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I plan on going in with another family and getting grass-fed beef. I have a few names of local farm. What questions should I ask? How the animals are raised? What they eat? Where they are butchered & how? How it is prepared (packaged) & stored? I don't know. I want to get chicken too. Any info would be great!

Thanks
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by treehugginhippie
I plan on going in with another family and getting grass-fed beef. I have a few names of local farm. What questions should I ask? How the animals are raised? What they eat? Where they are butchered & how? How it is prepared (packaged) & stored? I don't know. I want to get chicken too. Any info would be great!

Thanks

It's best if they are grass finished. Some finish on grains to increase fat content. How long they hang at the butcher's is another issue. Three weeks would be could, one-two is more usual. See if you can pay for three-four weeks.
 

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Tell them in advance what organs you want. Ask if you can have the bones too. Last steer we only got the shanks and other boney meats. No actual bones. So apparently, it's not usually part of the deal.
 

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And just to clarify, the organs are often tossed, so if you don't discuss it in advance, you won't get any. (If you are bold enough in the first place, that is.)
 

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I would also ask how long they are at the slaughter house before they are killed. Moving animals causes their stress to go up-which can cause them to cut dark-which drastically affects the flavor. Ideally, they would be fasted at "their" house, and have the butcher come to them (that's what we do) or be taken to the butcher w/ no fast and killed immediately. Easier on the animal and makes for better meat. I wouldn't be too concerned about how they're butchered-other than the above, because quite often, the owner has no control over that. Also, we've been experimenting with feeding flax seed, which raises the CLA content of the meat (and improves the flavor a considerable degree, imo). Also, keep in mind, that the farmer usually has put a great deal of effort into finishing the animals correctly and feeding them good food-word of mouth and repeat business is what makes custom fattening work. If they didn't grow their own grain, don't be too concerned. It may be that they had a bad crop year, or the mixer at the elevator blew up. (Again, personal experience....:p) If they offer you a choice of slaughter houses, go with their recommendation, because quite often, the one that's closest to you isn't the best. (that being said, the mom n pop sh near us is considerably better than the USDA approved one a ways a way. Easiest is to follow their recommendation). Double check the price-is it on the hoof, hanging weight, cut and wrapped, or some other method? (Cutting and wrapping may be separate-better to be sure than get a nasty surprise in the form of a bill!)

I would also be prepared to answer these questions:

How much hamburger per package? (We get some 1 lb and some 2 lb packages-just me and hubby)

How many steaks per package?

How much stew meat do you want? (If you are a stew maker get lots-otherwise, dont. It's usually the tougher cuts that would other wise be ground.)

How much cubed/tenderized steak do you want? (We use it for chicken fried steak, but not much else-again-usually a tougher cut that would otherwise go into hamburger.)

How big do you want your roasts? (again, depends on appetite and wheth

And, if you do ask for your knuckle bones, see if they will crack them or saw them open for you. They may also be willing to grind the organs into your hamburger, which is great if you are trying to "sneak" them into your meals.

Good luck!
 
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