Where’s The Beef?

I just purchased my first cow! Well, this is half a cow shown above. I had the pleasure of working with Meadow Mountain Farms, a local farm who raise grass fed beef.

Many of you have asked about where to or how to find a local farm to purchase your meat.  I wanted to start a listing of places to buy beef and pork. I also wanted to write a how-to and Q&A.

If you have any questions that you would like to ask or recommend a farm – please leave a comment below. Leave any tips you have for buying beef directly from a farmer as well! I am hoping we can all help each other!

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  • Laura

    I have also been looking to buy grass fed beef. Just trying to save up the money :)

    We recently started drinking raw milk from a local farmer in Yellow House and we love it!
    Do you notice the grass fed beef is tougher than the regular store bought beef? If so, do you prepare it differently?

  • Sonja

    I grew up in a family that only bought our beef “by the cow” … get everything cut exactly the way you want, wrapped the way you want, and it tastes sooooooooooo much better than some of the grocery stores. Can’t say that I’ve ever worried about if stuff is hormone free, but will warn those that want “grass fed” up to the last living days of the cow — you will get an after taste in your meat of the grass. Grain fed at the end is how they can get the “grass” flavor out of the cow’s system. I live in the Gettysburg, PA area and use Norman Shriver — paid $2.89 a pound this past spring for half a cow. Just a note as well, the per the pound price is paid on the weight of the carcus when they hang it before butchering into your desired cuts. That means bones are part of the weight. I suggest if you don’t want to dish out the full expense the first time, that perhaps you find another family willing to split the beef with you. Usually it is cheapest to buy a full cow, second cheapest to go a half. You can get just a quarter, but the price increases per pound again.

    • Sonja,

      I have been doing solely grass fed for 2 years and I don’t think there is a grass taste. I have read up on grain vs grass finish extensively and there are some differences. They don’t finish them on grain to get rid of any taste, it is to fatten them quicker. It is purely economical in most cases. Most are fed corn, which I would rather skip. We bought our cow based on finish weight instead of hanging weight – that is an important thing to discuss with your farmer.

      The hormones and grass finish is important to me, but might not be to everyone, but just wanted to clarify why:

      Here is a little more information on grain/grass finished:

      Grain finishing became the industry standard, because it enabled animals to fatten and mature earlier, thus making it much cheaper to “finish” them to a desired weight, and because of the changes that grain feeding causes in the tissues, the meat from almost any animal can be made tender through grain finishing.

      When considering the definition of grass fed beef, most beef animals have probably eaten grass at some point in their lives, but the important thing is that they’re “finished”, or fattened on grass, rather than grain, for the 90 – 160 days before slaughter.

      During those few months of grain finishing the levels of important nutrients like CLA and Omega 3 decrease dramatically in the beef animal’s tissues. It is in the finishing process that those levels and ratios drastically decline because of the grain feeding, and that is why it’s so important to make sure that the beef you eat is not only grass fed, but grass finished.

  • Kelly

    We buy grass-fed, non-hormone beef from an Amish farmer. I live in Pottstown but travel once every other month to his farm near Shady Maple in Blue Ball. His ground beef is 4.50 a pound, which is cheaper than anywhere else I can find. He also has poultry and pork. How much was your beef, per pound? I have been debating buying half a cow for some time. (The name of the farm is the Down the Lane Farm and it is on a small road that borders the Shady Maple property, but they do not have a phone or a website.)

    • Hey Kelly,

      I have lived in MOrgantown for the past 7 years.. we just moved away. I am familiar with his farm, but does he completely grass fed or does he grain finish?

      • Kelly

        Hi Shannon –

        Embarrassingly, I don’t remember. I started going to him years ago, and I asked then, but I was talking to so many farmers that I don’t remember his responses. (I have two daughters and the lack of hormones was the most important part of the equation for me. I didn’t make a huge distinction between fully grass-fed and grain-finished.) I will ask him next time I go, and let you know. So excited to hear what you have to share on this topic!

        • Hi Kelly,

          LOL don’t be embarrassed – most places are grain finished. There was a place that was at the local farmers market that was grain finished as well. I had been buying the hamburger from the Wyo Farmer Market and he is $5.99 a lb.

          BTW, I grew up in Ptown. Lived there until 1997 after college.

  • I’ve been thinking of doing this but was it really expensive? Like the initial output?

    • Yes, it is expensive. Fortunately, we had 6 months to prepare for it. I figured it out to cost $27.50 per week for 4 meals a week or $6.85 a meal.