Locally Raised Beef

      21 Comments on Locally Raised Beef
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See also Making Broth on Your Woodstove

A Freezer Full of Beef…

It’s great knowing that we have enough meat to feed our family for another year, or more. I like knowing that the animals were raised locally on pasture and weren’t given hormones and antibiotics. The small custom butcher shop doesn’t add any dyes, saline solution, or fillers (like pink slime) to the meat. If I can’t raise and butcher it myself, this is the next best thing.

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We ended up with around 400 pounds of beef this past week and it fits nicely in the 15 cf chest freezer purchased this fall. I have pork (also from a local farmer) and our home butchered turkeys and chickens in the 21cf freezer, plus we have a 13 cf freezer full of fruits and veggies I’ve put up this year. This doesn’t take into consideration all of the food I have canned or dehydrated. We should be pretty well set for the winter.

 

Locally Raised…

If you are interested in ordering locally raised meat, try looking on Craigslist, under the Farm and Garden section. Or call the local butcher shops to see if they have information about farmers selling pork or beef shares in your area. You’ll have to pay the farmer for the hanging weight of the animal (the weight after head, hooves, organs, and hide have been removed) and you’ll pay for processing at the butcher shop. What you bring home will be about 60% of the hanging weight, because you also paid for bones. You can ask for the bones for your dog, if you want.

If possible, avoid ordering from a farmer that advertises a price per pound for LIVE WEIGHT – even if the price per pound seems low, you will be paying for a lot of parts that will be thrown away.


 

When you consider that the meat you purchase in the store often contains fillers and salt water to increase the weight, you may be paying less overall. If you are looking for grass fed animals, there will be less meat since they are not given hormones to make them gain weight quickly, and the price per pound will normally be higher.  Keep in mind that you will need a large freezer to store all that meat. Our 15 cf freezer held about 400 pounds, about the size of a small steer. Grain fed animals are larger and you may need a 20 cf freezer for a whole steer. You can also pressure can some of it or make your own jerky…but I would plan on having a freezer to accommodate all of it until you can process it further.


Plan Ahead

It is definitely takes more work, planning, and a large upfront investment to order your beef and pork from local farmers. I find it is worth the extra effort because I know the animals lived a natural life and died much more humanely than the animals taken to industrial slaughterhouses. And considering that a lot of our meat comes from foreign countries, I prefer to support small family farms. The only thing I would like better would be to raise them myself and butcher them on my own homestead.

How about you? Do you raise and slaughter your own animals? Buy from local farmers? Buy from the grocery store? Or are you vegetarian?

 

  Lisa Lombardo
Hi! I’m Lisa Lynn…modern homesteader and creator of The Self Sufficient HomeAcre. Follow my adventures in self reliance, preparedness, homesteading, and getting back to the basics.

 

 


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21 comments on “Locally Raised Beef

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  4. Lisa Lynn Post author

    I cracked up the first time I heard someone refer to the WI/IL border as the cheddar curtain 🙂

    Good info to know! Thanks for sharing…I will have to look those up to see how far they are from here. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  5. Michelle

    Hi Lisa! I noticed that your meat is inspected in Wisconsin. I’m not sure where you’re located exactly, but I know of at least one place in the state where you can get grass-fed beef by the pound. It’s all grown within 30 miles (maybe less?) of the processor, too. Of course you don’t need any right now. LOL

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Michelle,
      You’ve got a good eye 🙂 We are located in the central part of northern Illinois, just a few miles from the Cheddar Curtain (WI border 🙂

      You are very correct, we don’t need any now…but I would be happy to tuck that info away for future use if you send it my way!
      Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        The “Cheddar Curtain”? LOL!!! I have lived here for 30 years and this is the first time I’ve heard that phrase. Wisconsin River Meats near Mauston provides grass-fed beef. They also have chicken, pork, and even bison from time to time. The only drawback I have found is that they use nitrites in any value-added meat products, so we steer clear of those. Also, we do not eat pork and we raise our own meat birds, so I have not asked how they raise/process those items. Grass-fed bison is also available from S Lazy D Ranch outside Warrens, Wisconsin. Superb!

        Reply
  6. Pat

    We are also concerned about where our food comes from. We raise our own chickens and pigs. For the past year and a half we’ve been buying pastured beef from a local farmer. But in addition to that, we almost always have venison. I think the venison has a “different” taste, but I would not call it gamey. I think a lot of that gamey taste has to do with how the deer is processed after it’s killed. We tend to take the hide off very soon, and when we cut up the meat, we take off almost all of the fat. We freeze the steaks and cut the rest into cubes and pressure can it.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Good for you! I’m looking forward to the day when we have room for pigs 🙂 We raised them when I was a kid and boy, did they taste good. We order pork from a local farmer now. I don’t have a place to hunt deer, so I am a bit jealous of your venison supply 😉 Pressure canning is a great way to preserve meat, especially if you are prone to power outages.

      Reply
  7. susan beaty

    well, come jan. 3 i get to try this also. we joined a co-op and will be eating good meat finally. my husband is to the point he doesnt even want me to buy chicken in store anymore. im sure there will be a definite taste difference. frankly, im ready to eat something that i “know what it really is”

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Susan, that’s awesome! I’m always so happy to hear about people bypassing the junk at the grocery store to join a co-op or buy local 🙂 Let me know how you like it!

      Reply
  8. Bonnie

    I personally am vegetarian, but my boys are omnivorous. I have raised turkey and chickens for the freezer for the last couple of years and now that I finally have moved out of town to a larger property I am on the verge of trying my hand at pork or beef. My thought is that anything I raise has to be healthier than store-bought and in seeing the life and death of the animal my boys will remember that it isn’t just a steak to be consumed. An living animal grew and then died so they can eat, therefore they should feel respect and gratitude every time they sit down to eat.

    Reply
  9. danielle

    Love it! We decided to invest in a chest freezer too. We live out in the “country” and have a great variety of local, organic, free range meat options within 30 miles. Fully agree with you it is better for the environment, the animal welfare, the health of the consumer and it is cheaper!.

    Reply
  10. debra

    Have a co-worker that recently bought a cow ( or alot of one at least : ) She had a choice of cuts and we had an office debate about the tail ( I said it was the same as “oxtail” in the store and was supposed to be very good for soups ) ANYWAY…it was grassfed, organic, local, etc and then when she cooked her first round she said it was hard to get used to….that it was lean and ‘gamey’ like venison.

    Which would show you that we don’t even know what real beef should taste like half of the time

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Grass fed beef definitely has a stronger flavor. I don’t know that I would call it gamey, personally. But pretty much everything you buy at the store comes from confinement lot animals fed only grain, and sometimes waste products from other industries. This includes the litter from meat chicken operations…yuck! So of course it has a different flavor…more fat, and additions such as saline solution and pink slime. You’re right on that most people have no idea what real beef tastes like!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  11. Candy C.

    We have been buying our beef and pork from local farmers and rancers at the Farmer’s Market. I like being able to buy small amounts instead of a quarter or half of a steer. I agree, if I can’t raise it myself, I’ll certainly support the local farmers and ranchers! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      Hi Candy,
      That’s great that you can buy smaller amounts from the local farmers! Around here you can’t do that, you have to buy a share from the farmer and then pick it up at the butcher shop…something about being a USDA inspected processor if you take the wrapped meat home and then sell it in smaller amounts. No doubt it is all devised to keep big business big and step on the little guys.

      Reply
    1. Lisa Lynn Post author

      I hadn’t seen that article, but I’ve been paying attention for a long time so a lot of this isn’t new to me. I grew up eating the beef that my family raised, and knowing that it was better than the stuff from the store. Thanks for sharing the link Linda! I’m sure that this is still news to a lot of people.

      Reply

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