Our Christmas Cow

We have 1/8 of a cow in our freezer.

That may not sound like much, but it's about 50 pounds. If we eat one pound of beef a week, the 1/8 of a cow won't last us until next Christmas, to put it in perspective.

How did we end up with 50 pounds of beef in our freezer, and more importantly, why?


Well, we just went over to our friend's farm & picked it up. Obviously. How do YOU get YOUR beef? The farmer who raised the cow had dropped it off earlier that day, and we were splitting the quarter-cow with another couple, so we went over to pick up our share. Our "cowshare", or, the trendier name, "cowpooling". That's right, we're trendy. All in all, it wasn't a bad deal. The beef was $4 a pound, and that's pricy if you're used to buying just on-sale ground beef at the grocery store, but when you take into account the quality of the meat PLUS the fact we got a good number of steaks & roasts in the mix, it was a fabulous deal.


This is the important part.

Josh & I both read The Omnivore's Dilemma earlier this year. Really interesting book. I recommend it. The author, a journalist, traces his food to the source, and talks about "factory farming", "industrial organic," sustainable-farming, and hunter-gatherer sources of food. There was a lot more that could be said about all of the types of food sources, but at the end of it all, we were convinced that cows were meant to eat grass, food policy is too slanted towards corn, and we wanted to gradually work towards eating more sustainably. One step in that was finding a source of local, grass-fed, free-range, organic beef. We're also concerned about the sources of our poultry, dairy, & pork, but beef was a starting place for us.
Baby steps.
And this was a baby step that filled our freezer.

What did YOU find in your stocking? A train set, silk ties, or raw meat?


Alisse Goldsmith said...

I have a question: Did the cow come ground, cut and in reasonable sizes? Meaning, did you have to break down the animal like a butcher?

Matt was trying to convince his dad to do this over Christmas. I think it's a fantastic idea! People could come out to the farm, pick out their cow, and it would go off to the butcher and returned to the buyer!

Joanna said...

Yes, the beef came cut into traditional cuts- including the liver, oxtail, and tongue! With many farmers, you can request how many of what cuts you want (within reason), thickness of steaks or whether you prefer the ground beef made into patties. Buyers don't actually pick out their cow (that picture is from the state fair), but the farmer will know how many he will have available for a given season and can line up buyers accordingly. My friends have split a side of beef or half-a-side of beef before, and it works out great for everyone.

People end up with healthier, higher quality meat and the cuts they want AND the local sustainable farmer is being supported directly, It's a win-win.

David Swindle said...

Very jealous is The Dave. I want 1/8th of a cow in our freezer! (Not that we have the room.) I've shared this post on Facebook. I'll let you know if any of my friends have any amusing comments.

See you soon,

Joanna said...

To add: Slate has an article about the beef industry up today

becksfamilyfarm said...

If anyone is interested we raise 100% grassfed beef at our family farm and have customers from Fort Wayne to Bloomington. We are taking orders now for beef that will be ready in the Fall. We also raise lamb that are fed only grain and hay no hormones or antibiotics.
You can visit us at www.becksfamilyfarm.com



Blog Widget by LinkWithin