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.
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.
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):
- Meatza- Pizza with a meat crust. Genius!
- Asian Ground Beef, Mushroom and Broccoli Slaw Lettuce Cups
- Tacos de Matamoros - Best taco meat recipe EVER and so easy. No more store bought!
Links and Resources for more information:
- Grass-Fed Beef Directory – Search by state to find farms near you
- Great tips on finding and buying grass-fed beef – Once a Month Mom
- Localharvest.org – Easily search by zip code to find farms in your area
- Eat Wild – Search for meat, poultry, pork and more in your local area
- The Great Food Revolution of 2012 – I wrote this series a few years ago and researched all kinds of topics from eggs to produce to beef. Lots of good info!
Do you have a great local resource for grass-fed beef?
What are your favorite recipes using ground beef?
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