Buying Local – Fresh Meat

 I used up my last chub of hamburger this week. In April, I had about 50 lbs of hamburger in my freezer. Now I have none. We buy our beef from a local farmer. At under $3 a pound for everything from steaks, to roasts, to hamburger, you can’t beat the price. And I love the fact that it is a more natural meat, locally produced, and not from a feed lot! The farmer I buy it from does not raise organic meat, but it’s much better than grocery store beef. If you have never tasted fresh beef, you are missing out. It is WAY better than feed lot beef and much more environmentally friendly.
Dutch Belted Cows: grassrootscalltoconsciousaction.blogspot.com

We usually buy our beef by the quarter cow in the early summer or late spring. A quarter cow ends up being about 200 pounds of meat and it costs us a little over $400 – $100 for the meat locker to process the beef and another $300 to the farmer for the actual meat. I have been lucky because the two bills usually hit in two different months. That way I can spread the cost out over a couple months and still stick to my grocery budget.   I’ve found I used it up (at least the ground beef) pretty quickly this year. Just recently, I have been getting better at making the hamburger last longer. Next year I’m going to pace myself to use it more slowly! Now I’m down to roasts, steaks, and soup bones… Looks like my cooking is going to get more creative!

If you don’t know how stores make their meat last longer, you may be in for a shock. It’s an interesting process that involves gas packing and saltwater solutions. Read about the process here and see what you think.  You might also want to watch the documentary Food, Inc. It’s a startling look at what’s happened to the food industry.

Long haired Scottish cow. My sister-in-law has two of these cows. They are cute!

I am very happy with my source of beef, but I am still on the look-out for pork and poultry. I hope to find better sources in the spring. Here is a source I will use, besides asking friends for recommendations, to help me find better meat. In the meantime, I was happy to see that Fareway, a local grocery store with a pretty good meat department – not frozen and not enhanced with sodium solutions or gas packing – has good sales this week on chicken and pork. More details here.

Buying Local - Fresh Meat
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