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Apr 24, 2012 09:31 AM

Any place to get a reasonably priced side of beef?

My husband and I have been doing a CSA share with Chestnut Farms, and the meat is great, for the most part. It's just pricey ($8+/lb). We wanted to see if it's possible to purchase a 1/4 or 1/2 of a side of beef, but I can't seem to find a farm in the area that does this for any less than what we're already paying. Stillman's does, but it comes out to about $10/pound. We'd love to find something pasture-raised but cheaper than $8/lb. Is this a pipe dream in this area?

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    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

      Houde family farm advertises $4/lb, hanging weight.

      I use them for meat CSA, $8-9 per lb, but have made a concious decision that I prefer knowing where my meat is coming from and how it is processed, as opposed to the $1.99/lb grocery store special (with pink slime, etc


      Plus, it tastes better.

      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        Yes, but their meat isn't pasture-raised. All the beef is fed grain, which, for me, defeats the purpose.

        1. re: makinitgreen

          According to the website, the steers are 95% grass-fed. This is pretty consistent with how most dairy farms raise beef: they are pastured with the dairy cows and finished with some additional grain and silage before slaughter. The process adds a little fat (and flavor) to the beef and is nothing like feed-lot grain-stuffed commercial beef.

          1. re: weg

            Thanks, Weg. When I called them to inquire about whether they were grass-fed, the woman said no. I told her it was fine if they were grain-finished, but she said, no, they were just raised on grain. Maybe she didn't know her facts. Another good resource to consider, though. I'll check into it again just to see if their prices are even better.

        2. re: Jenny Ondioline

          This reply thing isn't working properly. I meant to respond to Jenny. It's Blood Farm's meat that isn't pasture-raised.

          Tdaaa, thanks for the info on the Houde family farm. I'll check it out!

        3. This is a (very) long shot but you could try these folks. Though they seem to be doing more dairy than beef these days.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Aromatherapy

            Tdaaa, great suggestion. David Houde sells half of a cow and whole pigs for about $6.67/pound of the final product. That's a pretty significant savings for people who eat a lot of meat the way we do. We think we're going to spring for it. Just need to get a chest freezer! That much meat will probably last us 9 months to a year.

            Here's the math, in case it helps someone else:
            It comes out to about $1600 up front for half a cow and a full pig, plus the cost of the freezer (you'll need a 14 cu foot freezer for this much meat). If you go through 25 pounds of meat/month as we do, it comes to about $165/month instead of the $225 we've been paying through the CSA. In 9 months, you'd save almost $600 doing it this way. Plus, the freezer is a one-time cost, unless you already have one, in which case it would be even less per month.

            1. re: makinitgreen

              makinitgreen: this is a cool post! CHOW also did a story about this math several years ago, which might be of interest:

              1. re: Dave MP

                Thanks for this link, Dave MP. Really helpful read! Now I know better what to ask for regarding the kinds of cuts we request.