Getting Beef by the Half - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-27-2008, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not really sure where to put this, but since it involved buying in bulk to save money I guess I'll put it here. We found a butcher who sells local, organic, grass-fed beef by the half or quarter, and we want to stock up for winter. How much space does a quarter take up? We don't have a chest freezer, we have 2 regular fridge/freezers. How much can we realistically fit? I've never bought anything except for what's at the grocery store so I honestly have zero idea how much room I need.

Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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When we bought a quarter this year it took up roughly 5-6 cubic feet in our small chest freezer. The weight was around 125 pounds. I think you could do it with two fridge freezers, depending on how big they are, but it might be tight.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:15 PM
 
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Alot will depend on the cuts of the meat, but 1/2 most likely will not fit into 2 fridge freezers. you can get small chest freezers for under $150, or look on craigslist for used ones.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:26 PM
 
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The first year we got a 1/2 of a 1/2 (if you're getting a 1/4 is it front or rear? That will make a differnece in your cuts/how much space it will take up) it fit into our two top of the fridge freezers, but there was no room for anything else.

We now have a 20cu chest freezer and fit a full 1/2 and some extras in there as well, but use the fridge freezers for veggies/chicken/pork etc.
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:44 PM
 
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I agree, I think 1/4 of beef would be a TIGHT squeeze into two fridge freezers. Do they sell smaller amounts? The farmer we've bought from also sells 30lb. packages. Could you split the 1/4 with someone?

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Old 10-27-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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I did a 1/4 last year and plan to do a 1/2 this year. I have a very large freezer and it took up at first- 2 large lower shelves. This time I expect it to take up at least 3 or more and I am already making space for it. I freezer gallon milk containers and put it in its spot to make up for it until I get my side.

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Old 10-27-2008, 02:35 PM
 
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I would just LOVE to do this. How did you find the farmer? Can I ask how much it costs (maybe several people could post their prices for comparison)? How is it packaged and how many meals do you get out of it? :
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:42 PM
 
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www.eatwild.com

and

www.localharvest.org

are good places to find local farmers who sell direct to the consumer.

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Old 10-27-2008, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superstella View Post
I'm not really sure where to put this, but since it involved buying in bulk to save money I guess I'll put it here. We found a butcher who sells local, organic, grass-fed beef by the half or quarter, and we want to stock up for winter. How much space does a quarter take up? We don't have a chest freezer, we have 2 regular fridge/freezers. How much can we realistically fit? I've never bought anything except for what's at the grocery store so I honestly have zero idea how much room I need.

Thanks!
We fit 171 pounds of beef (a mixed quarter) in our 13 cf freezer (or is it 14? ) with TONS of room to spare. We could easily fit a whole side in there.
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:05 PM
 
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You really need to find out what the dressed weight of the meat will be. An entire animal can average anywhere from 800lbs. to 1200lbs. hanging weight. Then depending on the percentage you get from the entire carcass, you could end up with anywhere from 125lbs. to 200lbs. of meat for 1/4. The former would easily fit in your freezers. The latter... no way. Each cubic foot of your freezer space can hold about 30 - 35 lbs. of beef.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Anguschick1 View Post
The first year we got a 1/2 of a 1/2 (if you're getting a 1/4 is it front or rear? That will make a differnece in your cuts/how much space it will take up) it fit into our two top of the fridge freezers, but there was no room for anything else.

We now have a 20cu chest freezer and fit a full 1/2 and some extras in there as well, but use the fridge freezers for veggies/chicken/pork etc.
Oh Geeeezzz. Which end did I get last year?? :

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Old 10-28-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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You got a 1/2 of a 1/2 or mixed 1/4.

In other words - the good end.
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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Perhaps a more important thing to consider: meat storage guidelines always say you can keep things longer in chest freezers than fridge freezers. I think they might be colder.
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:07 AM
 
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FYI, the rear is more steak and the front is more ground beef. We bought a half last year (front + rear). I think it cost us around $800, but unfortunately I don't remember the price per pound or the weight. We bought it in around February and it will be gone by early November. (Family of 6 who like beef, but I ration it - we have it around once a week).

If you know of any farmers who sell raw milk, you can try there. Around here there is a long wait at the USDA slaughterhouse, and farmers are not allowed to advertise non-USDA-certified-meat, but they are allowed to sell it on a "custom" basis, so if you make a deal with a farmer they can sell it to you as long as they aren't putting it in the farm store or publicly advertising. So you have to ask around.

Almost no butchers around here use paper - they've all switched to plastic bags instead. It's up to the farmer who they use for slaughter, and you pay a bit more for paper wrapping, if you can find it.

Our beef farmer called me and went through all the cuts and asked me what we wanted - how much as roasts vs. ground, for example.

We're on the waiting list for another half as soon as they have one available, but they don't do many. Also my freezer is half full of chicken and turkey and half full of veggies/berries at the moment! So I'm not in a rush for it. It has been great to have a freezer full of organic, local, grassfed beef for much of the year.

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the info, it is so much appreciated! I haven't actually been yet, just talked to the guy on the phone so I'm not really aware of the specifics. He does sell in smaller quantities, so that is what I will probably do for now. I found the guy through my neighbor, who said he was getting in his winter supply because sometimes the roads here are impassable during winter and since we're on a dead-end rural road in WV it isn't getting cleared until it thaws basically.
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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The Philadelphia Winter Harvest is offering a pastured half lamb at $7/lb of hanging weight. That's totally insane, right? Especially if you get a quarter of the poundage once it's dressed - meaning it would be $28/lb of actual product. What are they thinking?

There is also a half pig for a total of $301, no $/hanging weight given.

Aven
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Old 10-28-2008, 12:52 PM
 
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The Philadelphia Winter Harvest is offering a pastured half lamb at $7/lb of hanging weight. That's totally insane, right? Especially if you get a quarter of the poundage once it's dressed - meaning it would be $28/lb of actual product. What are they thinking?

There is also a half pig for a total of $301, no $/hanging weight given.

Aven
Wow! Sounds way expensive to me. I sold 1/2 a pig this spring for $100 plus they paid for cutting and wrapping which was $.29. That was around 60 lbs I think.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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We get our beef from my parents so we don't pay anything. When we turn around & sell it we sell it for $3/lb, though mom says we should sell it for $4/lb. My parents sell it to their family for $2/lb. These prices are all cut & wrapped prices. We only sell off the stuff that won't fit in our freezer, or if dh's friends ask before we go & get meat. We're getting a 2nd freezer though.

it makes ground beef alot more expensive, but the savings come from the other cuts which are often $7-$9/lb on sale in stores.

They use plastic bags for ground beef, but use paper for everything else.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:47 PM
 
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I generally pay about $1.80 hanging weight plus $.48 for cut and wrap. Sometimes I pay the kill fee too (about $75 per cow divided by the portion you are buying). It works out to be about $3.40 lb. for what I take home.

I normally find meat (or rather live cows preparing for slaughter) on Craig's List. Since I'm looking for pastured animals which will be slaughtered on-site and haven't received any antibiotics, hormones and/or grains, CL is often the least expensive option because I find families who keep a cow or two on their property.

Officially 1/4 side takes about 5 cu ft of freezer space, 1/2 takes about 10 cu ft and a whole cow takes 20 cu ft. But as a PP mentioned, this depends on the meat cuts you get and whether we are talking about an upright or chest freezer.

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Old 10-28-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by avendesora View Post
The Philadelphia Winter Harvest is offering a pastured half lamb at $7/lb of hanging weight. That's totally insane, right? Especially if you get a quarter of the poundage once it's dressed - meaning it would be $28/lb of actual product. What are they thinking?

There is also a half pig for a total of $301, no $/hanging weight given.

Aven
I think you confusing live weight with hanging weight. Live weight is what the animal weights before you butcher it. Hanging weight is after it has been butcher, but not trimmed into packages. The live weight of a lamb might about 100 lbs. The hanging weight might be about 50 lbs and the trimmed weight about 45 lbs. I'd calculate the price as about $7.70 per lbs which actually sounds not that bad. Pastured lamb chops are $20 lb at my local farmers market and I buy pastured lamb for $5.50 actual weight.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:38 PM
 
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We just got a half beef and it was about 348 pounds. :

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:15 PM
 
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I'm looking to split a generic hundred pound beef if anyone is interested. I'm in n central ct and will be picking up in central ma. pm me
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