Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where's MY Beef?

People...are funny. They will load their precious babies onto school buses sending them off to school to be taught important life values (If your child is with another adult for several hours a day , each day, believe me, they are being taught VALUES) without ever doing any background checks of their own. They trust the school to do these investigations even though that same parent has never investigated the authorities at that same school to do those background investigations.

People will do that, but when it comes to their burger...panic sets in. Our first time customers often ask "How do you know the meat you send to the locker is the same meat you get back ?"

There must have been some huge meat conspiracy issue that I never heard about. Headlines must have read
MILLIONS GET THE WRONG T-BONES. FILM AT 11:00 ( That film at 11 thing is so old school isn't it ? Remember how you would get a headline tease at the supper news but not get the film of the news until hours later ? Our children have no idea how we suffered do they ?)

So back to burgers; customers worry. We could tell them we have wired microchips into each animals ear allowing us to record all that happens in the locker plant or we could inform them we actually hide in the bushes behind the locker and observe all that goes on with our own eyes but instead we utilize a very old and  time tested technique. We call it trust.

First of all WHY would the locker plant staff want to give us substandard meat ? Because after one such event we would know it was not our meat, we would not use that locker again and we would tell all our customers and farmer friends never to use that locker again.

That's a lot of damage for just a few really good 100% grass fed, certified organic  burgers an employee snatched while wrapping and labeling was occurring. In addition, if caught (and there is a very good chance they will get caught as an USDA inspector is in the locker all day, every day) that employee would lose their job. Over the last decade we have brought in hundreds of animals to be butchered and we have not received one complaint about our meat. Customers, especially return customers, would notice if our meat did not taste as good as it has in the past and when they pay us on average, $1300 for one whole beef I think they would complain LOUDLY if the sirloin tip roast , sucked.

But people do worry. So we tell them about our ear tag system for identification

Yellow is for girls, pink is so overdone. This heavy duty earring stays with them their whole lives. In addition, on the day we take them to the locker , at a much larger size than this gal, we hand the locker staff another sheet with the animals ID number. Yes, human error can occur but our locker has several people involved who see this animals number. The man who unloads them, the folks in the kill room, those in the cutting room, the owner and the most important  person in the locker, the front desk woman.

At the lockers we use this woman knows it all. We call her "The woman who knows it all."  An amazing creature who tracks all animals coming in, going out. She knows more about our animals than we do.

"That wattle on your biggest sow sure was odd shaped wasn't it? She casually mentioned last week.
 "Why yes," I hang my head in embarrassment, we like perfectly balanced wattles and hate to have imperfect ones pointed out to us, "it did."

And speaking of Red Wattle Meat, when we bring in pigs, we are the only Red Wattle Producer in this area and that meat is noticeably more red than other hog meat. It would be difficult to pass off 200 pounds of whiter shade of pale pork chops to us without us noticing. But I regress, we were talking of beef.

So, "No" I tell our customers, we never get the wrong meat returned. We are very happy with our lockers (we use two) We TRUST the folks who work there.

But that school bus driver with the handlebar mustache and the T-shirt that says "I brake for naked babes",
Him, I am worried about.


  1. My dad used to say all the time, "I'm never sure we are getting our own meat back." You have given me comfort.

  2. How timely. We had two young batchelors over for a meal last weekend. Rib eye from the grill. Between stuffing their faces, the fellows said things like "Wow, this didn't come from Acme." We told him we've bought from the same house for years and we trust them to know what they're selling us. They got directions.

  3. Using a trustworthy locker is key! On our recent order, we were supposed to get all our offal back. Apparently, this locker doesn't categorize well, and wound shipping our offal to another guy out of state--in addition to his offal (you'd think they'd notice 2 hearts and 2 tongues in the box!) So, he got a double dose, and we got none. I would worry more, except that we buy whole dexter beeves, so it is easy to be confident in our meat based on the smaller size of the cuts.

  4. MBJ, it is a common fear this not getting our own meat back. I think mostly because we all worked very hard to raise it and it means something !

    Joanne How nice of you to feed the bachelors so well. They will in turn buy healthier meat I hope and so on and so on...

    Lana, many thanks. I do so learn lots from your blog.

    Redgate. Its never easy to lose your heart to a stranger