Author Topic: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?  (Read 3417 times)

hoyahoyasaxa

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I was wondering if there are any NYCers here who are grass-fed/pasture raised beef-only type of people and what you do to eat meat in a Mustachian manner.  I'm struggling to figure out whether it would be more money-wise to buy a chest freezer and do a half-cow share for my wife and I (should provide us 7-8 months worth of meat) or whether it's negligible compared to buying meat weekly at the farmer's market (I usually go to our local one in Sunnyside or else to the Union Square market) or the local butcher shop.

What do other city dwellers here do?

MrsPete

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2013, 07:21:53 PM »
We're not in NYC, but we buy beef in quantity.  The cost is about the same as the grocery store, but the quality is so much better.  We bought a used freezer for $75 so we could do this, and it's been worthwhile. 

Coneal

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2013, 07:33:24 PM »
Growing up we would cut one up every couple of years.  Make sure it's a good cow.  If is got an excessive amount of fat its not worth the price and the quality just flat out sucks.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2013, 07:39:31 PM by Coneal »

Hunny156

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2013, 08:37:00 PM »
When we lived in the Hudson Valley (and when I still ate meat), we looked into a cow share.  That was maybe 5-6 years ago, but I found that the cost of half a cow and a freezer was comparable to buying ground beef in the supermarket, except the quality and cuts of meat would be better.  In order to do it, we needed another family to split the cow with.  That was our biggest problem, so we were stuck w/buying small purchases from the farm's store every now and again.

worms

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2013, 01:31:08 AM »
Filling the freezer with good quality beef rather than poorer quality from the supermarket is definitely the way to go for good food at an acceptable price.  You may find, though, that your total meat cost is higher, as you may eat more!  Remember that a lot of what you get will be ground beef which will produce excellent home-made burgers, lasagnes, bologneses etc.  Really good for batch cooking and freezing, so the big freezer comes in doubly useful!

Even here in Scotland where nearly all of our beef is grass fed, you really notice how much less fat is in the pan when you brown the cow-share ground beef compared to the cheaper supermarket stuff.

onehappypanda

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2013, 11:16:35 AM »
Depends on your farmer's market and grocery store selection, I suppose.

Here, buying meat in-bulk is definitely your cheapest option for good-quality beef. It ends up costing about as much as regular supermarket beef, except it's grass fed and better quality. Grass-fed beef in the supermarket is hard to find here unless you head to Whole Foods, and is $$$. Most farmer's markets have more expensive beef, because there isn't a lot of competition among the farmer's there.

I've heard from other friends that the farmer's markets in their areas are much more reasonable, usually when there's a larger selection of farmers so some competition is built in. But even then, I imagine bulk is cheaper. So it comes down to whether you're comfortable putting down a large sum up front and then storing it while you use it up.

RhythmKats

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Re: Get A Cow Share or Buy Meat at the Farmer's Market or Butcher Shop?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2013, 08:35:26 PM »
hoyahoyasaxa,

My partner and I live nearby in Astoria! We're members of the Astoria CSA, which has arrangements with various farms upstate. From June to November we can order meat 2x a month and it's delivered at our CSA pick up site. During the winter months this service is available to us 1x a month. The quality of the meat is good, so the price is higher, but mainly we make it Mustachian by just eating less meat. Instead of the meat being a focus of the meal, it's just a part that includes other non-meat sides. We spend a certain amount on meat each month and that's basically it.

There is a CSA in Sunnyside. I have friends that are members and I believe they have a similar arrangement for meat....at least in the summer months. Additionally, there is a buying club associated with the Queens Harvest Food Coop. We ordered a chicken through them recently and it was good. I can't remember what the other meat selection was like, but it did list the farms, so you could research how they raise their animals, etc.

We did go in with a few friends on a cow a few years back. I don't remember it being much cheaper than just buying meats through the means above....but it was a while ago, so I don't remember exactly. But if you end up getting involved with a CSA or something similar, you'll inevitably meet others who might be interested in splitting a cow with you. The Food Coop I mentioned above is still in its infancy, but if/when it gets rolling, that could potentially be a good source for western Queens. I have some friends involved with that as well. http://www.queensharvestcoop.com

In case you are not aware, there is a Costco here in Astoria, near the Socrates Sculpture Park. I don't usually get my meat there so I'm not sure about the quality, but I've been meaning to check it out.

Queens Rules!