I would like you meet our new cow, Filet:
And our new pig, Wilbur:
We recently ordered them and are so excited to finally
meat meet them! It’s been a long time coming, but they are finally part of the family.
Ok, I’m totally kidding! Sort of. Ya’ll know how much I talk about grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, and we finally bit the bullet. We are the proud owners of a cow and a pig…that are not currently living.
Ever since we started our Paleo journey (and read this book), I wanted to get the best meats I could for our family. I’ve mentioned the two places I found in Dallas (here and here), and have talked about getting grass-fed and pasture-raised meats at Farmer’s Markets, so this was a natural progression for us. Once I found a rancher I trusted and had him tell me every.single.thing he could about his animals, I was sold…literally.
I happened to mention it to a few neighbors and they said they would love to go in on it, so I placed the order three weeks ago and YESTERDAY it arrived at my house. The guy I’ve been talking with, Melvyn from Northstar Ranch in Krum, TX, actually delivered our order to my front door instead of me having to go to his warehouse. Score!
Fifteen boxes later, we divvied up the cow (basically half) with one couple and gave another couple about 70 pounds of meat. The neighbors across the street wanted to split a pig so we placed that order at the same time as well. Needless to say, we are stocked for some time and I get to experiment with different cuts of meat that I’ve never cooked before (like oxtail). I also got all the marrow bones, since no one wanted them, so I can make a boat load of bone broth and eat the tasty marrow.
After talking to Melvyn, and hearing the horror stories of feedlot cattle (CAFOs), I knew I made a good choice. He stands by his calves and they are NEVER given antibiotics, hormones, or grains. They get what all cows should have-fresh air, sunshine, and grass. That’s it.
If you can’t tell, I’m giddy knowing my freezers are stock full of fresh, antibiotic-free meats. Seriously, I couldn’t sleep the night before, knowing our meat was coming and hoping we had enough room for it all. I know this will help with my budget and keep us set for at least six months…depending on how much Emma eats.
In case you’re wondering what it cost, I can only tell you what I paid, others may be different so just be aware. I’m not sure if all ranchers do it this way, but there’s a live weight (animal is alive) and a hanging weight (animal is dead but still intact) that gets figured into the cost. I had Josh (the enginerd) figure out the exact costs for me ‘cuz that’s what he does best. The breakdown looks like this:
922 pounds live weight (each cow will vary) x $2.04/pound = $1880.88
537 pounds hanging weight (all parts still intact) x $0.69/pound = $370.53
*other costs (slaughter, steak charge, tenderizing, bone out chuck, disposal) = $79
324 pounds live weight (pig will vary) x $2.04/pound = $660.96
240 pounds hanging weight x $0.69/pound = $165.60
*other costs (slaughter, cure and smoke, sausage, disposal) = $58.62
Not sure if that made any sense, but since one neighbor only wanted $300 worth of cow, the other neighbor along with us paid a total of $1461.50 for our part of cow and pig (split in half). Melvyn said it came to $4.50/pound, but Josh figured it out to be $4.35/pound for the cow and $3.69/pound for the pig. Dang, I love that
I wish I could tell you how much weight-wise we ended up with (15 boxes x 50 pounds each = 750 pounds), but I can’t. I wouldn’t put it past myself to calculate how much meat we have of each animal, but trust me, it’s A LOT. I have ground sausage and beef coming out my ears…and I’m not complaining one bit.
Is it a lot of money? Probably. Is it worth it if I can ward off an early period for Emma? You can bet your bottom dollar.
That’s the rundown of how we came into buying our own cow and pig (who knew it’d be so wordy?). Check out the sources around you and/or ask people if they know anyone who sells the whole animal (or ask a rancher if you can just buy half). It wasn’t until I discovered Northstar Ranch at the Farmer’s Market, and my nutritionist told me about buying a whole cow, that I would have even entertained the idea. It’s a great feeling knowing I’m supporting local and not putting crap into our bodies (especially being pregnant).