Buying a side of beef can be an economical way of filling your freezer with premium beef and supporting your local organic farmer but the process can be extremely confusing for the first time customer. Below is a brief outline of the steps, how it works and what you can expect.
Determine your needs. The first thing you need to do if you are thinking of buying a cow is to determine how much beef you feel your family will consume in an average year. Yes, a year! At Geiger Farm we only send cows to butcher once a year, in October; therefore, you need to have a good estimate. I usually suggest that you start by figuring about how many pounds of beef you buy a month on average (ground beef, grilling steaks, roast) and multiply that by 12. This will be a good estimate for the first year and you can adjust up or down next year. Now that you have your number of pounds lets look at how to translate that to 'How much do I order, a whole or a side?
How much to order. Before you can calculate how much beef is right for your family, you will need a brief understanding of beef weights and yields. Beef weight and yield is perhaps the most confusing of all the steps in buying your beef, because the weight of beef changes during different stages of processing.
Every cow is different and yields can vary, but some general guides are :
Spring Ordering. Beef must be reserved by April of the butcher year. Beef is available by the whole cow or half cow (also called a "side" of beef ). However, we may be able arrange 1/4 buyers together to create a "side" order. We will need your name, address, email, phone number and a commitment for a whole or side of beef. You can email jack at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deborah at email@example.com or call Deborah at 913.367.7005. We are happy to talk with you and answer any question you have.
The 2019 Rail price is $3.00per pound.
Research. Do a little research ahead of time, educate yourself on cuts of beef.and take notes on your families eating style. Before interfacing with the butcher to provide your cutting instructions, you will want to know what cuts you like and what you do not care for. Think of the ways you normally eat beef.
Freezer Space. Time to prepare a place for your beef. A good rule of thumb is 1 cubic foot of freezer space for every 35-40 pounds of cut and wrapped meat. If you choose meat with no bones, like hamburger, then this may require more space as the packages will be oddly shaped. Beef has a freezer life of about 1 year, after that the flavor starts to diminish
Butcher Day. Around the last week of October, Jack and I will load up your cow and take it to Bern Meat Plant for slaughter. Once the cow has been slaughtered, it will hang to age for 14-21 days. During this time Nancy from Bern Meat Plant will call you for your cut and wrap instructions. You will give her: your name, phone, name of your farmer, & size of your beef (whole or half). Nancy will walk you through the process of how you would like your beef cut. She is very experienced and helpful, feel free to ask her questions and let her know if this is your first time with cutting instructions.
Payment. Once your beef is slaughtered, Bern Meat will call us with the rail weight of your cow. We will invoice you. Payment to Jack Geiger, 2020 Raccoon Road, Robinson, Kansas 66532, must be received before you pick up your beef at Bern, You will also pay Bern Meat Plant directly at pick up for processing, plan on .52 cents per pound for cut & wrap and a $48.00 slaughter fee.
Pick Up your Beef. Once you pay the butcher (take a check book, most do not take debit cards), they will wheel out your beef on carts and help you fill your car. You will not need ice to keep the meat cold. It comes out of the freezer at sub zero and will keep itself cold for the ride home. Remember to leave a steak out when you get home to celebrate! :)
Thawing Your Beef. Many first time customers are also weekly shoppers, and so most meats are already thawed or fresh. The best way to thaw meat is to plan what you are having for meals the coming week and place those cuts into the fridge for a couple of days. A quick method is to take off the butchers paper and wrap, place in a zip lock bag in a bowl of hot water, changing the water as necessary. This should thaw most meats in about 30 minutes. I do not recommend using a microwave for thawing.
Thank You for your interest in our certified organic farm and beef. We strive to provide only the best, expect only the best and work for only the best. We are especially sensitive to families with young children and believe that working to provide your children, and ours, with wholesome organic food is one of our primary missions.
-Jack & Deborah Geiger