My husband is an unemployed economist (oh, irony!), and money is tight. One of the major (and legitimate) criticisms of ancestral diets is the cost. It’s a hard thing to do on a very tight budget. I spend a lot of time cooking and freezing, doing as much processing as I can, seeking out local deals, scrounging free produce from the farmers market that I work at, food pantries, and stuff from cans. There is a lot of effort involved in this. Because I feel that food is my medicine that prevents my illness from developing, I do not consider it an option to return to the less expensive, more convenient vegetarian grain-based diet that I ate before. I thought as an informational post, I could talk a bit about our experience buying half of a cow. it’s an experience that not a lot of people have these days, particularly from an animal that you know personally, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.
Our friends E and J are farmers in Vermont. J’s brother is a dairy farmer, and a couple of years ago gave them three of his male Jerseys to raise for meat. These three little guys lived fully on pasture, happy as clams with their little donkey friends keeping them calm. I knew them. My kids knew them. In November, E asked us if we could like half of one of the guys, that they were going to market the following week. Five of the six halves he sold to us and our friends, and the other half he was still looking for a buyer for.
Since everything happened very quickly, we had to make room in our basement on short notice and with short cash. We had a half-full 5 cubic foot freezer already, and we bought a second freezer of the same size for $169. It was less expensive to do this than to trade in the one small freezer for a larger one, and this way we can eat our way though one freezer and shut the empty one off in order to save money.
~18 packages of shanks, three shanks per package
~3 bottom round roasts
~11 porterhouse steaks
~15 rib eye steaks
~4 eye of round roasts
~4 rump roasts
~5 sirloin steaks
~3-3# packs of stew meat
~3 london broils
~3 chuck roasts
~5 short ribs (3# each package)
~3 t-bone steaks
~2 shin bones
The roasts are all about four pounds, and the steaks about one inch thick. I did ask for any bones or organs that they could give me, but only was able to get the two marrow bones that I will use for stock. Next time we do this, I think I will try harder for the liver, more bones, and more of the nasty bits that no one but me would want. I would love the tendons, heart, liver, tail, and for some reason I didn’t get a flank or skirt steak which is too bad because I was planning on a big old Rouladen.