Friday, December 31, 2010

A freezer full of meat!

I know it is kind of weird, but I am pretty excited today because I have a freezer full of meat! As I have mentioned before, after reading the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I had my eyes opened about the beef that I used to buy in the grocery stores. The cattle are kept in confinement, very tight, and are fed some disgusting items, including animal by-products. This is what led to the Mad Cow Disease outbreak a while back.  You would think that this would have gotten the government to tighten restrictions, but that isn't the case. Since then, I have tried to buy as much free-range beef as possible. I had found some sources at the Dallas Farmers Market and the White Rock Local Market, but I hit the motherload when I moved to Tyler! There is a ranch nearby, called Darby Farms, that raises free-range beef.

Here is a little about Darby Farms from their website:

"Our mission is to provide wholesome, disease free, tender, flavorful, natural beef for our fellow Americans. It is 100% Texas, USA born, raised and processed with no added preservatives, hormones, animal by-products, or antibiotics.  We want to provide your family with a beef product that you can feel good about.

"Free Range"
Free-Range cattle are free to roam and feed on a large variety of forages and native grasses.  This makes the beef high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

BSE (Mad Cow)
Young animals are fed no animal by-broducts in their feeding program.  The young animals provide beef that is naturally tender and because they are fed no animal by-products, should be 100% free of BSE(Mad Cow)."

I was able to try some of their products from a health food store here in Tyler and really liked the quality, so I decided to go all out. We purchased the equivalent of a quarter cow, plus a little and loaded up the freezer! I am really excited to not have to try and hunt down meat every week. All I will have to do is head out to the freezer and pick what I want.

The Darbys were great to work with. I spoke with Cody by e-mail for a while and he was always prompt in getting back to me even though it was right around Christmas. Rachelle delivered the meat to Tyler - just a mile or two from our place and even threw in a free flank steak since we met her at an office she was already delivering to, rather than having her deliver to our house. Delivery was free. My hubby enjoyed meeting Rachelle and learning more about their farm and the meat.

The Darbys actually had our beef processed the day before, so talk about fresh meat!  They also know the man who owns the processing plant where they have the beef processed and say it is a great plant. They toured other facilities and did not find them up to their standards. It is so nice to know that they are involved through the whole process, ensuring a quality product.

So, what all do you get with a quarter beef? A lot! 4 ribeye steaks, 6 T-bone steaks,  1 package of ribs, 6 roasts, and 25 packages of ground beef. We also added on the Sampler package because I thought it would help us make the beef last for a full year, which is my goal. The Sampler package includes 2 T-bones, 1 roast, 8 packages of ground beef and 1 sirloin steak. So, in total, including our flank steak, we got 55 pieces of meat. We paid a total of $518.

Now, I know you are wondering, because I know I was, how much did I pay per pound? So, I did the calculations. I actually went in and wrote down all the weights of each individual piece of meat and then added them up. I ended up getting a total of 74.38 pounds of meat. This comes out to $6.96 per pound. While that is obviously more than I pay for a pound of ground beef (free range ground beef averages $5/lb), the cost of steaks is something that was always well above our budget. 

Like I said before, I bought this meat with the plan of having this last us for a year. This will fit right in our budget. I had been spending an average of $20/week on meat (beef, chick, pork, etc) and probably about half of that was for beef. So, I multiplied the $10 by 52 weeks and came up with a budget of $520. Obviously, I just squeaked in, but I have about 1 piece per week, which is the average of what we have had in the past, so I think we should do just fine. And now, I know that I am feeding my family a quality product.

The Darbys are currently out of chickens, but I am looking forward to stocking up on some whole chickens come spring and taking one more thing off of my shopping list!

With my move out to Tyler, I also am able to buy local organic milk from Texas Daily Harvest. They use low temperature pasteurization and never homogenize their milk. So, every 1/2 gallon of milk we get has cream on top. It is so yummy! Currently, I have to buy it at a local health store, but I am hoping to be able to start a delivery group in the near future. Texas Daily Harvest would deliver their items weekly, including items that aren't in the stores like eggs and produce. Of course, they just started a delivery to Grapevine the week we moved!


  1. we were just talking about free range meat. i wish you lived near me and could do all the homework for me! :)

  2. mmmmm, meat! I want to see if I can do this near my house!

  3. Your excellent guidelines will be of great help to many. Nice post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks!