How Do We Compare?
On Saturday, I dropped Maddie off at an ACT study group in Lexington. While I waited, I decided to stop in all our health food stores and grocers to see how our farm prices compare. What surprised me most was that it was difficult to find grass fed beef in the ‘health food stores’, yet I found it easily in the national big box stores.
You can quickly see the prices in the table below.
What Six Ridges Farm can offer that the stores can’t:
Traceability – Every calf is born on our farm and is raised here until harvest. On the commodity market, animals change hands 8 times on average and travel thousands of miles. None of the stores offer local beef products, with the exception of Whole Foods. But they couldn’t tell me the farm or family they support. Also, lot of grass fed beef is from other continents and is usually a 6-15 year old dairy cow.
Sustainably Raised – Pasture based farming. Livestock are moved frequently to fresh pastures, healing the land as they go. No chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides are used on our pastures. Livestock are ASH-Free.
Transparency – Anyone is welcome to visit the farm anytime. No trade secrets, no locked doors, every corner is camera-accessible.
Family Farm – We own and operate our family farm. We aren’t land barons that hire farm managers to operate our farm for us. We are hands on and love what we do. We want to offer a healthy and delicious product to you and your family.
Bulk Discounts – Buy a sampler pack or a quarter to a whole steer, and save! You can buy for as low as $6.75 a pound when purchasing in bulk. From summer grilling season to holiday dinner parties, you will experience the practical convenience of having a broad selection of cuts in your freezer whenever needed. The time saving conveniences along with the economical savings make our bundles a great choice for families who are serious about eating healthy every day!
Commodity Beef at the Stores
As mentioned, I was surprised at the lack of grass fed beef in places like Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s and Fresh Thyme. These stores pride themselves on having a healthy product and in some cases, boast of their support of the local farmer.
The commodity market is about trading on pennies; food quality and animal health are low on the list of priorities. Livestock change hands many times, and travel thousands of miles. Over the past year, the US commodity beef market has feel considerably for local farmers. Prices dropped to less than half of what they were, while costs to raise the animals continued to rise.
LifeCycle of a Commodity Steer
Steers start with the cow/calf operation, then the yearlings operations, then are transferred to the finishers operations, and the feed lot. Livestock traders are in the middle of each of these transfers, adding their selling fees. Each purchaser will vaccinate and give antibiotics to keep the animal healthy for transport. Finally, they are shipped up to a processor that could process up to 29,000 head of cattle a day. When labeling required the country of origin, ground beef often listed 4-5 possible countries. There is no traceability on the commodity beef market.
Last year The Daily Meal posted this article: 19 Reasons Why You Might Want to Stop Buying SuperMarket Meat.