Monday, May 10, 2010

Mooooooo.

Back in December after watching Food, Inc., I decided that I wasn’t going to eat meat from restaurants that didn’t buy their meat from humane farms. I didn’t want to be merely disgusted by industrial agriculture – I wanted to stop supporting it with my purchases. (Kind of like how I have been boycotting Wal-Mart for the last 6 years.)

I wanted my burger to have had led the kind of life that a cow deserves to lead (moseying around pastures eating grass) – and not to have led the kind of life that cows raised on factory farms are forced to lead (standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of other cows, all knee-deep in their own manure, eating grain and ground up dead animals - to include other cows).

But that’s not just because it makes me feel better emotionally to support these humane farms. If a human is going to eat meat, it's healthier for us to eat meat from animals that have lived their lives eating the foods that they have evolved to eat (imagine that!).

It’s healthier for the cows, too. From onlygrassfed.com:
The average cow will die within 6 months from consuming a corn based diet (their livers blow out), which is about all the time a factory farm needs to fatten up a cow for slaughter. To keep the feedlot animal "healthy" (healthy enough to survive), industrial farms feed the cows a constant dose of antibiotics. Did you know that most of the antibiotics sold in America end up in animal feed? It is now generally acknowledged that this practice is a direct contributor to the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant "superbugs."
Yikes, right?

Now, I’ll be honest. Even knowing all of this, I have not been 100% successful at keeping my own goal – and I’m not beating myself up over that. I consider myself to be off the hook when I eat over at other people’s houses (if there is a veggie alternative being offered, I eat that, but if not, I go ahead and eat whatever meat they’re serving). And this past weekend was the first time that I broke my rule while in a restaurant. We went to a German restaurant in North Carolina to celebrate Mother’s Day with Eric’s parents and faced with having only sides for dinner as I did when we were there at Christmastime, I caved and ordered the sauerbraten.

For quite some time now we’ve been buying all of our meat from the farmers’ market, mostly from a local Virginia farm that raises buffalo. But some friends recently offered us up a deal that was too good to pass up. Friends of theirs moved to a farm in Pennsylvania and had a cow that was going to be butchered soon. They wanted to know if we wanted a share of it.

The new term for this?

Cow-pooling.

We thought about it and decided to do it!

Three couples shared the butchering fee ($324.40 total) and then split up the meat evenly, with one couple specifying that they wanted a few specific cuts. (Um, yeah - go ahead and take the tongue! Fine by us!)

We ended up with 127 pounds of meat.

  • 1 brisket
  • 5 T-bone steaks
  • 1 short ribs
  • 1 regular ribs
  • 1 rump roast
  • 2 sirloin tip roasts
  • 3 rib eye steaks
  • 5 sirloin steaks
  • 6 round steaks
  • 1/3 of the ground beef

Needless to say, our freezer is more than a little bit full right now.

 The bottom two freezer baskets had to be completely removed 
in order to fit it all in.

When you add the butchering fee to the per pound price for the meat, we paid a mere $2.39 per pound for our grass-fed Jersey cow.

Not bad, eh?

Beef: It's what's for dinner...tonight...tomorrow...next week...next month...

For more information on cow-pooling, 
check out the following resources:

3 comments:

Wise Old Pilot said...

I'm so proud of you.
You are a really good person!

Andrea, Matt, and Chloe said...

Good for you guys! You might just have to buy an extra freezer soon to keep all of that meat:)Some of my friends here were talking about doing that too, but we just don't eat that much red meat anymore. Did you ever read An Omnivore's Dilemma? That is another good book that talks about where our food comes from...very similar to Food Inc.

Christina said...

Yum! Good for you for sticking to your guns, lady! Now pass me some of that rump roast...he, he.