Thursday, April 7, 2011

Holy Cow, that's a lot of meat!

Finding high quality pastured or grass fed meats is something that can be difficult and expensive.  The cheapest way to buy high quality foods, is to buy in bulk.  So I signed up with 8 other people to share a whole cow through Philly Cow Share and it was delivered to us yesterday.  Despite my fear of getting literally 1/8th of a cow, our share came in two cardboard boxes, weighing about 45lbs (If you're wondering I did weigh it). Each box contains portions of grass fed meat, vacuum sealed in individual cuts in sizes that you would be able to buy if you were going to buy meat from anywhere else.  Everything is frozen, in fact it was ROCK solid when we got it.

Cow Share Boxes!
So what do you get when you order 1/8th of a cow?  The two boxes are divided into a steaks and roast box and ground beef and patties box.  You are really able to get some savings when you buy the whole cow - and find 8 other people to split it with.  Your portion comes out to about $6/lb ($6.22 according to Peterson who actually did the math), which I think is a really good deal.  Local, grass fed meat at my farmer's market at it's cheapest for ground beef is $5/lb and at Trader Joe's it's $6/lb.  Steaks and roasts start at $12/lb and up to $30/lb or so for the higher quality cuts.

Half Share is on the table, Other Half is in the box
I know that you are all thinking, what do you do with all of this meat once you have it?  Fortunately I have a second refrigerator in the basement and both boxes fit neatly in there.  If you don't have a second freezer, I recommend sharing a 1/8th portion with a friend so that you can fit it and still have some other food options in your freezer.  I'm excited that it's finally spring, the weather is warming up, and that I have lots of options to try out on the grill.  I have no idea how long it will take for us to eat all of this, but based on my experience so far, I'm already thinking about signing up for another portion of a cow - I'm thinking mid to late summer will be the ideal time.
Fits in your normal size freezer, but takes up most of it!


  1. I had looked at Philly Cow Share and was considering going in on a 1/8 share as well. I'm interested to see what you think of it and how long the meat lasts for you. I do not have a second freezer but my parents do and they live close enough that I could probably store some of the share there. Sounds like a great idea to me!

  2. I did the cow share that was delivered to CFKOP in mid to late February. I'm a HUGE fan of the program! The meat tastes great and it's packaged really well, so it has lasted 3 months in the freezer with no problems at all.

    I have a standard size freezer, and all the steaks and ground beef fit in there with room to spare. It took up just under 2/3 of the freezer, so I had plenty of room for frozen chicken breasts, frozen veggies and berries, and some ice packs as well. I didn't put the entire box in the freezer - I took out the meat and stacked it up nice and tight.

    If you're wondering how many meals 1/8 of a cow equates to, my experience is it lasts a long time! We cook up enough for 2 ppl about 3 times a week, and we're not small eaters :) After 2 months we still have about 1/3 of the meat left. So, if you are cooking for 2 and eating this stuff about 3 nights a week, it should last you about 3 months. I'll be putting in for another order in mid May some time!