how to buy straight from the ranch? page

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    jmsmall's Avatar
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    Grass fed cattle, advice on how to buy straight from the ranch?

    Primal Fuel
    I have just met a rancher who runs his cattle out in the pasture in the mountains. Bunch of nice fat beasts wandering the hills eating. My inner grok salivates. I was thinking of offering to buy one of the steers from them and getting it butchered and frozen away.

    Anyone done this? How much per pound do I offer? From the economics I assume the poundage goes up when the rancher either "grain finishes" or sends the cattle to someone who does, so the price per pound should be higher for grass fed than grain finished for the rancher to do OK.

    Then do you arrange with the rancher and a butcher to get the animal carved up? Do you rent a storage locker? Going to Safeway is so much easier! Then also the butcher should be able to include heart, tongue, liver?

    Another question, how is preparation different for grass-fed than corn/soy fed beef?
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    jmsmall's Avatar
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    Hm. Elk season is coming up. Wonder if the butcher would be suspicious if I showed up with black and white spotted, very large and fat, variant of "elk" in the back of the tahoe...
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    APPLEGIRL's Avatar
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    I would ask him if he sells half (sides) or quarters. If he does, ask him what he charges, if it's trimmed and packaged, and approximately how much meat you end up with. Generally the rancher has someone to process and package for him.

    If you want an entire animal, bear in mind that the price he quotes you by the pound is probably for the animal as it is, you will have considerably less pounds delivered to you once it's trimmed out, which brings the price up per pound. That's also a huge amount of meat, but if you have a large family, it could work out well for you.

    Buying a half or quarter is the most common way to buy bulk beef. You would need a freezer. 1/2 (or a side) would probably fill a chest freezer, 1/4 a smaller freezer.

    Sounds yummy! Good luck!

    As an aside, my beef provider stopped doing whole animals, as people's expectations were not realistic. It sounds like your rancher is probably willing to educate you and inform you. They are your best resource. Start by talking to them.
    Last edited by APPLEGIRL; 09-12-2013 at 12:25 PM.

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    It is not likely that a farmer will just sell you a live cow and that you'll haul that cow off to the abattoir. Heck, they probably won't even let your cow in the door, or if they do, it'll be expensive. If a local rancher can sell you his beef, he will do that. Otherwise he can possibly tell you what ranchers locally can sell you beef. If you cannot find local beef, try something like US Wellness Meats. Their beef and delivery is excellent.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
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    jmsmall's Avatar
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    Yeah, talked to them, it's going to take some time. I'd need to buy a calf and let them raise it for another year for next fall; the calves are "only" up to 650 lbs and they say you normally want a 1300 pounder. That's a lot of meat! Will keep you all posted as to how this develops. Worth trying of course...
    10/2/12: 169 lbs, 37"waist
    Now: low 150's, 33" waist
    Blog: http://paleopathologist.com/

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    fixer's Avatar
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    Check on Local Harvest.

    Search - LocalHarvest

    Here in Los Angeles, I buy from Rainbow Ranch Farms. Just split up a grass-fed/grass-finished beyond organic steer with some friends last week, 270# of beef including offal & bones. That came from a 450# Irish Dexter steer, a heritage breed that isn't supersized like many commercial breeds tend to be.
    Last edited by fixer; 09-12-2013 at 05:13 PM.

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    CaveBug's Avatar
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    Eatwild is a good website. You should be able to find beef in your area and get a good feel for prices and what ranchers do as far as processing goes.


    Sent from....right behind you....
    You are an animal on this planet and the rules of engagement are non negotiable.

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