Why We Choose to Buy Beef by the Quarter.

Food security is so important. I am not just talking about knowing where your food comes from. Although knowing the origin from which your food is grown, raised, or produced is important, many times food security means knowing how you will source or obtain your next healthy meal.

I had the opportunity to hear Sonia Kendrick of Feed Iowa First speak at our church last weekend. Our congregation is one of her 2016 farms, and will help support her goal to bring fresh produce to the 20,000+ people in Linn County, Iowa that are 'food insecure'. That is, they have no idea where their next healthy meal will come from.

One way John and I ensure our food security is by growing our own organic produce in our backyard. We have a huge garden, practice edible landscaping and other sustainable methods, and keep backyard chickens. Not only are we providing ourselves quality produce that was grown or raised in a manner that we believe in, but we have reasonable food security. As long as we can grow food (and preserve it), we can eat fairly well all year round.


One thing we cannot produce on our urban homestead is beef or pork. We source our pork from my parents' farm, and our beef from a family farm about 20 miles from our home. Buying a half of a hog, or a quarter of a beef gives us meat for an entire year, maybe more. That is food security, baby.


Other reasons we choose to buy beef by the quarter  include: 

  1. Our cost per pound for grass-fed, corn-finished beef is around $4.50 a pound. This is more affordable than the $6 a pound+ prices that we could pay at the grocery store. 
  2. We know the family farmer and the exact conditions in which the beef is raised. Unless you shop at a store where they are completely transparent about the source and conditions of the animals, buying directly from the farmer is our recommendation.
  3. Meal planning is a breeze. I simply open the deep freezer to assess what protein sources we have on hand, and plan around what is available. We do 'conserve' things like bacon, and reserve a lot of our brats and beef ribs for summertime. Oftentimes we eat our roasts in the wintertime. 
  4. We "shop" our deep freezer. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I didn't know how to buy meat from the grocery store's meat counter until I was about 25 years old. I knew cuts of beef and pork, but I didn't know how to select those cuts or what quantities to purchase them in. While I have that knowledge now, I don't often buy meat from the grocery store. I shop my deep freezer. 
  5. Our money stays local. It is important to us that we know where our hard-earned money goes. We have no issue whatsoever paying more for grass-fed beef or organic produce, especially when it goes into the pockets of our neighbors rather than the bank accounts of large corporations. 
  6. We are building our network of farmers. As a result of shopping local, we are coordinating with other farmers for our food security needs that we cannot meet on our urban homestead. We are stronger together. 


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4 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fantastic idea. I tend not to freeze a lot of fresh meat, I usually buy what I need when I need it however I do freeze complete meals I have made myself for a day I am too busy or tired to cook. I was just wondering if you have a plan for the odd occasion when there are blackouts? It would be a terrible shame to waste all that beautiful meat.

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    Replies
    1. You're right, it would be terrible to lose meat due to a power outage. The way we figure it, if the power went out, if we didn't open the deep freezer and kept the sun off of it, the meat would stay frozen for a few days. I do have a friend who didn't notice their deep freezer broke, then about 3 weeks later she opened it to find some rancid pork. It was a heartbreaker :(

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  2. This sounds like a fantastic idea. I tend not to freeze a lot of fresh meat, I usually buy what I need when I need it however I do freeze complete meals I have made myself for a day I am too busy or tired to cook. I was just wondering if you have a plan for the odd occasion when there are blackouts? It would be a terrible shame to waste all that beautiful meat.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very impressive. I hope i will use this.

    ReplyDelete

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