Our Grass Fed Cattle Breeds

We currently raise two breeds of cattle:  South Poll and Devon.  Both are renowned breeds for grass fed beef.  They thrive on grass alone, have a gentle nature, and finish out tender and well-fattened.

South Poll are a 4-way cross between Red Angus, Hereford, Barzona, and Senepol.  The breed was established about 25 years ago in Alabama.  The Angus and Hereford contribute beef flavor and tenderness.  The Barzona and Senepol are heat-tolerant breeds.  Their influence helps these cattle thrive in the summer heat common to Texas and the deep South.  South Poll are well known as great ‘mama’ cows that nurture their calves well and rarely have trouble during calving.  Visit SouthPoll.com for more about this breed.

Pure bred South Poll cow

One of our pure bred South Poll cows

Some of our cattle are pure bred South Poll and others are cross bred with Devons.  Devon were brought to the American continent by the first English settlers.  For centuries they have thrived on grass alone.   Continue reading

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Reserve Your Grass Fed Beef for 2015

Update: (December 17, 2014) All 2015 calves are reserved.  Please contact us to be added to the waiting list.  We may have additional calves available in 2015 depending on our need for retail packaged beef.

We’re now accepting orders taking requests for the waiting list for 2015’s all-natural 100% grass fed beef.  We expect our calves to be ready for processing in May through July. Whole or half calves are available at $4.65 a pound, based on hanging weight, plus processing costs.  We’ll deliver your calf to a long established, locally owned butcher shop, where it will be custom processed for convenient customer pick-up in Hutto, near Round Rock and north Austin.

Short summary of how it works:
When you’re ready to order, simply contact us and we’ll respond with details on how to pay the deposit.  Your deposit reserves your beef and you simply wait for the calf to reach optimal size next spring/summer.  When the calf is ready, we’ll take it to the butcher and contact you with the hanging weight of the calf which determines the final cost of your half or whole calf.  You’ll send us payment for the balance owed and contact the butcher to let them know how you want the calf prepared (or we can tell the butcher for you).  The beef is ready for you to pick up about 3 weeks after it’s delivered to the butcher.  You pay the butcher their processing costs and they will help you pack the beef for home.

Here are many more details – please let us know if you have any questions.

From our ranch to the butcher
As your calf nears the best size for processing, we’ll contact you so you can start organizing your freezer space.  When its size and condition are right, we’ll take it to the butcher.  The next day we’ll call the butcher and get the hanging weight (the Beef Weight section below explains “hanging weight”), which determines the price of the beef.  We’ll contact you and you pay the balance of the beef cost.  We’ll then call the butcher and have them assign you as the new ‘owner’ of that beef and give them your phone number.  You call the butcher and let them know how you want the beef cut.  If you want a standard cut scheme and would rather we talk to the butcher, we’ll call them and also tell them the packaging you want.  The calf will ‘hang’ and dry age for about 2 weeks before they start the cuts and packaging.  The dry aging adds tenderness and flavor.  This is a special benefit of privately processing your beef with a smaller local butcher.  After packaging, the meat is frozen for a couple days.  The whole process takes about 3 weeks.

Our grass fed cattle graze during winter.  During growing season, we're careful to reserve enough grass so they rarely need hay.

Our grass fed cattle graze the pastures all winter. During growing season, we’re careful to reserve enough grass so they rarely need hay.

From the butcher to your home freezer
The butcher will call you when the beef is frozen hard and ready for pickup.  Within a few days, you’ll visit the butcher and pay their processing charge and pack the beef into ice chests you bring.  One medium size (48 quart) ice chest can hold about 50 lbs of beef.  It will be frozen very well so if you pack the ice chest tightly, you don’t need ice.  It will stay frozen hard several hours at least.  Then you’re off to stock your freezer!  Freezer space for beef is typically about 1 cubic foot per 30 pounds.  If the half calf’s packaged weight is around 150 pounds, you’ll need about 5 cubic feet of space.  A large chest freezer is typically 20 cubic feet, an upright around 16 and the freezer compartment in a typical kitchen refrigerator is around 4 cubic feet.

We use the Westphalia Market, a local family run butcher that’s been around since the 1960’s.   They’re a state inspected facility located 15 miles east of Temple – about an hour from Round Rock.  They can also move your beef to their shop in Hutto for an added fee of $25.

Beef weight – live, at the butcher, in your freezer
Calves are commonly weighed 3 ways – live, hanging, and packaged.  The live weight is the ‘on the hoof’ animal completely intact.  The hanging weight is the reduced weight after initial processing.  The hide, head, entrails, have been removed and calf hangs in a refrigerated space for several days before final processing.  Packaged weight is the weight of processed ‘in your freezer’ cuts.  In processing and packaging, excess fat is trimmed, some bones are removed, etc.  The most convenient time to weigh the calf is in the ‘hanging’ stage.  All butchers do this and they base their processing cost on this weight.  Some also weigh live or at packaging, but not always.  Weight is removed during processing and packaging.  The amount varies depending on the type of cuts desired, whether bones are left in, etc.  In our recent experience, the packaged weight is around 70% of the hanging weight.

Processing cost
In addition to the cost of the calf itself, there is a fee for the butcher’s work.  This is typically between 55 cents and 80 cents per pound of hanging weight and depends on paper vs. plastic packaging, tenderization, etc.  Since all butchers weigh at ‘hanging’ and base their costs on this weight, it’s easiest to price our beef according to this weight.  We allow you to pick the cuts you want and the type of packaging, so the final ‘packaged’ cost varies for each customer.

An example for a half calf
Our recent calves have had hanging weights around 400 to 480 pounds – let’s use 440 for an average.  Let’s also assume an average processing cost of 67 cents per pound.  The half calf hanging weight would be 220 lb. So our price for that beef would be 220 x 4.65, or $1023.  Processing cost paid directly to the butcher would be 0.67 x 220 = $147.  So your total cost would be $1170.  The packaged meat would weigh around 70% of the 220, which is about 154lb.  So the average cost of the packaged beef would be $1170 / 154 = $7.60.  Remember this is a rough average.  You could get more or less weight depending on bone left in the cuts, how lean you want your ground beef, etc. and the processing cost could be more or less .  Depending on these customer choices, the final packaged cost per pound can vary plus or minus 10% from this estimate, from a low of around $6.80 to a high of about $8.40 per pound.  The price of basic organically raised, grass fed ground beef at Whole Foods was over $8.00 per pound recently. With our current pricing, you’ll have not only ground beef but all the premium steaks, roasts, brisket, fajitas, etc. – at an average cost less than the price of supermarket grass fed hamburger meat.  And from a local family farm where you know the cattle were raised cleanly, humanely, with no grain or medicated feed; and processed humanely at a local family facility rather than a factory feed lot and packing plant.

Too much meat?
If a half calf is more than you can store in your freezer, consider splitting your half with a friend.  The half calf will have several packages of every beef cut – roasts, steaks, soup meat, fajitas, stew meat, hamburger, etc. and can be evenly divided quite simply.  Of course, if you choose to process the calf differently, your cuts will vary.  For example, you may want only roasts and steaks and have all else ground for hamburger.  There would still be several packages of each of your chosen cuts which can be divided easily with a friend.

Deposit
A $200 deposit per half calf will reserve your beef.  When we confirm your order, we’ll send details on how to pay the deposit.  You can mail a personal check or pay online using a Paypal invoice we email you.  When your calf is delivered to the butcher, you can pay the balance owed with either a check or through Paypal.  If something happens to the calf such as illness or escape, and we are unable to deliver it to the butcher in top condition, we will refund your full deposit.

We hope all these details answered most of your questions.  Please let us know if you need more information or would like to reserve your grass fed beef for 2015.  You can learn more about our beef in these articles on the website.  Thanks for your interest!

Update: (December 17, 2014) All 2015 calves are reserved.  Please contact us to be added to the waiting list.  We may have additional calves available in 2015 depending on our need for retail packaged beef.

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Home Delivery of Farm Produce in Austin, Round Rock, Hutto, Elgin

We’re delivering farm fresh vegetables to homes in Elgin, Manor, North Austin, Round Rock, Hutto, and Taylor.  Deliveries are Wednesday afternoons between 1:00 and 5:00.  You do NOT need to be home for the delivery.  Just leave a medium size ice chest out and we’ll drop by sometime Wednesday afternoon and fill it with fresh, organically grown vegetables from our family farm.

These deliveries are part of our expanding CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) efforts this year.   Our CSA began this spring and now resumes for the fall and winter season.  We have 2 share sizes available – a $36/week full share and a $20/week half-share.  Normally we charge $5 extra for home delivery but for this season, there is no delivery charge.  We realize the busy holiday season is here and we want to simplify your schedule and still provide healthy, safe, tasty produce to your home.

Our current harvest includes several heirloom varieties of winter squashes and pumpkins, sweet potatoes, peppers, radishes, rosemary, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, kale, green cabbage and Chinese cabbage.  We’ve planted other varieties and expect to be harvesting pak choy, Swiss chard, turnips and carrots in the coming weeks, as well as many root vegetables, greens, and other crops further on into the season.

Contents and quantity will vary from week to week depending on harvest availability.  Here’s an example of a recent $36 box:
4 large sweet potatoes
4-6 squashes/pumpkins
1 bunch radishes
1 Chinese/Napa cabbage
1 handful peppers
3 small heads broccoli
1 bag spinach
1 handful tomatoes
1 green cabbage

Our delivery route takes us from downtown Elgin, along 290 through Manor and into north central Austin (Austin delivery map).  From there we head north to Round Rock, then turn east on 79 toward Hutto and Taylor.  If you live or work near these areas, we’d love to include you in our deliveries!  If you’re not sure that you’re on our route, just ask and we’ll let you know.  We work hard to deliver to everyone interested in our farm produce.  We can also deliver to your business or office.

To help with our planning, we ask that you sign up and prepay for a month at a time.   If you will be out of town and want to skip a delivery for the week, we will apply that week’s credit to the next month.  So you never pay for vegetables that are not delivered.  Also, if our harvest diminishes due to extreme weather conditions, we will refund any prepaid deliveries that we’re unable to make.  Winter is a challenging time for farmers so we appreciate your flexibility.  In turn, we are flexible to work around holiday travel plans.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you are interested – we have a limited number of shares to offer.  We’ll get back with you regarding payment and your home’s delivery details.  You can contact us from this page or with a Facebook message.  Thank you!

 

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Heritage Turkey Processing

We raise “Heritage” turkeys.  These are not the industrial type of birds bred only for quick fattening.  We have two types – a Spanish Black/Rio Grande cross and Royal Palm.

This year our turkeys hatched May 3.  They should be just the right size for Thanksgiving next month.  To check progress, we butchered one last week along with a couple meat chickens.  We smoked and roasted the turkey for a taste check.  It was wonderful – honestly the best turkey I have ever eaten.  Here’s a look at several steps in the process:

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24 week old tom (male). He’s a Spanish Black/Rio Grande cross.

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Weekly Produce for Summer and Fall

Here’s our vegetable share box for regular customers, July 21-27. We’re hoping to continue and expand our weekly deliveries into the fall, offering various size shares.  We also have eggs, beef, and honey that can be added to your order.  Contact us if you’d like more information.

Top row, left to right; okra, garlic, scallop squash, eggplant, cantaloupe, watermelon
Bottom row; peppers, basil, red and white potatoes, golden cherry tomatoes, Swiss chard

boxJuly21

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Grass Fed Beef – Discount 10 & 15 Pound Packs

*update July 29, 2014, we are sold out of these packs.  Stay tuned for more news on available grass fed beef*

We just got back new beef from our most recent calf and have a limited supply of ‘freezer-friendly’ packs of 100% grass fed beef that can be delivered in the greater Austin area.  These all natural beef packages include a variety of cuts plus ground beef. You have a choice of a steak pack and/or a roast pack.  Together, the two packs provide a convenient and cost effective sample of many of the typical beef cuts.

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Grass Fed Beef: Grilling Steaks and Fajitas

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Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) and Fajita, just about ready. These turned out perfect.

When grilling our steaks, the best strategy is ‘hot and quick’. Our grass fed beef is lean and there is no injected solution/water as in supermarket beef so it’s easy to overcook it.

For the 1″ steaks, grill on a very hot grill no more than 8 minutes total, 3 min. on each side then 1 minute on each side. This should bring them to medium rare. After grilling, put in a pan to collect the juices and cover with foil for at least 5 minutes to ‘rest’ the steaks.  Then serve and enjoy.

Some will say grass fed beef is tough so should be cooked ‘low and slow’ – not true for our steaks. Season them with any decent steak seasoning (we use Lawry’s Seasoned Salt) about 30 to 60 minutes before grilling and then grill like you normally would for medium rare.

For the skirt/fajita, we usually marinate several hours in an Italian dressing and grill hot and fast like the prime steaks. When you serve them, be sure to slice them against the grain if you make fajita strips. This is a tougher meat naturally, and slicing with the grain will make it chewy.

Some friends prefer a more well done steak and this beef is wonderfully suited for that as well.  The beef remains tender even though grilled past medium.  Whatever your taste, you should be pleased with our grass fed beef.  If you do prefer a more rare steak, just be sure to tend your grill carefully for the brief minutes the beef is over the heat.

Enjoy!

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North Austin Deliveries for July 2014

We have been blessed with a bountiful harvest this summer and we would love to share it with you!  We’re adding a North Austin weekly Tuesday afternoon delivery as a four week vegetable share program throughout July 2014.

What you would receive: Over $30 dollars worth of fresh produce each week for four weeks. The vegetables you receive will depend on our current harvest availability. We will always do our best to provide a good variety.  Vegetables/fruits we expect to have available for these shares:
Tomatoes – cherry, slicing and sauce varieties
Cucumbers
Yellow squash, Scallop squash, Zucchini, Tatume squash
Red Potatoes, White Potatoes
Swiss chard
Watermelon, Cantaloupe
Basil, cilantro, dill
Green beans
Onions, Leeks, Garlic
Jalapeño, Italian, and banana peppers
Okra
Eggplant

Many of the vegetables we grow are heirloom varieties, so you may get to try something you’ve never seen before!  Here’s a picture of a share you could receive. Top row, left to right; garlic, dill, lemon squash, yellow squash, Italian peppers
Bottom row; red cabbage, golden cherry tomatoes, green beans, Swiss chard, Armenian cucumbers, leeks

June23Box

Where/When: Tuesday afternoons between 1:45 and 2:15 in the Dave&Busters parking lot at the 183/Mopac intersection.  OR we will deliver to your home or office for an additional $5 per week, within 5 miles of the 183/Mopac intersection – an area shown approximately on this map.  Home deliveries would happen between 12 and 3 and you don’t need to be there.  Just leave an ice chest with a small freezer pack and let us know where to find it.  We’ll leave your produce and it will keep until evening.

(by the way, if Georgetown is more convenient for you, we offer the same shares there on Thursdays in July.  Details here.)

What you pay: $120 to cover the 4 weeks, payable at your first pick-up, or $140 for home/office delivery.

Flexibility: If you need to skip a week due to travel, etc. we will allow you to slide one week so you would still receive four weeks of vegetables over a five week period. Just give us 3 days notice that you will not be picking up your share.

Our eggs and grass fed beef can also be delivered with your produce.  Special discount beef packages are available to our regular customers – just ask us about it.

First delivery is Tuesday, July 1.  Contact us soon if you’re interested.

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Elgin Local Goods Store

Elgin Local Goods just opened in downtown Elgin.  It’s a new store affiliated with the farmers market and carries produce and meats from local farms, as well as crafts and other locally made wares.  We’re stocking some of our produce and grass fed beef at the store.  It’s open Monday-Friday 11-7 and Saturdays 9-3.  Products are still being added and some renovation is ongoing, but the store is open and has enough produce to make it worth your time.  Right now, you’ll find our green beans, potatoes, garlic, and ground steak at the store. Continue reading

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Spring Harvest and Summer Planting

Harvest is coming into full production, while planting continues for middle and late summer vegetables.  Take a tour of our main garden… IMG_6377

Wider view of the producing rows, with newer green beans in the front, tomatoes in the background

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Speckled Lettuce – an heirloom variety

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Chinese (Napa) Cabbage

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Heads of ButterCrunch Lettuce, ready for the Elgin and Georgetown farmers markets

Broccoli ready for market

Broccoli ready for market

100 foot long rows of tomatoes – the first planted about a month ago and starting to bear.  The second being planted as the trellis is built.

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Garlic planted last fall is almost ready for harvest:IMG_6369

 

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