Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Just Hanging Around


PLEASE NOTE: The following post was written in 2012. Our meat prices have changed. Email us at opies99@gmail.com for current prices. Thank you

Its difficult. So many details involved with selling our meat that doing a FAQ page seems not enough. A regular newsletter? Not enough. Covering the basics and then some on our farms Web Page ? Still not enough. Dropping flyers from a privately owned Cessna? I don't fly. My dad had a pilots license but did he ever bother to teach me? Nooooooooo. (Did I ever take an interest in the things that were important ot him like flying, before he died? No again.)
Back to meat. Customers often have a hard time understanding the term "Hanging weight" which is how we sell our meat, as in "The cost of our beef is $3.75 per pound hanging weight." So, thought I'd cover it here, just one more way to reach the masses. (You Protestants will have to get your info somewhere else. Kidding, just kidding.)

Hanging weight is the weight of a side of beef as it hangs upside down in the locker's cooler. Now if it is an average beef and weighs about 300 pounds in this hanging state, skin and head removed, it will lose another 30% in fat and bone that is trimmed away and removed. This leaves about 70% or 210 pounds actual meat you will take home to your freezer.


A very lean beef may lose only 15% to fat and waste and a very fat beef may lose up to 45%.
Now you might ask "Why I am paying the hanging weight of a beef when I donlt actually take home that much meat?" Well the answer is...its a shared loss sort of thing. The famer has to feed and care for the entire animal and therefore has expenses tied up not only in the meat you take home but in the fat and bone that is "wasted". Your best bet as a consumer is to CLAIM as much of the waste as you can.

Bones (knuckle, femur) are great for making soups and stock. Fat can be rendered for cooking and of course soapmaking. The organ meat such as liver, heart and tongue and all wonderful cuts that can be prepared very tastily, ot so our chef friends tell us. So far we just use the liver but we sell all the organs in our store, even the TAIL!

The other less common way of being charged is by the "On the hoof" or "Live Weight", meaning you are charged for the entire weight of the animal as it is standing in the grassy field glaring at you. This weight is usually taken on a large grain scale as the animal stands in the livestock trailer on its way to the locker. Don't worry, the ethical farmer will subtract the weight of the trailer. However if you are ever told that your beef weighed 5 tons you have good reason to be suspect.

If the farmer is charging you Live Weight you will take home an even smaller percentage of meat and your cost per piece might be higher. It all depends on the cost per pound.

Remember as well, in most cases you will need to pay the locker plant for the processing costs. In our neck of the woods this averages about 90 cents per pound. So how does this all shake out? Well, lets figure the cost of a half beef at our prices.

One half beef, HANGING WEIGHT will be about 300 pounds.At $3.75 per pound, you will owe us $1125. Add in the processing of 90 cents per pound or another $270 for a grand total of $1395.  A very tidy sum but if you divide this by the approximate 210 pounds of meat you will take home, you are paying $6.64 per pound.

Not very expensive since your take home meat will include cheaper cuts like burger which we will sell for $4.99 a pound in our farm  store , but lots of roast (which we sell for $8.49/pound) and many steaks like Porterhouse and Ribeyes (which we sell for $12.99/pound) Keep in mind the same cuts of meat, raised the same way (grass fed, organic,) will cost you much more HERE and  HERE and in other similar stores.

So, if you have the freezer space and you're not a vegetarian, this is one good deal for 100% grass fed, certified organic born and raised in Chatsworth, Illinois, beef.

I'm just sayin'


  1. Ooh, ooh, now I MUST come to visit you sometime! I love beef tongue and liver, but my local butcher says that they're not allowed to sell it in WI.

  2. You've just reminded me; I must buy a second freezer!

  3. Interesting one of your here's is USDA organic and the other wasn't, but maybe I missed it...Either way your farm is the greatest!

    AS you know we have bought many of items and recommend you to all.

    BTW...that's...by the way, I think my sister in law...That's SIL and her son...which is son...want to come down for a tour. We were not able to make it this past weekend, which was a shame because I truly wanted to do the apiary segment.

    Oh Well, I've been rattling on, but did I tell you I have another use for your milk in our life.

    Fungicide. White powdery mildew all over our yard and the remedy...a good dose of milk. Raw milk is even better than pastuerized.

    So on that note, I will be down soon and hopefully with SIL (see above) and Son (see above)for the usual milk to make all the goodies around the house, and the lawn now.

    Next to tap your brain like a maple tree to figure out how to get on the blog train again.

  4. Look on the bright side - at least your meat will be well-hung, unlike a lot of super-market stuff.

  5. Donna, this is a great post. I wonder what the differences are in different parts of Europe. (If any)

  6. Quote "Don't worry, the ethical farmer will subtract the weight of the trailer."... bahahahaha!

    This brings to mind another quote "I laughed so hard the tears ran down my leg!" ;)

  7. Thanks for clearing up the weight/cost issue. I had a vague idea, but wasn't sure. I don't eat much meat myself, but buy an occasional kg of blade roast and potroast it, (yummy, I'll get 4-5 meals from that), even less often I'll buy a single tiny (palm sized) fillet steak and pan fry it. The fillet steak here at my favourite butcher is $49.99 per kilo, (2.2 pounds), not sure how that converts to US$.

  8. Hi Donna, nice to meet you, I wish we could sell raw milk here in Australia, we would quit our real jobs and start a dairy farm so quick! We're just starting with beef and seeing how that goes. One day I hope we can sell organic beef just like you do :) but for now they'll go back to the saleyard and into the "system". I'm looking forward to reading more about how you do things on your farm. Cheers, Liz