Frequently Asked Questions
Here you can get answers to our customer’s most frequently asked questions.
Learn more about our beef packages and how they are produced.
Your beef is very well marbled. Why don't you advertise is Prime or Kobe beef?
To answer this question, there are a couple reasons why we cannot advertise the quality of our beef as Prime or Kobe. The primary reason for this is that our butcher is not professionally certified to grade beef, therefore we cannot legally advertise our beef as using a grading scale like Prime. The second reason is because raising every cut of beef we sell; we then need to sell every cut of beef we raise. While we strive for Prime in every animal we raise, given the genetic variation in animals we cannot guarantee every animal reaches prime grading standards.
We inform our customers of how we raise our cattle, and that it’s our belief that it is the highest quality beef in the Midwest and encourage them to judge the grading for themselves. Look at our beef and look at a USDA Prime or a KOBE beef picture and judge for yourself how the beef grades. Here is an example of our Ribeye and T-bone beef and the USDA beef grading standard.
How much freezer space do I need to store my boxed beef package?
When it comes to how much freezer space will be needed, the general rule is one cubic foot per 35-40 pounds of packaged meat.
Check your home freezer capacity and utilization to determine your space availability. Freezer space can vary significantly based on the size and type of freezer you may have. Kitchen refrigerators can vary from 3 cu-ft. to over 8 cu-ft. of freezer space. Home freezers only appliances, such as chest freezers, can vary from 3 cu-ft. to over 21 cu-ft. For example, an average 5 cu-ft. chest freezer is capable of holding most 1/4 sides of beef, but a 5 cu-ft. up right freezer will not. Up right freezers tend to hold up to 15% less than chest freezers.
Can we come see where our Beef is produced?
At Midwest Best Beef, we strive to offer more than high quality, safe, and healthy beef. We offer our customers a relationship with the land that sustains the beef, the farmer than raises the beef, and the Angus that will ultimately become the beef we sell. Our customers are welcomed and encouraged to help us build that relationship. Farm visits are an important tool used to cultivate the relationship that we aim to build between us, the farm, and our customers.
We do request that you remember this is a working farm. Farming, as with any business, requires decisions based on daily priorities. We will not always have time to meet, and things will not always be perfect. Certain tasks will sometimes take a backseat to getting a crop harvested before the weather turns bad. That being said, we value the farm visits and encourage all our customers to schedule a farm visit to learn more about us firsthand and how our beef is raised and produced.
How can I be sure the meat is safe?
Our beef is processed in a State licensed and inspected plant. It goes through the same rigorous inspection process as the meat in your local grocery.
What is the difference between Organic and Natural Beef?
Organic Beef is USDA certified organic. This mean the animal is raised and processed under the USDA’s National Organic Standards rules. Livestock certified as organic are given access to the outdoors, fresh air, water, and are fed 100 percent vegetarian organic feed. Production and handling operations must undergo onsite inspections and have farm or operating plans in place in order to be certified organic. The standards also specify feed requirements, including what is and is not allowed. For instance, in organic production, livestock cannot be fed plastic pellets for roughage, or feed formulas containing urea or manure. They cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones. Processing lockers (butcher) must segregate their handling of organic and non-organic meat.
All of these USDA requirements and record keeping drive significant cost into the final product. Additionally, finding a local locker willing to take on the organic certification regulations can be challenging.
Midwest Best naturally grown beef share many of the same standards of production. Like organic beef, our cattle are fed a strict vegetarian diet containing no antibiotics, growth hormones, or animal by-products. Our animals are also raised in a fresh, clean environment. Where natural deviates from organic is in the record keeping, processing and source of the vegetarian diet. Naturally raised cattle are not required to maintain the exhaustive record keeping from birth through processing that is required for Organic beef. Additionally, we are not limited to processors that are willing to take on the organic regulations required by the USDA. Finally, we are able to feed the animals conventional vegetarian feeds such as alfalfa, corn, and soybeans rather than certified organic versions of the same feed that cost more than traditional feed.
By opting to market natural beef rather than organic, we are able to provide a high-quality source of beef to consumers with many of the same attributes at a price that is much more affordable. We build trust in our product by striving for full transparency. We encourage people visit the farm at any time to see for themselves how we raise our cattle. We feel the “show me” approach is more reliable than a self-regulating certification process embraced by the organic industry.
Whether a farm is organic or natural like ours, we encourage people to always visit the farm and shake the hand of the person who produces your beef. We feel a farm visit will tell you more about how your food is produced than government regulations.
What do you mean by grass fed, grain finished?
At Midwest Best Beef, we like to say we raise our cattle “Old School”. We finish our beef the traditional way my father and grandfather did with quality hay and corn raised right on our farm. We appreciate that grass fed beef has many desirable health attributes, but we also realize that the majority of people have come to enjoy the taste and texture of grain finished beef. While not as efficient as industrial beef feedlots or as expensive as grass fed beef, we believe our feeding system provides the best of both worlds by providing a superior beef experience you can taste along with many of the health benefits.
Our cattle spend their entire life eating a diet rich in various high-quality grasses and alfalfa. During the last months of production, we slowly introduce increasing amounts of corn into their diet to provide the grain finished flavor and texture desired in high quality beef. See the “Feeding” section in the Life on the Farm page for more details. Grains like corn are energy-dense, and cattle finished with grain in their diet generally yield more marbled beef with a milder flavor (less gamey) than beef finished on grass alone.
Midwest Best Beef “grass-fed, grain finished” beef is higher quality and better for the environment than conventional feedlot grain-fed beef. In contrast to our high forage diet, commercial feedlots opt for a high grain/byproduct diet with little resemblance to the animal’s natural diet. Besides being harmful to the animal, it has a negative impact on taste and texture. We refer to most traditional industrial feedlots as grain-fed rather than grain finished. Grain fed refers to the practice of feeding very little quality grasses and hay in favor of primarily a grain/byproduct diet through most of the production phase.
By feeding our cattle a diet rich in quality hay, we believe they are able to retain much of the omega 3 essential fatty acids, CLA, and other beneficial nutrients found in grass finished cattle without sacrificing the high-quality taste and texture.
The animals are never concentrated in cramped feedlots or subjected to antibiotics or growth hormones. It’s grass fed, grain-finished beef done right.
Why is your beef different than commercial beef?
We are asked all the time why more farmers do not employ similar methods to develop the great tasting beef our customers have come to appreciate? Many times, even farmers that direct market will still use commercial feed methods. The short answer of course is economics. It is cheaper to use animal and food by products and waste to feed beef than high quality vegetarian feeds. However, feed economics is not the complete answer. The system is set up to encourage a race to the bottom for beef quality. I will try to explain
Farmers in general are amazingly efficient and respond quickly to market demands. In the case of beef production, the market demands and rewards ONLY efficiency. Taste is not a characteristic rewarded and therefore it is not considered. Once this is understood, you will understand why commercial beef operates the way it does and why it will never change.
If I take my cattle to the sales barn (where we sell commercial live beef), my cattle are judged on 3 things and 3 things only. The color or breed (are they Angus, Hereford, Holstein, etc.)? How much do they weigh? What is the body condition (how much fat, physical shape and health appearance, etc.)? That’s it!! Taste does not enter into the equation. It is arguable that breed and body condition effect taste, but it is not the only determining factors. The cattle go into large groups and are processed at the plant. The carcass is again graded after processing for marbling(fat) content (Prime, Choice, etc.) and sold to beef distributors.
While marbling is a contributor to taste and texture, it does not tell the entire story. Fat will vary in taste, texture and color based on the diet of the beef. For example, grassfed only beef will have a yellow appearance verses grain finished which is white in appearance. We believe feeding high quality hay and grains also effects taste but there is no way to differentiate between great tasting beef on the commercial level from poor tasting beef that is derived from cheap food byproducts. The marbling may look the same, but the flavor will be different. It is not feasible to have taste tester taste each animal.
Since there is no way to reward the farmer for taste, there is not incentive for the farmer to consider taste in the production methods. The only considerations are how fast they can gain weight in minimal facilities, how cheap can we make the weight gain and how to keep the animal healthy until processing time. Perhaps now the commercial methods make sense. The hormone promotes muscle growth. This contributes to body condition and appearance as well as rapid weight gain. The antibiotics promote healthy body appearance and keep the animal well in spite of unhealthy feedlot and poor-quality feeds. The cheap feed reduces the cost of production by lowering feed costs. None of these practices have any negative consequences in the commercial food system and therefore are tacitly encouraged by the system.
In contrast when we sell beef direct to consumers, we are judged almost exclusively on the taste of the final product. Most people do not care about the breed or the weight. They do not care about the muscling or marbling of the animal. All they usually care about is the taste. Even those who care about how we treat our beef and the additives we do not use, will admit taste is paramount. No matter how healthy the cattle are or how well cared for, if it does not taste good consumer will not buy from us.
Given all of this it might be tempting to assume any farmer that markets directly have taste as a primary consideration but that is not always true. Some farmers marketing directly to consumers will still use commercial methods because of the economics. They realize that most consumers have never experienced great beef and will not realize their direct beef is the same as commercial beef.
One way to tell if the farmer uses commercial methods is to ask what they feed and how many cattle they sell direct verse sell commercially. For us, we lose money on every beef we sell to the sales barn because of our feeding methods. If a farmer sells the majority of their cattle to the sales barn and pinches a few off for farmers markets, they are using commercial feeding methods. At Midwest Best Beef, we only raise what we think we can sell each year. This removes the commercial incentives and leaves us only with the incentives of taste, animal care, and no additives: all the things our customer care about.
What is the fat content of your ground beef.
The short answer to your questions is usually 80-85%.
I asked my butcher this question. He said “that he does not control the percentage. It is determined by the animal itself since all the ground beef comes from a single animal (no mixing from multiple animals) and is usually around 80-85%.” I asked how the grocery can offer 70% to over 90%. He explained for the higher fat content, they add waste fat from many different cows. For the very lean, they add a combination of 2 things. They sometimes use finely textured beef (aka pink slime). The beef is harvested from the layer below hides and other parts of the beef that traditional butchers cannot recover. Finely, textured meat is produced by heating the last traces of meat; scraped, shaved, or pressed from the bone and hide to over 107 degrees. Melted fat is removed by centrifuge. The “meat” is exposed to gaseous ammonia and citric acid to kill bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. The lean finely textured beef is added to ground beef as a filler or to reduce the overall fat content of commercial ground beef. 70% of ground beef sold in US supermarkets contains pink slime. Pink slime can make up to 25% of ground meat sold in the US.
The second additive is beef from old dairy cows (6-10 years old) since dairy cows tend to be lean and tenderness is not an issue with ground beef. (I tend to think flavor counts). This also lowers the fat content.
Why is fat in my ground beef actually a good thing?
I am always amazed folks will pay a premium for “Lean” store bought ground beef and a premium for “well marbled” prime Ribeye. These are at odds with each other. The flavor in beef comes from the marbling. Marbling is a euphemism for inter muscle fat. In a steak, marbling gives the steak its flavor and texture. The more marbling the more flavor. This is why a Prime Ribeye is worth considerably more than a Select Ribeye. The same is true for ground beef. The marbling or fat gives the ground beef its flavor and juicy texture. We have all heard the phrase “a great juicy burger”. Has anyone ever in the history of burgers spoken the phrase “A great dry burger”? I think not. The fact is the marbling in the ground beef gives you the flavor and “juicy texture” that is the foundation of a great burger.
Another reality to consider is that I cannot give you Prime Steaks and Lean ground beef. The inter muscle marbling that produces an exceptional steak is also present in the trimming that will become your ground beef and ultimately your juicy burger. We do not add additional fat (see the FAQ “What is the fat content of your ground beef.” for more explanation).
If this is all true, how did we get to the point where low-fat ground beef is considered higher quality? I believe there are 2 sources for this.
- Cheap store-bought beef tends to be higher in fat as well as other fillers and additives. Animal fat is cheap and makes a great filler for poor quality beef. Therefore, fat along with other fillers are added to poor beef to in increase the taste and add weight. This beef also often has “Pink Slime” added. Unlike our ground beef, 70% of beef sold in this country contains it. Burgers made from this poor-quality beef will also shrink considerably (See https://www.midwestbestbeef.com/did-you-know/ – Did you know the beef you buy can be up to 12 % injected water and chemical solutions?” for more detail). Since fat is the only characteristic advertised on the package, people have begun to associate high fat with poor quality.
- The other influence I believe comes from the early 2000’s. During that time there was a diet craze that asserted that fat makes you fat. Therefore, in order to reduce body fat, we needed to reduce our intake of fat in our diet. An easy way to do this was to buy lean ground beef. The “Fat make you Fat” assertion has been debunked but the perception that lean ground beef is higher quality still persists.
What is “aged” beef?
Aging occurs while the beef is hanging in a refrigerated cooler, at a specific temperature and humidity, for 10 to 16 days after harvest and prior to cutting. When beef is dry aged two things happen. First, moisture evaporates from the muscle creating a greater concentration of beefy flavor and taste. Secondly, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the fibrous, connective tissue in the muscle, tenderizing it. Most of the tenderizing activity occurs in the first 10 to 14 days. In today’s modern processing plants, the meat is broken down and vacuum-sealed in plastic bags within 24 hours. Much of this beef will show up in a grocery store meat case within 2 to 4 days after harvest. Our beef is dry aged a minimum of 10 days.
Are the cattle treated humanely?
At Midwest Best Beef, we appreciate and honor the role beef play in the food chain. Consequently, we care for our animals with as much dignity and compassion as we can until the meat is harvested.
Unlike industrial feedlots, our animals are not crowded into spaces a little as 32 sq. ft./head. We also strive to maintain clean and dry facilities. The conditions we provide eliminate the need to supplement the feed with routine antibiotics.
When it comes time to harvest the meat, the cattle are transported to a local small-town locker (aka butcher) in a small private livestock trailer rather than being crammed into a large semi-truck livestock trailer.
Once at the local locker, the animals are unloaded into an isolated holding pen and kept overnight for processing the next day. This allows them to calm down from the distress associated with the transport to locker. The entire process is designed to reduce stress and anxiety in the animal. Besides being inhumane, anxiety and stress have negative impacts on the beefs flavor and texture.
The steers are ultimately led to a separate room where they are dispatched. We do not use electric stun equipment. While very efficient for mass volume, these modern industrial methods can be unreliable or cause unnecessary suffering to the animal.
Why isn't shipping free like other suppliers?
The short answer is shipping is never free. Other providers simply adjust the price of the product to account for the shipping. They also tend to hide the cost by selling packages that have some beef and a lot of inexpensive items like potatoes, seasonings, desserts, etc. By design, this makes it hard to compare the actual cost of the beef with shipping. They also tend to create very small cuts with odd sizes, for example 5 oz ribeye. This is so they can get the number of cuts up while keeping the weight down and making it hard to know what you are actually paying for the beef.
At Midwest Best Beef, we do not sell potatoes, deserts, or seasons to dilute the packages and make them seem like a better bargain. We also do not hide the shipping cost.
Another method national boxed beef providers employ is having fulfillment centers strategically placed around the country. This allows them to fill an order for Florida with relatively similar shipping costs as filling an order in New Mexico or perhaps Washington state. This also means you may get very different meat depending on where each fulfillment center is stocked from.
At Midwest Best Beef, we do not have fulfillment centers or reginal sources of beef. We raise all the beef we sell, and it comes from our family farm whether we are shipping it 25 miles or 250 miles.
Finally, we do not think it is fair to add to the cost of the product to cover shipping because (unlike large, boxed providers) much of our product is sold locally right from the farm. It does not seem fair to include shipping in the product for those who do not ship. For these reasons and more, we have opted to charge for shipping as required. We do not add anything other the actual cost of the shipping and packaging.
Why do I need to order 3x the amount of ground beef, roasts or other cuts as I order in steaks? I only wants steaks!
We get it. (Most) Everyone loves steaks. When you go to a restaurant, no one makes you buy a hamburger to offset your steak. The problem is we are a small farmer. We are not a wholesale distributer with vast outlets to balance our inventory. We are also not a retailer who buys from a wholesaler based on demand allowing them to buy whatever ration of steaks to ground beef the customer demands. We are just a farmer that raises our beef and processes it for sale. We only sell what we raise, so we must sell everything we process. Only 15 % of a beef is steaks. About 50% of the beef is ground beef. The remainder is roasts and other cuts. When a customer buys a box of steaks, they may end up buying all the steaks from a single beef leaving hundreds of pounds of ground beef and roast. If we are not careful, we will run out of steaks and have nothing left to sell but ground beef and roasts. We ask our customers to help us out by buying at least 3x the weight of the steaks in other cuts. For example: if you buy 2 ribeye’s and 2 T-bones, it would help us out if you bought 10 lbs. of ground beef and a chuck roast with it. This way we can keep supplying a mix beef cuts to all of our customers and avoid running out of steaks.
It has been suggested that we could limit demand by raising the costs of the steaks to the point where the demand is in balance with the other cuts. This seems wrong to us. We like to think all of our customers should enjoy a mix of beef. By asking all customers to purchasing a balance of our beef, we can provide a wide range of beef to everyone at fair prices.
Do you practice "sustainable agriculture"?
Sustainable agriculture is one of those industry buzzwords that are a label that people like to apply to their business in order to give the customer the impression that they are environmentally responsible. The official definition of “Sustainable agriculture” as defined in the U.S. is an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will over the long term:
- * Satisfy human food and fiber needs.
- * Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.
- * Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls.
- * Sustain the economic viability of farm operations.
- * Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
The basic goals of sustainable agriculture are environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity (sometimes referred to as the “three legs” of the sustainability stool).
Since the term sustainable agriculture is purposely vague in its definition, it is quite easy for anybody to claim to be sustainable. At Midwest Best Beef we believe in honesty and transparency. By our definition of sustainability, I would say we do practice sustainable agriculture. However, rather than giving a simple “yes, we are” answer to the question of sustainable agricultural practices, I will tell you what production practices we incorporate and let you decide for yourself how sustainable we are.
Soil Erosion Control
Controlling soil erosion in our opinion is one of the most important things that any farmer can do and is the foundation of sustainability in our estimation. Topsoil is the most precious commodity a nation possesses. Without topsoil we cannot grow crops and without crops we cannot sustain human life. It takes about 500 to 1,000 years to produce one inch of topsoil. We are currently losing topsoil at a rate of 1% per year. At Midwest Best Beef we take extra effort to try to conserve our topsoil as best we can.
There are three primary practices that we implement in order to reduce topsoil loss.
- * Contour planting – The primary tool we use to reduce our crops oil loss is Contour planting. This is the practice of planting our crops that follow the natural Contours of the land. When it rains water runs downhill. If the crops are planted in such a way that allows the water to follow the planted row, the water will follow that row causing a concentration of flow at that location. This concentration of water flow will increase the amount of soil trapped in the flowing water and lead to a ditch or a deep erosion. The goal of Contour planting is to make sure that the water always runs perpendicular to the planted row crop. The rows form hundreds of small dams that slow water flow and increase infiltration to reduce erosion.
- * Strip fields – Strips fields are the practice of planting narrow fields of row crops rather than large Square Fields as is commonly seen in our area. Many farmers that practice contour planting will still partition their Farm into large square fields. This is done primarily for ease of planting and harvest. Small strips are not friendly to Modern large industrial agricultural equipment that are used today. Strip fields reduce erosion by creating small ridges between fields. Ridges formed by contoured rows slow water flow and reduce erosion
- * Minimum tillage- We Implement a farming practice referred to as minimum tillage. The common tillage practice in past decades was using a mow board plow to turn over the soil every year. While providing an ideal seedbed for the new crop it left the soil vulnerable to erosion. All of the crop residue from the previous year was turned over and buried. The crop residue gives the soil something to cling to in order to stay in place. We use a tool called a soil finisher. This implement is a shallow tillage tool that only works the top two or three inches of soil. By only doing light shallow tillage, we are able to incorporate manure and the crop residue from the previous year into the top 2 or 3 inches of soil. This gives the soil something to hold onto and stay in place during heavy rains. It also reduced runoff from manure by incorporating into the ground and making it more available for plant utilization.
Soil health is another area of farming that is often overlooked by conventional farmers. Conventional farmers will tend to rely heavily on synthetic fertilizers with no regard to the natural biological systems of the soil. At Midwest Best Beef we do use commercial fertilizers, but we also employ practices that will help build our soil health.
On our farm we grow most of the feed that we use for our cattle. All of the hay and corn that are fed to our cattle come directly from our soil. We also harvest much of the crop residue from the cornfields to use as animal bedding. By utilizing the practice of deep pack bedding, the manure, and crop residue mixture will begin to compost. The soiled bedding is eventually returned to the field in the form of fertilizer. As we grow our herd and our manure ssupply increases, we hope to continue to reduce the amount of commercial fertilizer required to grow our crops. Another often overlooked fertilizer practice that we focus on is the choice of commercial fertilizers. Many commercial farmers will use liquid nitrogen as a fertilizer source. It is a cheap source of nitrogen and quick and easy to apply. However, we avoid that practice on our farm because of the extreme cold of the fertilizer. It tends to kill all the beneficial microbes and soil organisms. We believe that soil bacteria as well as the earthworms and other organisms that call the soil home are essential for sustainable agriculture.
Animal Care is another segment of sustainable agriculture. Two of the pillars of sustainable agriculture with regard to Animal Care are stocking density and manure management.
- * At Midwest Best Beef we are dedicated to providing our animals with the best possible care. We stock our cattle shed and Paddock at a rate roughly half of what is recommended for a conventional feeding operation. By reducing our animal density, we reduce the environmental impact with manure runoff.
- * The other essential practice we incorporate is the use of deep pack bedding in our cattle shed. Many large cattle operations will utilize a manure pit for storage. The manure pit does save a considerable amount of labor, but it also creates some environmental issues. The manure creates a toxic gas that has been known to claim the life of both animals and farmers. Additionally, the runoff from the application of the concentrated manure will end up in streams and rivers leading to nitrogen pollution in our water system. By incorporating a deep pack bedding system, we are able to trap the manure with the corn residue. This eliminates the toxic fumes associated with a manure pit. Additionally, when the manure is spread on the fields it has already begun the composting process and will cling to the bedding material allowing more of it to stay on the field and provide nutrients to the crop. The minimum tillage practices mentioned earlier allows us to incorporate that manure into the soil as soon as possible thus reducing any possible runoff and water contamination.
How does ordering bulk direct from the farm work?
When you order a custom beef you place an order for a quarter, a half, or a whole animal. We traditionally fill custom 1/4 orders in the fall early winter and in the summer, but we do have pre-processed quarters year around while supplies last. When the animals are finished, we will take them to the local butcher for processing. We get you in contact with our butcher and they will walk you through all of the different options that are available so you can have your beef processed to your liking. We are happy to help you understand your processing choices so do not be afraid to ask. Once your order is complete; we will make arrangements with you to pick up or deliver your quarter beef. For the pre-processed quarters, you will not have cutting options. Pre-processed orders have the same cuts as our select package, just in larger quantity.
When can I order and am I obligated to order early?
Orders are taken year-round. Pre-processed quarters are available all year. Custom processing orders are usually only available around Nov – January and April – June. Contact us to confirm since it may vary from year to year.
For custom orders, we will do our best to accommodate your delivery date. This is dependent on the finish of each beef and coordinating processing times with the butcher. Once we are close to delivery to the locker, we will confirm the custom order with you and request a $200 down payment. The down payment demonstrates a commitment to complete the order. The orders are filled on a first come first serves basis. A down payment guarantees your beef.
For orders that come in after our beef is processed, we keep back a few pre-processed quarters to fill new order outside our processing window. However, these quarters are processed generically to appeal to the broadest possible customer base. The pre-processed quarters contain the following:
Ribeye, Sirloin, T-bone or New York Strip and Tenderloin, and round steaks.
Chuck, Rump, Sirloin, and Arm Roast
Hamburger, Short Ribs, Stir Fry Meat, and Stew Meat.
Any item can be replaced with Ground beef upon request. For example, some people would rather have the chuck roast ground into hamburger.
Can I save by ordering with friends?
Combining orders with friends is a great way to take advantage of the custom processing. However, the price for ordering a custom 1/4 is the same as a custom 1/2 or even whole animal. We do this because we do not think it is fair to our customers who might not need a 1/2 a beef and can’t find someone to split it with them to have to pay more than a person who is getting a half. Other farmers may have lower prices for larger orders, such as 1/2 and whole animal orders, as a way to have their customers recruit new customers for them.
How much beef will I receive and how much will it cost?
Purchasing on carcass weight is a common method because this is the weight the locker plant uses to assess charges. We will request a $200 down payment before we delivery the beef to the locker for processing. Once the beef is processed you will pay us for the balanced owed for the meat based on this hanging (carcass) weight plus the remaining butcher processing fees at the time of pick-up. Typically, you will pay around $0.92/lb. hanging weight for processing. This will vary based on your processing decisions. For example, how much hamburger, any tenderizing and number of hamburger patties you choose.
The retail beef carcass yield will typically be around 62-63% retail cuts from carcass hanging weight. This may vary from animal to animal based on cutting instructions and animal generics. Therefore, a typical 1/4 beef for average animal that hangs @800 lbs. will yield ~126 lbs. of retails beef.
The weight for a whole steer typically ranges from 650–950-pound carcass weight. Prices are calculated on that weight for meat and processing charges. For Example:
1/4 Beef hanging weight = 200 lbs.
Beef Cost = 200 * $3.65 = $730 to the farmer
Processing = $0.92 * 200 lbs. = $184 to the processor
Total Cost = $184 + $730 = $914
Therefore, the typical retail cost average out to ~ $7.30 /lb. retails. This may vary based on cutting instruction and animal genetics.
While this is typical, it is important to remember the final price can vary widely based on the size of the animal.
See Your Beef Breakdown, Explained?
What do you mean by carcass weight?
Carcass weight – The weight of the side of beef hanging in the cooler. An Angus would yield approximately an 800-pound carcass. This is average and can vary +/- 150 lbs. The retail cut percentages are approximately 15-17% are steaks, 32-35% are roasts, 45-50% is ground beef, and 10-15% is made-up of other cuts such as brisket, and trim products. (Source USDA)
What do you mean by "custom" processing?
Each side of beef is cut to the customer specifications, such as thickness of steaks, size of roasts, one- or two-pound packages of ground beef, etc. You can also ask the butcher about Beef summer sausage, ring bologna, hamburger patties, bratwurst, or a variety of beef sticks. Extra charges would apply for specialty items. You can choose more ground beef and less roasts? You can eliminate certain cuts such as brisket. When your side of beef is at the locker, we will put you in contact with the butcher to discuss all your options.
What is a CSA Beef Share?
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in an arrangement where the members buy shares of the farmer’s product. The share can be a percentage of a vegetable harvest, eggs, dairy, etc. In our case, the CSA member is buying a share of beef. You will receive a monthly share delivery. We like to think of it as a beef of the month club. Each month you will get a different combination of steaks, roasts, ground beef, etc. The share subscriptions are 6 or 12 months in duration. Shares are sized for quantities of 5, 10, 20, and 40 lbs. of beef per month. We ask our customs to place a down payment for their share. Each month you will receive a 1/6 or 1/12 of your share for 6 months or 12 months respectively. Buying shares allows our customers to enjoy some of the savings associated with bulk purchasing without the large lump sum expense or the need to store 130 pounds of beef at home. It also ensures your supply of beef through the entirety of your membership.
The side of beef equivalent for each share is detailed in the table. Each share subscription will receive the entire side of beef equivalent (all the cuts) just as if you purchased the side of beef.
|Monthly share||6 Month subscription
Side of Beef
|12 Month subscription
Side of Beef
|5 lb.||NA||1/8 Beef|
|10 lb.||NA||1/4 Beef|
|20 lb.||1/4 Beef||1/2 Beef|
|40 lb.||1/2 Beef||Whole Beef|
For example: If you purchase a 12-month 10lb (1/4 beef) share membership, we will ask for a $125 membership fee plus your processing fees. We will then deliver a 10 lb. package of meat each month for 12 months. The farmer share of your costs will be split into 12 equal amounts and billed with each delivery (approximately $60 depending on actual weight).
Are all my monthly deliveries the same in content and size?
The monthly delivers will be relatively the same in size(weight) but will vary in content. Since the individual cuts of a beef are not equally portioned, it is impossible to deliver the same content each month. One month you may receive a ribeye and a round steak. The next month you may receive a T-bone and a sirloin. We do our best to give you a little of each of the major groups each month (steaks, roasts, ground beef, stew meat), but that will vary depending on the size of your share and any special requests such as steaks only in the summer. You will receive the entire contents of your share over the CSA Share membership.
Example: Monthly package Contents for each 12-month 1/4 share membership contain
1-3 – Steaks
0-1 – 2.75 lbs. Roasts
4-6 – 1 lbs. Ground Beef
0-1 – 1 lbs. Stew Meat
Can I define what is delivered each month? For example, can I have my roasts and ground beef delivered in the winter and steaks and hamburger delivered in the summer when I grill?
Absolutely. It is your share, and we will deliver your share content in any order or mix you request. If you want your roasts in the winter and more steaks in the summer grilling season, make sense to us. If you have a guest coming and you want something special to serve, just let us know and we will adjust your monthly deliveries accordingly. When you buy a share, you are buying a portion of a beef. You will get your entire share over the subscription period. How we deliver that share can be up to you. If you do not want to think about it, we can deliver an equal mix of steaks, roasts, and ground beef each month.
What if I have not consumed all of my monthly beef delivery and want to skip the next delivery?
You may contact us at any time to request skipping a delivery. We will simply skip the next month’s delivery and push your subscription out a month. We will also contact you approximately 1 week before each delivery as a reminder. This will give you an opportunity to re-schedule your share delivery if needed.
Can I get my CSA quarterly or semiannually rather than monthly?
Absolutely. Most of our customers opt for monthly deliveries but we do have a few that opt for every other month or even every 3 or 4 months. Sometimes this is to save on shipping. Other times it merely functions as a way to allow for there to be in-home freezer space available or to spread out the payments. The only stipulation is we ask you take full possession of all your beef by the end of your membership period.
Why does my total share specify a range item rather than a set number of cuts?
CSA members are buying a share of an animal. Each animal will vary in size and content. For example, a longer animal will have more steaks. The share contents are based on averages and will vary slightly from animal to animal. Since each share is billed based on weight, you will always get all the meat you paid for. If you are interested in a set cut count, we do offer our packages that specify a specific count rather than a range.
How do I know when and where my order will be picked up?
Each month’s delivery location will be the same, but the date will be the next pickup date available. Your reminder email will specify the delivery location, date, and time one week in advance. If you desire a new drop site location at a more convenient location, we are happy to create a new one. We just require a 50 lb. monthly delivery to add a new site. Get some of your friends and neighbors together to create a 50 lbs. delivery demand and we can meet at a place of your choosing.
How can I be sure I get all the meat from my share?
If you purchase your share before the beef is processed, it will be custom processed for you. This means each piece will be wrapped and labeled with your name and a “NOT FOR RESALE” stamped on it. This ensures two things.
1) You get your meat and only your meat. The meat that is delivered to you each month is from a single cow. There is no mixing with other cows.
2)Your meat can only be delivered to you. Your meat cannot be resold or delivered to someone else since it will be prominently labeled with your name and not for resale.
How is my meat stored? Can I be sure it is safe?
All of our meat for both resale and CSAs are stored on our farm in our two commercial walk-in freezers (12x8x8). Our CSAs are all kept segregated from the retail to ensure no mix ups. Each person’s CSA is kept bundled together. We welcome farm visits to show customers in person how we manage our beef, both the animals and finished product.
Any other questions? Please Contact Us