We’re finally biting the bullet and buying a side of beef! This is something I’ve dreamed of doing basically since college and now that we’re in our own house, this was the right time. I’m going to sell a little of it (about 20 pounds) to my parents, but the rest is all ours.
Why did we decide to do this?
- I want to try new cuts of beef (and consequently new recipes and maybe even techniques). This includes growing in appreciation for the traditionally less-desirable cuts.
- I want to shift more of our food budget to buying grassfed (and local) meat and this is a much more affordable way to do so than buying individual cuts. I think it’s important to do this to support local farmers and also for our health.
- We’re the kind of people who love paying for things in a lump sum. I know that’s pretty unique, but I think it’s easier to budget this way. I lowered my grocery budget for the next year and I’ll shop the freezer instead of the store.
There are a few things you have to decide before making this purchase. Mainly, where are you going to buy from? It will help you choose a farm if you can prioritize your wants. Here are some of the things we considered when choosing a farm:
- Is it important to you if the beef is grass-finished?
- How local do you want to purchase your meat?
- Are you able to pick it up or have it delivered?
- How will the meat be packaged?
- How much does it cost? What is the pricing structure?
I looked at a few places (it should come as no surprise to anyone that I put them all in a spreadsheet to compare) but ultimately wound up picking a farm that made the process extremely easy. Their beef is 100% grassfed and they’re located about 2 hours from St. Louis. I had a choice of having my meat vacuum-wrapped or shrink-wrapped (I chose to pay extra for vacuum-wrapping so it will last longer) and will have it delivered to a drop-off location in St. Louis. Their pricing was a flat rate instead of paying a deposit, butcher fee, the hanging weight, etc. I appreciated how simple the process was, including payment via Paypal.
They also had a worksheet on their website for me to fill out specifying the cuts I wanted. I was able to go through it and choose what we wanted. I erred on the side of more roasts, since I figured those could be cut into stew meat or ground at home if I decided I wanted to something else with them, but not vice versa. I even got to pick the thickness of each kind of steak!
We’ll be picking up the meat at the end of October. Until then, we’re trying to eat the last few pounds of beef I had frozen and have purchased a chest freezer. I can’t wait for pick-up day!