Chad and I are very orderly people. Or I guess the truth is that I'm a very orderly person and Chad is easy to persuade. We have a monthly budget and we divide our money up into nice little groups. Bills, savings, groceries, and we even give ourselves a set allowance so we don't spend more money than we have. Up until very recently, we didn't have a single dime of debt (but we also found out that having no debt means you have no credit should you ever need it, so we decided to bite the bullet and get a car loan instead of buying it outright). It's a very neat little system and it makes me feel very secure about our money. The last thing I ever want to do is spend more than we have. The motto in our house is "Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without," and we truly live by that.
But then once in a while, we go mildly crazy and buy something big that we weren't planning on and hadn't saved up for. It's like feel the need to sneak out and be totally bad once in a while. This time, we bought.... wait for it.... a CHEST FREEZER! *gasp*
I had actually been eyeballing a Ninja blender/food processor in Sam's Club (which I've been wanting forever but can't find the justification to actually buy), when Chad happened to spot this beauty behind us. It's a 7 cubic foot GE freezer with a really snazzy lock. I guess the lock is to keep neighbors from coming over and stealing your ice cream.
Once we managed to get id into the car and then down our steep, narrow old basement stairs, turned it on and saw that it works, Chad asked, "now what are we going to put in it?" Lol.
I have big dreams of one day owning a mini-farm, with orchards, a large garden, some laying chickens, and a couple small cows or goats. Unfortunately, we're currently living on 0.1 acre in a town that doesn't let you have livestock on your land. I have a decent sized garden out back, but I'd have to be pretty full of myself to think I could fill that cooler with all my produce.
So I looked around the tubes to see what it had to offer. Local Harvest is a pretty cool website, and offered me up a lot more farms than I knew we even had around here. It's funny how you can live so close to something and not even know it's there. But we're city folk; how would we ever get in contact with farmers without the internet? And I don't want to hear anyone saying, "Oh gee, I don't know... maybe talking to people?"
I did managed to find a handful of local farms selling pastured chickens, organic pork, and grass-fed cows. We decided against ordering pastured chickens for now. Our local Wegmans store sells organic, pastured chickens raised on kind of local Amish farms for an awesome $3.50 a pound. We may order some local birds from a farmer next year, but for now, we decided just to go for something that's harder to get in the store.
Wegmans grass-fed beef is outrageous. It starts at $6 a pound or so for ground, and goes up to $14 a pound for sirloin, and don't even think about the $24 a pound tenderloin steak. We try really hard to buy good quality food, but organic grass-fed/pastured meats are just too much for us. We can't afford that. So my goal was to find some beef we could buy, hopefully cheaper than the store would sell it to us for.
And I did! The first farm I found had so much demand, that they already sold all of their 2013 cows and had most of their 2014 cows sold! Their beef was the cheapest at $3.50 a pound for a half cow, but it was only grass finished and not grass-fed. Fortunately, I found an even closer farm selling completely grass-fed cows, who pasture on certified organic pastures, for $4.50 a pound for a half cow, and that includes the butcher fee!
So I hopped on it. We most certainly weren't planning on buying a cow right away, but I know this will save us money in the long run. We ended up buying a quarter of a devon cow, which is a small breed, and the farmer said that after processing, we'll have between 100 and 130 pounds of meat. I figured it out that that means we'll be spending around $5-6 a pound, and that doesn't include any of the bones or the fat which I plan on asking for.
Now I'm all freaking out because I have no idea what to say to the butcher when he calls in July to ask how we want our quarter cut up. I was a vegetarian for most of my life! All I know about cows is that you get hamburger and steaks from them. "Yeah... um.... can you cut it into... steaks? Oh and can I have the liver? I think cows have livers."
I'll let you know how it goes in July! I kind of wish we could go out and meet our cow, but something tells me I'd feel really terrible if I did. I need more time to adjust to being a meat eater still.