Meat Subscription worth it?


Sarabeth5

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I found a local farm that offers bi-weekly or monthly meat subscriptions.  The 5 lb box is $55 and comes with 1 lb of steaks, 2 lb roast and 2 lb of stew or ground meat.  Combo of beef, lamb and pork.  I'm still having a bit of sticker shock with this whole grass fed local meat.  Is this a good deal?  If you get a subscription like this do you enjoy it and use everything in it?  I do like the idea of getting something new to try all the time. 

 

They also offer a breakfast box of 1 lb bacon, 1 lb sausage and a dozen eggs for $24 which sounds yummy too.  Although I'll have to find out of the bacon and sausage are compliant.

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Their bacon and sausage are probably not compliant. Most include sugar in one form or another. The cost on the breakfast box sounds like a horrible deal... 2 pounds of meat and a dozen eggs. I see you are in California, but I would expect no more than $8 for the eggs and I don't think anyone's sausage or bacon should be going for $8 per pound.

 

I buy roasts and ground beef at my local farmer's market for $5.50 per pound in Georgia. I buy $200 to $300 of roasts and ground beef at a time because I cook a roast at least once and sometimes twice per week. I don't buy steak at the farmer's market very often and can't remember what I have paid, but it was more than $5.50 per pound. I bought a decent ribeye at the grocery store last night that was around $7.50 a pound. 

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Hmm...as for the first one, it's probably not terrible. I'm in Oregon. I find grass-fed hamburger for typically $7-8 per pound. I don't even buy steaks because they are so expensive...like $12-18 per pound. Roasts I can get for $13-14, but my favorite, which is brisket, is $9. This is from a local organic market that buys meat from a farmer. I have just recently reserved 1/4 of a cow, 140 pounds of various cuts (I don't even know what I'm getting yet) and it works out to $4.97/pound. I'm pretty excited about that! Hopefully it's not all hamburger and tough roasts though...I've really been loving the brisket roasts. We shall see.

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Tom - while I agree with you that bacon / sausage shouldn't be that expensive, US Wellness Meats' bacon is $17 for 1.5lbs ($11/lb, roughly).  All three of the local meat providers where I live (Boston, MA) charge over $10/lb for bacon at the farmer's market.  Breakfast sausage runs $8-10/lb, give or take.

 

I know I live in a major urban center, and that my health is worth it (otherwise I wouldn't be here), but I can totally sympathize with the people who say paleo is for rich yuppies.  If you want to get off the factory farm train, the prices are exorbitant.

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The beef box sounds reasonable in terms of price considering that you get a mix of steaks, roast and stew/ground.  If you can get just one box to try before committing to a subscription, I would recommend it.  We get our pork and beef from a local farm and it is of outstanding quality.  Unfortunately, I've had it from other places were it wasn't that good at all.  In fact, we paid for a 1/8 cow from a local farmer and ended up letting some of it go to waste because it was so icky tasting that we didn't want to eat it and it eventually dried out in the freezer!  The quality of the grass the animal eats makes a huge difference in the quality of the meat so it can vary pretty drastically.  Your best bet is to find a farmer you like (even if it means paying higher prices for smaller portions at the start) and then stick with them.  Typically, if you can buy in bulk once you are sure, you can get discounts.

 

I don't know where you are in California, but if you are near LA, San Diego or SanFran, my farmer will deliver.  I can vouch for the deliciousness of the meat, for the amazing nature of the farm itself and for the ethics of the owner and his managers.  Unfortunately, their bacon is not compliant though.

http://www.fulloflifefarm.com/index.php

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I was in IGA last night (a small georgia grocery store) and they had Laura's grassfed organic ground beef for $10.99 a pound.  I was surprised.  But then I looked at the factory beef prices and they have gone up a lot recently.

 

I sell my ground beef for $7 a pound.  Roasts are $8 and steaks are more.  I'm not organic certified but follow the organic guidelines and only grassfeed my cows.  Since I don't have the certification, I invite people over to see for themselves how my animals are raised.

 

If you can find a farmer to buy in bulk, you'll get a better price.  Since you live in Boston, you're probably going to have to drive and hour or two to go pick it up.  But when you buy in bulk you only have to do that every 6 months or so.  And it's one trip in 6 months versus going every two weeks to the market.

 

JJB - When you order in bulk, typically it comes out to (by weight) 15% steaks, 30% roasts, 50% ground beef and %5 short ribs.  Then the soup bones and organs might be additional pounds if the farmer includes it.  For 140 pounds of yield, you will probably get one brisket roast about 4-5 pounds.  There are only two briskets on an animal.  For that size of animal, they usually cut each brisket in half so a customer ordering 1/4 cow will get just one.   The other roasts that are possible are shoulder and chuck (from the front), top round, eye of round, bottom round, rump and sirloin tip (from the rear).  It just depends on how the farmer has the meat cut.

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Ally B - while I'd love to do that, I also live in a condo with just my refrigerator's freezer for space.  Buying part of a cow or in bulk is just not possible.  My husband already whines that our freezer is perma-full.

 

Now, if I can clear out the 2nd bedroom closet, maybe I can put a chest freezer in there ... my guests don't need a closet, right?   :rolleyes:

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Well, you can still buy in bulk :)  Where there is a will there is a way.  A few weeks ago I sold an entire steer (the lowest price point for bulk beef.)  It was split between 9 people.  These were all friends, so they pooled together to take the entire steer and get the lowest price.  One lady took 1/2 of the steer which was almost 200 pounds of meat.  the other 8 people split the other 1/2 in various ways.  I divided the half in half to make 2 quarters.  This was about 100 pounds of meat per quarter.  Then they had some sort of pre-agreed upon way of splitting it up further.  I just stood and watched :)

 

The first step to splitting up a steer is to understand how much of each cut you can expect to get.  From there it's just a matter of agreeing on who gets what.

 

The bottom line was that they were able to get a really good price on grass fed beef and still be able to fit it in their kitchen freezer.

 

As far as your perma-full freezer status....I would wager that half of the stuff in there will either never be used, or is too old to be used.  We have the same problem.  So I make a point of going through my kitchen freezer every couple of weeks and tossing or making plans to use things.  People complain that eating like we all do is expensive.  It's even more expensive when there is food getting old in your freezer!

 

If I put something in the freezer, I always make sure it has a date on it.  Then there is no question about whether it's due to be tossed or is still good.  I also write what the contents are.  I can't remember anything anymore and frozen tomato paste looks just like frozen adobe chiles!

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I bought a 1/4 cow last fall, but it only lasted me 4.5 months, so late winter when i got my tax return, I put a deposit down on a 1/2 cow, but i won't get it until fall (yes, I have a chest freezer in my garage). A half cow around here is about $1200 including processing and you end up with around 200lbs. of meat. So in the mean time, I've mostly been buying from costco and other grocery stores, but supplementing with meat from the farmer's market, which is much more expensive (ground meat is $6/lb, roasts are like $12/lb, odd cuts are between $8-12/lb.) I usually just buy ground beef and pork, plus whatever is on sale that day. I spend about $100 on groceries per week for just me, and almost half of that is meat and eggs I think (I buy the soy and corn free pastured eggs from the farmer's market, which are $4.50-5.50 a dozen, and I usually buy 2 dozen)

 

HOWEVER, before paleo, when I was living on my own, and eating crap from the grocery store deli and fast food all the time, I regularly spent $100 a week on food then as well. So the price of my food bill has stayed about the same, while the quality has gone up exponentially. 

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Ally B - I've cycled through all of the meat in my freezer since starting Whole30 in February.  How long are things supposed to stay in there?  It's also where I keep my bones for stock, frozen vegetables, coffee (since we try to buy that in bulk too since my husband goes through it at a rapid clip), and things like ice packs.

 

I wish more of our friends were on the good food train with us.  Only one of our friends does a meat CSA (and wonders about whether it's worth it), the rest all buy bargain basement meat on sale. :(

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How long things stay fresh in the freezer depends on several things....1.  What it is.  2.  How it's wrapped.  3.  What state it was in when it was frozen.  4.  Deep freezer or kitchen freezer.

 

Usually when you buy meat in bulk from a farmer, the processor wraps it in a way to protect it for long term storage.  (However, it's certainly stomething to ask when investigating whether to buy.)  Also, it is usually taken from the processor already frozen.  If you get meat like that, you can store it in a deep freezer for a good 6 months+.

 

Compare that to store bought chicken breasts that you put in the kitchen freezer in the packaging it came in.  Usually, the thin plastic wrap will get little holes in it from being jostled around in the freezer and eventually it gets freezer burned and ice crystals on the meat.  Yucky.  It doesn't last nearly as long.

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