We’re now accepting orders for 2017’s all-natural, healthy, 100% grass fed beef. Our calves are processed in June/July and in October/November. Whole or half calves are available at $4.75 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 in summer or early fall. 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. You can ask them to save bones for making bone broth or for your dogs. The butcher can also package extra beef fat for rendering into tallow. 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.
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 40 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 and fire up the grill! Freezer space for beef is typically about 1 cubic foot per 25 pounds. If the half calf’s packaged weight is around 150 pounds, you’ll need about 6 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 3 to 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.
In addition to the cost of the calf itself, there is a fee for the butcher’s work. This is typically between 60 cents and 85 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 320 to 380 pounds – let’s use 350 for an average. Let’s also assume an average processing cost of 75 cents per pound. The half calf hanging weight would be 175 lb. So our price for that beef would be 175 x 4.75, or $831. Processing cost paid directly to the butcher would be 0.75 x 175 = $131. So your total cost would be $962. The packaged meat would weigh around 70% of the 175, which is about 123lb. So the average cost of the packaged beef would be $962/123 = $7.82. 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 $7.00 to a high of about $8.60 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.
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. You can learn more about how our beef is raised and cooking ideas in these articles on our website. Thanks for your interest!