Why should I purchase a share of beef rather than buying small amounts at the store?
By purchasing a share of beef, you will save hundreds of dollars over buying “piece by piece” at a store. Additionally, you will enjoy far better cuts of meat. How often do you purchase store-bought grass fed filet mignon at $32.99/lb., or T-bone steak at $26.99/lb.? You can enjoy the more expensive cuts for far less, while having the benefit of knowing exactly where it came from! I have seen beef marketed as “grass fed” or “natural” or “Product of the USA” only to look further at the fine print and find that it is “grass fed and natural”…..then sent to a “finishing facility” and finished on a grain ration……or it is a “Product of the USA”…..only to read further and find it was actually grown and harvested in another country….but since it was PACKAGED in the USA, it can be labeled as a USA product. Buying beef shares locally, from farms you can personally visit and see, gives you an invaluable peace of mind knowing that your beef is truly 100% natural, grass-fed AND finished, here in the USA.
Why is grass fed/grass finished more expensive than corn finished? Isn't grass free?
Great question! Let’s assume the grass is “free” (in other words, an established, healthy pasture that doesn’t need to be planted). The land it grows on still must be paid for, as do the taxes, and there are costs to maintaining a healthy pasture and fences. Grass doesn’t grow year-round (at least not in the PNW) so there are feed costs to be factored in during the winter season, whether you buy hay from other farmers, or in our case, own all the necessary hay equipment and grow/harvest all your own feed. Another challenge is raising cattle on an all grass and forage diet takes about twice as long as grain finishing, requires more space, and produces fewer pounds. With grain finishing, cattle are typically finished in a feed lot type environment, with more cattle being fed in a smaller area, thus reducing cost.So, farmers incur higher costs to raise each grass fed/finished animal, wait twice as long to earn a paycheck, and often have fewer pounds to sell. All those factors combined mean that they must be paid a higher price per pound for the meat they produce. You are also getting a higher quality, more sustainably grown product that you can trust.
What does Certified Grass Fed mean?
We are certified through the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Grass Fed SVS Producers program.This certification requires that “grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.”
Where are your cattle harvested and processed?
We want our cattle to lead as stress free a life as possible from birth to harvest, so our cattle are harvested right here on our farm. We use a mobile processor that comes to our farm and harvests our cattle quietly, respectfully, and humanely. Once harvested, they are transported to our processors facility to be dry aged for 14-21 days before being cut and packaged.
What is the difference between the hanging weight and the take home/final weight?
When it comes to beef weights, there are three to understand. The first is “live” weight. This is what the animal weighed when it was alive. The average live weight on one of our beef is around 1200 lbs.
The next weight is “hanging” weight. This is the weight we receive from our processor once he returns to his facility after harvesting the cattle at our farm. The weight difference from live to hanging is from loss of the hide, head, legs, organs, and fluids. The hanging weight is usually about 60% of the live weight. So, a 1200 lb animal would have a hanging weight of around 720 lbs. (A half share would then be 360 lbs, and a 1/4 would be 180 lbs). This is the weight we base our per pound prices on.
The last weight is the “final” or “take-home” weight. This is the weight of the meat once it has been dry aged, cut, and packaged. This weight is usually about 65-68% of the hanging weight, when using our processor’s standard cutting instructions. That percentage will be a bit higher when you request soup bones, fat for rendering, or offal’s (heart, tongue, liver, and oxtail) to be added to your share. So, for example, a 180 lb quarter share, would have a final weight around 120 lbs. The weight difference from the hanging weight to what you take home is lost in two ways. About 10-15lbs is from moisture lost during the 14-21 day dry aging period. Then about another 30-35% is lost during the cutting process. This amount is variable based on the amount of fat on the beef and your cutting instructions. Higher fat means more loss when trimming. The more boneless cuts you request and the more you request to be ground for burger in your cutting instructions, the lower the final weight. (Note that the lower weight doesn’t mean that you are receiving less meat – rather, you are receiving fewer bones).
What does it mean when you say your beef is dry aged?
The flavor of beef is enhanced when it is aged. Dry aging means the beef is stored in carefully controlled conditions (cool temperatures, with high humidity) for 14-21 days, allowing enzymes naturally present in the meat to break down the muscle tissue and fibers, resulting in increased tenderness and flavor. At the end of the aging period, the outer layer of fat is trimmed, with the rest of the beef being portioned into the various cuts and then packaged. Dry-aged meat is still juicy when you cook it, and the juices are even more delicious.
How is the meat packaged?
After a minimum of 14 days aging, your beef is cut, vacuum packaged, with each cut labeled for easy identification. This airless packaging ensures high quality and a long shelf life in your freezer. It also allows for easy defrosting in a sink of cold water or in your refrigerator.
Do you offer individual cuts?
We do not sell individual cuts. The smallest option we currently offer is our Eighth Beef Share.
Do you deliver?
Since each harvest can consist of customers ranging over a wide area of Oregon and Washington, logistically, deliveries would be incredibly difficult for us. Instead, we give everyone the option to pick up from our farm on a prescheduled date, or to pick up directly from our processor’s facility in Kelso, Washington. This lets our customers choose the location that is most convenient for their travels and gives them the opportunity to personally visit and see both our farm, and our processors facility if they wish, providing transparency in all aspects of our process.
Can I thaw the meat in the microwave?
NO! NEVER use the microwave to thaw your meat, as it will change the texture and toughen the meat. You can leave the meat in the vacuum package that it came in and thaw it slowly in the refrigerator or in a sink of COLD water.
When can we buy beef from your farm?
We have multiple harvests scheduled throughout the year. Advanced reservations are encouraged as we harvest a limited number of beef each harvest and do sell out!
How are your animals raised?
• Fresh air
We provide our animals with year-round access to pasture and safe, clean living conditions:
• Fresh air
• Direct Sunlight
• Free range grazing
• Freedom of movement
• Low/No Stress
We never use growth hormones or steroids of any kinds; no antibiotics have been used as a supplement in feed or water to promote growth in our cattle. Our cattle are always handled quietly and in a relaxed manner to minimize stress.
What if one of your animals gets sick?
If one of our cattle gets sick and cannot recover without antibiotics, we will treat them with a subcutaneous dose of antibiotics. If that’s the case, the animal will not be marketed through our beef program. Luckily, this rarely occurs due to our animal husbandry practices.