Our split half (that's one-fourth of a cow) from Hillsboro-area farmer Adam Hershberger of Highland Haven arrived yesterday, 108.5 pounds of beef at $2.15/pound, plus processing charges of $60 for a total of just over $293. That works out to $2.70 per pound and includes steaks, roasts, chops, ribs, ground beef, and all the other cuts. And it's a lot of meat -- I had two medium-sized coolers filled.
For those who are interested in eating locally but worry that it'll cost more, I have to believe that this much beef -- which I think will probably work out to around a year's worth for my family, as we tend to eat beef maybe once a week or so -- for this little money is an incredible deal. If you have a freezer and the financial ability to shop in bulk, I can't imagine you'd be spending more on this unless the only beef your family normally eats is ground beef.
I'm glad I asked for a share of a smaller cow -- I was fortunate that it all fit into my freezer! And fitting it all in pretty much destroyed my careful organization. Usually I keep beef (along with beef bones and beef stock) on the bottom shelf, pork on the second, poultry on the third, seafood, lamb, and butter on the fourth, fruits/veggies on the top shelf, and flour/grains/nuts in the door. With several dozen packages of beef arriving, I had no choice but to shove some of it in with other things. And of course I should really get any older beef out first, so that's going to mean taking things in and out for a while. I'm hoping by the time I get all the older beef out, I'll have figured out how to get all the new beef onto the 'beef shelf.' Being the AnRet that I am, I'll probably be out there this afternoon trying to organize it. I want to add a layer of wrapping to help it keep longer, anyway, so I might as well do everything at once.
There are a lot of cuts included that I've never cooked before. I'm really looking forward to this as a challenge -- what do you even do with beef liver? Oh, wait a minute...liver and onions, right? I tried a bit of a friend's order once in a restaurant, years ago. Bleah. Tasted like mud. Oh, well, maybe I can find something else to do with it. Suggestions are welcome!
It's going to be an interesting education in proportions, too. My family eats a lot of ground beef and the very occasional steak or ribs or roast and not much else. I don't really even have much understanding of how much of any one cut is on a given cow.
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