Feb 19 2008

Oh, have a cow


I’m getting really sick of beef recalls. Not sick from food poisoning–just generally disturbed.

The latest recall is the biggest one yet. What’s worse–the meat in question has likely already been consumed. Lovely.

Short of going vegetarian, experts are advising people to buy their meat locally. If you live in Pennsylvania, here’s a site that can help you find local meat sources.

But what does "buy local meat" mean if you have a limited grocery budget?

At McGinnis Sisters, current prices reflect a bargain. If you buy 10 pounds of ground beef, you’ll pay $1.99/lb., or $2.28/lb. if you buy less than 5 lbs. Oh, hi, that’s cheaper than what Giant Eagle charged me the other day!

Even though I’d have to travel a ways to get there, if I buy a 10-pound pack, that’s going to last awhile.

This price list for Brunton Dairy seems reasonable, but I don’t think the prices have been updated in awhile. My reasoning? A half a gallon of milk costs $1.50, according to their site. That’s well under the Pennsylvania dairy minimum wholesale price of $1.71 for nonft milk and $1.87 for fullfat milk in this region. By the way, retail for 1 percent milk in my region this month is $3.54/gallon. I don’t know what it’ll be for March.

I called Brunton Dairy to ask their current prices. My call went to the answering machine. I’ll try again later.

Between farmers markets (season is coming soon!), these little shops and Whole Foods, local, humanely processed meats are available. (By the way, what does a pound of ground beef cost at Whole Foods?)

If only pricey meats are available to you, you can go vegetarian one night or more per week for dinner. Consider adding beans or vegetables to ground beef to stretch it further.

Where do you buy meat? How much does it cost? What options are available to you?

Posted under Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Oh, have a cow”

  1. I hear you! Seeing these re-calls happening more and more is scary stuff! Although, I just can’t imagine going vegetarian. I’d never make it!

    Sandi and I both buy our beef locally. A distant relative of mine is a farmer and we buy a side of beef from him every year. My parents buy the other side. Its a LOT of beef and fills my deep freeze. But, it lasts at least a year, if not more. And, last year we paid $1.39 lb. for processing. When you figure in the cost we also paid to the farmer for the actual cow, it still comes out to just under $1.50 lb.

    We tell the processing plant to make it very lean. Although I have no specific way of knowing, it cooks up just as lean as the 90/10 variety, if not even less greasy. Overall, I feel it is the best way for us to go. Its local, safe, and cheaper than the grocery store.

    As far as poultry and pork, I’m buying those items at the grocery store. But, I’m going to start investigating ways to incorporate organic as much as I can.

  2. We buy our beef from a farmer also.We pay 39 processing,$1.50lb hanging weight to the farmer.$10.to kill it.all total we pd $2.00 a lb.This cow has lasted us 7mon.and still more in the freezer.I even sold some of my hamburger and steaks.
    Call around and ask farmers if they will sell a cow or half a beef.
    alot of money out of first but in the long run will worth it.Saved money and I know it’s safe.Pamela in Ks

  3. I think buying a side of beef is a great idea.

    I live in an apartment now, but someday it would be great to have a large freezer.

  4. Lentils and rice make a very good sub for ground beef. I fed my family enchiladas and burgers last week and everyone ate it (even German meat and potatoes construction worker husband!)

    I made 1 lb. lentils, 3 c. brown rice, 12 c. water and cooked for about 45 minutes. Our family of 9 ate it twice and I had to freeze half of it!

    I paid $3.37 at Sam’s Club today for milk (Southeast region) and it’s going for $4.19 at the grocery stores.Organic milk is going for $5.49 a gallon.

  5. I’d love to buy from a farmer or other local place. Actually, I think I’ve only bought beef once in the last year! Not my meat of choice…. Any ideas how to find a local source for non-PA residents?

  6. I was a butcher for 3 years and whenever something like this happened people would freak out and I’d answer questions all day about our beef, etc.

    We had choice and prime beef. 30 bucks a pound for filet. It was all natural corn fed beef.

    The most expensive was 40 bucks a pound and that was dry aged prime bone-in new york. like butter..

    ground beef was 4 bucks pound, pure ground chuck..

    This is in Newport Beach,CA so we can get away with high prices haha.

  7. About once a month I go to a meat market that’s about 30 miles away & get all kinds of meat. Then I marinate it in whatever & freeze it. (That way, when I thaw it out, it’s already marinated.)

    I don’t know exactly how much it is. But they have deals where you can get like XX lbs of beef, so much pork, so much chicken, 5 lbs of potatoes, etc for $30. That’s always a GREAT DEAL! :-)

  8. We have slowly gone away from eating beef. We buy more whole chickens at .79 cents a pound, so 1 chicken might cost $3 for a meal for 3 adults with leftovers for chicken noodle soup. We are surrounded by farms so beef is plentiful and is usually angus beef. Since we need to cut down on out meat consumsion anyway (doctor’s orders) we just quit buying beef. We now eat more vegetables and fruit (which is a lot cheaper than meat) nowdays.

  9. Ugh, I’m about to cross off beef on my menu with all these recalls. We have lots of free range chicken farms around here so, I’m going to check on that. I’m just afraid it might be way over my budget.

  10. I have the best option of all, I get my meat for free. My dh hunts, and brings home enough free-range, grass-fed red meat to last a year. No hormone, antibiotic-injected beef for us.

  11. I bought a half of long horn grass fed beef locally. I live in Pueblo, Colorado. I paid $2.37 a pound for real lean great beef. I also got lots and lots of big dog bones. I am thinking about buying a pig from the same processor. I am tired of recalls of beef and this time I do not have to worry.

  12. I won’t stop eating beef because of the recalls. I have cut back dramatically lately though, because of the price. At least where I live, chicken is a whole lot cheaper than beef, so it ends up on my dinner table much more often.

    Added bonus: it’s healthier. Still have that pesky salmonella to worry about though.

  13. I am sure this PETA members are just dancing around their campfire after this recall, You know they had to be behind it… I think my favorite quote is Maddox Xmission: “For every animal you don’t eat, I’ll eat three!”

    It certainly is an over-reaction. Dumping the alleged tainted meat in the bin is more of a threat to the environment than eating it. How many people do you suppose are composting or sending it to a rendering plant?

  14. This reaction to this recall was interesting to me because it seems that most people don’t really want to know what goes into thier meat or how it got to thier table.

    There are lots of interesting books and blogs that discuss the economics and drawbacks of the industrial food chain – once I started doing the research I was more than willing to pay a few cents more for grass fed beef and organic food.

    My problem is that its hard to buy local in my area – so my solution has been to cut back the amount of meat we eat and get it locally or organically whenever I can.

  15. Hi – stumbled here. Brunton’s dairy does in fact sell half gallons for $1.50, at least as of last weekend.

  16. Also, if you go to get milk at Brunton, bring cash and correct change. You pay on the honor system into a lock box, so no change.

  17. Carol,

    We just moved to Pueblo West and would like to buy a half as well, who is your farmer?


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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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