Buying The Cow...

Lounge By lepaz Updated 26 Jun 2008 , 1:45am by barbaranoel

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lepaz Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 6:10pm
post #1 of 18

And no, it's not how it sounds. I'm already married, so he bought the cow and is dealing with it now! icon_rolleyes.gif
Anyways, with four kids and the way prices are going up, I am thinking about buying meat from a local farmer (where they grow them on pastures, no antibiotics, all natural), I hear they taste great. My thing is, unless it's on sale I don't buy hamburger and the sale meat is usually real fatty. So, I heard where you can buy a whole, half or 1/4th cow, they take care of the messy stuff and cut it to your specifications and you can freeze it and use it when you need to. By my calculations, it's usually cheaper that buying at the grocery store and you're supporting your local farmer, so my question is this: Has anyone ever tried this?? If so, did you like it? How much did you buy? How did you pick the farm you chose?

17 replies
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TooMuchCake Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 6:14pm
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Yes, I've done it several times. Be sure that you are comfortable dealing with your butcher, though. I've had a bait-and-switch done on me twice and I don't put up with it any more. Last time we bought a beef, we bought it from a farmer who raises his own beef, lamb and chicken antibiotic-free and and fed with natural feeds. I have an upright freezer and we filled it up. The meat was very good, and we would do it again if we weren't about to move house and wouldn't have a way to move the meat to another state... I'll have to find another trustworthy butcher or farmer when we get where we're going.


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lepaz Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 6:48pm
post #3 of 18

Thanks Deanna.
What kind of bait and switch did they do? I'm trying to do my research and did not think of anything like that.

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TooMuchCake Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 7:12pm
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Are you looking at ads in the newspaper? Are they offering some ridiculous "I can't afford NOT to" price? Twice I've fallen for that, only to get to the butcher and be told "Oh, you don't want that package. It's mostly fat and soup bones. Do you make a lot of soup? No? Do you make a lot of soap? No? Then this isn't the right package for you. You want the $$$ package..."

The farmer we got our last beef from also sold meats at the big farmer's market near here. You may want to look into that if there is a large farmer's market near you. And be prepared for a lot of hamburger or sausage. That doesn't bother us because we like burgers and tacos. Just FIY.

If you have a health foods store in your area that sells fresh meats, you could possibly get a name of a farmer in there, but don't hold your breath because the stores understandably would rather you bought your meat from them.


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indydebi Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 7:36pm
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As my hubby explained to me, there's a method called "Buying it on the hoof" ... you're paying for the cow. Period. Pretty much they walk the cow onto the scale and calculate your price based on that weight. But once it's butchered, they throw away the hide, a lot of bones, those yucky intestines, etc. So what you're left with is WAY less than "on the hoof" weight. Oh yeah ... they also add in the butchering fee. This method is used mostly at things like 4-H cattle buying, some farmers, etc.

Just be sure that the price you see is the price you pay.

(Kinda like buying a wedding cake .... here's the base price, then add design charge, then delivery charge, then fondant charge, then a charge per figurine, etc. etc.! icon_lol.gif )

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lepaz Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 8:02pm
post #6 of 18

Good to know. I'm researching local farms that publicize on the web, I like the ones that offer tours of their facilities and pastures. As far as the pricing, I've seen a couple of different methods, but not the on the hoof kind...yet. The kind I found is where they weigh them after they're "passed", gutted, no head or legs, but I will keep my eye out for the "on the hoof"-I don't think I would go that way anyways, not financially smart for me.
So far, the prices are averaging around 2-3.00 a lbs not including, butcher cost and I don't mind ground beef either, since that's what we mostly go through in our house. I'm hearing alot about Bison meat too, not sure if I would buy one, I think I would try it though...

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TooMuchCake Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 8:19pm
post #7 of 18

When I've bought beef, it's been hanging weight. There is still some loss because of bones and fat, but much less than on the hoof. You're far more likely to find prices based on hanging weight.


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mbelgard Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 10:09pm
post #8 of 18

Meat obtained from a farmer is WAY better than what you get from the grocery store, especially the hamburger.

I don't actually buy mine, my FIL raises cows to butcher and we raid his freezer. It's my favorite grocery store because it's free. icon_lol.gif

I do know that there are several methods of purchasing the animal and many terms. "Live weight" is another term for paying for all the weight. Depending on the price it may be just as cheap though since the price per pound is often lower than they would charge for a skinned animal. Remember you aren't getting just hamburger.

You have to watch butcher shops, there are plenty of stories about people not getting as much back as they should or some or all of their meat getting switched with an inferior animal. Example: they take some of your t-bones and give you hamburger from another animal.

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Kiddiekakes Posted 22 Jun 2008 , 10:17pm
post #9 of 18

We buy our meat exclusively from a small Butcher in a small town outside the big city.We order our "Meat orders" about every 8-9 months and we state which cuts we want....what kinds of steaks....ribs...etc.They always ask us whether we want soup bones etc with the junk stuff.We also order an extra 50 lbs of lean ground beef and about 50 lbs of bacon since he raises everything.Cow,chickens,lamb.pigs etc..I would recommend it but you do have to do your homework and make sure you know what you are getting in advance. The ground beef is lean...Farm bacon...nothing like it!! With the rising cost of everything now a days you have to be frugal with your money..I know I am more aware of what I buy and the price.

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indydebi Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 12:35am
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by Kiddiekakes

Farm bacon...nothing like it!!

omg you are so right! Hubby's sister slaughtered a hog at Christmas and gave everyone fresh pork as Christmas gifts. At first I thought "how odd!" to hand someone a pack of bacon and say Merry Christmas! icon_lol.gif

But buddy as soon as I cooked and ate that bacon, I was on the phone asking, "When are you butchering the next one? Huh? Huh? When? Soon? Will it be soon?" icon_biggrin.gif

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lepaz Posted 23 Jun 2008 , 2:39am
post #11 of 18


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7yyrt Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 6:34pm
post #12 of 18

Bacon cups for a BLT...

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TooMuchCake Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 6:58pm
post #13 of 18


Just finished a vegetarian lunch and I come see the bacon cups... Oh, you are cruel. icon_smile.gif LOL


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7yyrt Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 9:00pm
post #14 of 18

Well, they're low-carb... Image heh, heh

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Bettycrockermommy Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 9:52pm
post #15 of 18
Originally Posted by 7yyrt

Bacon cups for a BLT...

yum. ....I want one!! icon_lol.gif

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indydebi Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 10:01pm
post #16 of 18

Ok, that pic just went into my "Ideas to Steal" file!!!

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dinas27 Posted 25 Jun 2008 , 10:37pm
post #17 of 18

nothing like beef straight from the farm! My parents tried the 'farm gate' selling for a while but people generally do not want to purchase a 1/2 steer. They only want the cuts they want... not the round steaks, stew meat etc. People would call wanting only steak for $3 a pound!

Personally I would want to buy 'on the hoof' if I was buying from a farmer I didnt know. That way you know what you are eating. That means buying live weight which is lower than what you would pay for butchered meat.

The biggest thing to be concerned about is the abattoir, the farm you buy from can probably recommend a good one. Some abattoirs are known to skim off the top - taking a little of each order for themselves, 'mix up' orders, etc.

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barbaranoel Posted 26 Jun 2008 , 1:45am
post #18 of 18

I just got quotes for 1/2 a beef - $1.39lb for the beef and $.39lb additional charge for butchering and wrapping!

They will cut it for us the way we want (inch, 1/2in steaks, more hamburger than "odd" cuts or more steaks, etc.)


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