We bought a cow! (well, half)

by Melody on July 3, 2014

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My husband and I have talked for years about buying a quarter or half of a cow from a local farmer and stocking our freezer with meat, but just have yet to find time to make it a priority. Talking with a friend at the gym recently, she was telling me about a guy she knew who had retired from the police force and was raising a few cows for fun and wanted to sell. The cows were grass-fed and very local and the price was outrageous! $3.69 per pound pre-butcher and after butcher just over $4 per pound. We will pay this for a quality ground beef at the grocery store, but this is an outstanding price for roasts, flank steak, T-bone steaks and more.

This opportunity just plopped in our lap and I’m so thankful. All we had to do was talk to the butcher and give instructions on preferred cuts and thickness and pick it up. So easy! There are a few reasons we have been talking about this as an option:

Supporting local farmers and local economy – We would support our local economy with every purchase if it was financially possible.  We try as much as possible because generally the produce is more delicious and the meat and eggs are so fresh, but it can be a budget buster.  LOVE that we were able to support local at such a reasonable price.

Higher quality and more nutritious meat – We all know that conventional beef found in the grocery store is cheaper, so it can be hard to justify the price of grass-fed or local beef without knowing the facts.  From my research, I’ve found out that grass-fed beef contains more vitamins, more antioxidants, more omega-3 fats (and the right balance of fats) and is one of the only natural sources of CLA.  CLA is an omega-6 fat that helps aid weight loss and increase lean muscle, along with a host of other benefits.

grass-fed beef contains more vitamins, more antioxidants, more omega-3 fats (and the right balance of fats) and is one of the only natural sources of CLA.  CLA is an omega-6 fat that helps aid weight loss and increase lean muscle, along with a host of other benefits. – See more at: http://www.beautifulfrugallife.com/2012/07/the-great-food-revolution-of-2012-making-the-switch-to-grass-fed-beef-or-pastured-poultry-and-pork/#sthash.EI7mrqtZ.dpuf

The price! Holy steaks. - This one speaks for itself.  Honestly, not that much more expensive than conventional beef.

Not having to watch sales and run to the store – I’m quite literally the world’s most impulsive impulse shopper.  If I have to run to the store for one thing, not only is it not very economical but I end up with 6 extra pounds of produce, some sort of specialty cheese and a new tank top.  I’m the worst.  Having a freezer full of meat, combined with pre-paid produce from our Community Supported Agriculture program, I rarely have to step foot in the store.

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Now, we did have to scout out a deal on a new freezer. We have two fridges with small freezers on top, but we would have completely maxed out our space, with no room for anything else. We ended up with about 200 pounds of beef, so went with a stand alone freezer over a chest so we could easily see what we had. We found a used freezer for about $150 (total steal) that came with a 6-month warranty! While our initial purchase of beef cost us this extra $150 for the freezer, hopefully it is a one-time purchase that will get us through a few more cows.

It’s such a blessing to not have to run to the store for meat. I’ll keep us stocked in chicken by watching sales at the store, but the beef will be such a great time saver. Every Monday in our family is taco salad night and it was such a giant pain to run to the store for one thing if I forgot ground beef in my weekly shopping. Love that I just have to walk out to the freezer and it’s so accessible. And SO delicious.

Some of our favorite ground beef recipes (because we now have a LOT):

Links and Resources for more information:

  • Eat Wild – Search for meat, poultry, pork and more in your local area

Do you have a great local resource for grass-fed beef?

What are your favorite recipes using ground beef?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Thompson July 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Will you include the cost of the cow in your monthly budget for groceries? Such as dividing the cost by 6 or 12 months, however long you expect the meat to last? I ask because sometimes bloggers boast about having a super low monthly grocery budget but they don’t include purchases such as this in their monthly budget. Curious how you will work that out?

Reply

Melody July 4, 2014 at 7:07 am

That’s a really good question! We took the whole chunk of money out of savings and didn’t include in the monthly budget at all. I have seen other people take a small chunk out of their budget each month and set it aside to purchase something like this, but our grocery budget is wildly out of control right now so that would have taken forever.

We normally wouldn’t take it out of savings, but it was such a fantastic deal and really hard to pass up.

And I’m nowhere near the point to boast about our budget. We need an intervention! :)

Reply

Chris Stephan July 4, 2014 at 6:45 am

Would you be willing to share your farmer contact info? We have been trying to find a good deal on buying beef and have run into dead ends.

Reply

Jodi July 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

We do this! We love it. The quality and flavor are amazing, and knowing I’m not subsidizing cruelty makes it completely worth it. I’m in Eugene, and we buy from northern lights Christmas tree farm, in case anyone down here was looking for a good source. I’ve had success with Craigslist before too. A little over $4/lb after all cut/wrap fees is standard, so if you see anyone advertising grass fee for way less on Craigslist, be skeptical. That’s why we switched to northern lights; less wondering.

Reply

Claire July 9, 2014 at 6:40 pm

How much more electricity/cost do you think running your exta freezer will be?

Reply

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