Buying a Quarter (or Side) of Grass Fed Beef (and other local meats)
I'm about to take the plunge and purchase my first (probably) quarter or (maybe) side of beef, and I was looking for recommendations from people who've done this sort of thing before. Anyone have any personal experiences they would like to relate?
Things I'd like to know:
Where did you buy?
What (amount) did you get?
How was the quality?
Would you do it again?
If you have experiences with Goat, Lamb or Pig, I'd also be interested in that. We just bought a big ol' chest freezer, and Mama's looking to fill 'er up.
Hi, Delairen. I might be able to help you especially with the quality question. Or more accurately, how to increase the chances you'll get a beef with a flavor & texture that appeals to you (it will vary by farm, breed, diet, aging time/technique, and talent). I'm not sure whether you can find my email through Chow - if not, you can find it on my site.
One simple word of advice - see if you can get a sample of a small steak and some burger (it's worth paying for it) before you buy the 1/4 or 1/2. While with grass-fed beef (or any pastured meat) flavor will vary throughout the year as the forage and age of the livestock changes, you should get some idea of whether you like the meat from that particular farm/breed etc.
We've bought a whole steer twice from Double-Bar-O Angus Ranch in Esparto. The taste is incredible -- meat with an almost floral scent and grassy, light fat. (If that makes sense!) The steer is grass-fed and dry-aged after harvest at least 3 weeks. The last steer we bought was 1600 lbs on the hoof but significantly less after dry-aging. (We split the meat between 12 people/households.) I will absolutely do it again; it's practically the only way we buy beef now. Last year it was $1.30/pound on the hoof. Not sure of the exact harvest and butchering fees. We did have it butchered and frozen locally in Esparto and they were very accommodating about our preferences. You should let the rancher know in advance (before harvest) which organ meats etc. you want to keep.
Hi Delairen, we also are looking into buying a side of grass fed beef. We have a farm in Vacaville already in mind though, Nature's Bounty, we just need someone to go in on it with us. You have to buy the whole cow. It's a dollar a pound, significantly less than other venues in the area, mainly because there are no courtesies provided. They will cut it into equal amounts of steaks and cubes, with bone. They don't debone, shrink wrap, pack or custom-cut. You pick it up in bulk bags, NOT FROZEN--you have to take it home and wrap yourself. Just let me know if you'd be interested. misskoral at yahoo.com
211 G St, Antioch, CA 94509