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What does 1/6 of a Cow Look like?

August 9, 2009

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My Mom, Aunt and I split 1/2 of a cow. (which is an incredibly odd sentence to say). The beef is not certified organic but it was grass-fed and processed at a small/local meat processing facility.

We got:

  • 31 pounds ground beef
  • ~18 pounds variety of steaks
  • 3 pounds minute steak
  • ~12 pounds roast (3 roasts*)

Why did I buy 1/6 of a cow? The first reason is that theHusband and I, since seeing Food Inc, are committed to knowing where our food comes from, and to buy organic or grass-fed meat as much as possible.

Meat in the general food supply has been fattened up from Day 1, eating foods the animals weren’t meant to eat, causing illnesses and other problems for the animals, which are then given antibiotics and/or growth hormones to combat the illness. These antibiotics and hormones are passed on to us, the consumer, as we eat the meat.

By the time the animals reach the slaughterhouse, they are packed in very tightly, which is uncomfortable for the animal… and doesn’t allow for any much drainage of ah, crap animal discards? It’s not much of a surprise that some of these discards make in into the food supply… causing severe illnesses for those who eat the meat, such as E Coli or Salmonella. This can lead to a meat recall (although it is done voluntarily by the meat packers. The USDA does not have the power to force a recall. yeah. who does that make sense to?). 826000 pounds of beef were recalled just last week, making (so far) 28 individuals sick (thankfully, all are recovering). Almost a million pounds! what a waste – it’s bad enough that the cows were treated so poorly, but now that meat is just going to be thrown away.

The employees of slaughterhouses aren’t treated much better. Many of the ranchers who raise the cows are in massive amounts of debt.

So, while it may sound crass to say “I bought a 1/6 of a cow”, it’s actually much more humane than buying a pack of beef at the grocery store. My money** will go directly to the meat processor, and to the rancher. The cow who will feed theHusband and I for the next many months spent it’s days in the sun eating grass and being healthy. Which means theHusband and I aren’t eating antibiotics, hormones, or crap.

*I have never made a roast before. Ok, that’s a lie. I’ve tried to make a roast, in the crock pot. It wasn’t very good.

**the only thing I’m a little worried about my 1/6 of a cow is… I don’t know how much it’s going to cost! The cow is coming from an acquaintance of my mom’s, who is being very easygoing about when/how much we’re going to pay him. As in, I have no clue how much this is going to cost me. Not even a ballpark. *fingers crossed* for something reasonable… I’ll let you know!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 5:28 pm

    Hi Allison! I’ve always thought about doing this but alas, no freezer space. Let us know how much it ends up costing, I’m really curious.

    I really wish I had my grandpa’s roast beef recipe…it was to die for. I’ll have to bug gram about that. 🙂

  2. littlehouseonthegreatflats permalink
    August 11, 2009 6:40 pm

    I want to do this! They sell 1/2 sides at the farmers market but we would need to invest in a good chest freezer and I’m not sure where we would put it. Did you ever find out how much it’s going to cost?

    • Allison permalink
      August 11, 2009 7:30 pm

      Hopefully soon! I’ll let you know 🙂

  3. September 20, 2009 10:47 am

    So neat! I currently work on a farm that sells pigs and lamb this way, and have been amazed at the amount of meat that comes out of 1/2 or 1/4 animals, and after seeing a cow butchered I really wanted to know how much meat there would be from such a huge animal. Thanks for sharing, it’s pretty amazing and I really look forward to updates! All the best.


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