Buying Beef Shares
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
We are getting ready for fall butcher and as I communicate with potential buyers I am finding that those who are new to buying shares often have similar questions. The following content is re-posted from my other blog - Yoga in the Valley. It explains the process as well as some of the primary differences between buying your grass-fed meat from a subscription service, a local co-op, and directly from the farmer. If you have any other questions please email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also be following up soon with another article dispelling some of the misconceptions of what you should be looking and what questions to ask when looking for a beef share. Read on and let us know if you would like to reserve a share of our humanely raised 100% grass fed and finished beef!
Do you buy grass fed meat? I keep hearing about Butcher Box and I love the idea that people can get better quality meats at a better price. We get questions all the time about why we charge "so much" for our beef. In truth you can buy beef shares for $2.50 lb for conventional or mixed feed (combination of grass & grain). I was starting to wonder if our prices were too high so I looked into it. I chose Butcher Box because it was the most comparable quality I could find. Their basic package is $129 for 8-11 lbs of meat meaning your cost ranges from $16.13 - $11.70 lb. This is a great deal compared to grocery store or co-op prices for similar quality. I can see why my health conscious and eco-minded friends are excited about it.
But how does it compare it to buying directly from a farm like ours?
We sell our beef shares at $4.50 lb hanging weight (this is the weight after skull, hide, guts, and hooves have been removed) plus processing and slaughter fees. The slaughter fee is $100-$125 per whole animal for on-site slaughter. We pre-pay for slaughter and add your share of this cost to the amount you pay for the animal. On-site slaughter ensures that the animal will be quickly and, as humanely as possible, dispatched on our farm. They will not experience the stress of being loaded onto a trailer and taken to a slaughter house. Processing fees will vary depending on which cuts you choose and will be paid directly to the processor when you pick up your share. Combined, your cost will vary but we have seen an average of $6 - $6.50 lb. This includes filet mignon, t-bones, rib eye steaks or rib roasts, cuts that sell for over $20 lb for grass fed and organic!
Farms like ours are where the co-ops, grocery stores, and delivery services buy their meat, sort of. We also use no hormones, no chemicals, and no antibiotics. Ours is also grass-fed and grass-finished. Our animals are also humanely raised, but here is where we find the important difference. Most humanely raised animals end their lives by being loaded onto trailers and being hauled to a processing facility. Even when methods are implemented to make the process as stress-free as possible for the animal - it is what it is. There will always be some level of stress to the animal when it is done this way and, if the meat is to be sold as packages and cuts, it is the only legal option. This affects the quality and flavor of the meat as well as the subtle energy. This is why you won’t see packages of steaks or ground beef from our farm at your local co-op. This part is so very important to us. Our animals are humanely harvested - on site at our farm. They are never loaded onto a trailer or taken away from their home while they are alive. They are born here and they die here and we do everything we can to make that happen swiftly and painlessly - no stress hormones, no fear.
I once had a teacher challenge any advocate of "humanely raised" meat to watch the slaughter and still argue that it is humane. I can honestly say that I have and I can.