Saturday, May 14, 2011

Buying bulk

No, I don't mean shopping at Costco...

I'm referring to the purchase of grass-fed, sustainably-raised livestock. There are a number of local organic farms in the Hudson Valley who practice farming the way we like it and a great way to support them is to buy their product. We've reserved a whole lamb, a quarter steer and a Thanksgiving turkey; all to be ready for pick-up beginning in November 2011.

This meat is affordable, not cheap. For example, our quarter steer price per pound, hanging weight (which means prior to preparation), is $3.75/lb, bones, marrow, liver, tongue, and all the cuts you could want. A major perk is that the price for the loin is the same as the price for the chopped meat. We'll end up with about 100-150 lbs of beef this winter, to store, share and enjoy.

So I am challenging the notion of "cheap food." Why do Americans have a fascination with finding the best "deals" on the very things they put inside of their bodies? I used to, but no longer, feel comfortable with $2.99/lb meat bought at a big-box grocery store. Understanding we live in a culture such as we do, and that a pound of meat that costs less than a gallon of gas seems like the only option for someone with limited dollars who wants their protein source, I won't fault. But I do ponder the idea of buying bulk meat from a healthy farm as a group, so that the price is still right but you don't have to buy a chest freezer just to participate. This requires communication and coordination, but if you really stop to think about what you're digesting, it seems so doable.


  1. Nice, where'd you go for these? Also, we'd be up to share if you're looking. My butchering skills are so-so beyond chickens, but this would be a good chance to get learning.

  2. We went to Awesome Farm in Tivoli, NY ( for the lamb (they also have beef) and to Four Winds Farm in Gardiner, NY ( for our beef (they also have duck, chickens, turkey and vegetables). And you've stumbled on an upcoming blog post... the complications of taking livestock from the pasture to the table: slaughterhouse rules. -ja