Getting the Cow

For the past few years we have a fall ritual of buying a cow. We have it butchered and split it with friends.  It’s not a new idea but it’s getting more and more popular.  Here in New Mexico finding a rancher that raises cattle is not difficult.  New Mexico is filled with wide open spaces with maybe not lush pasture grass but it’s grass.  (we grow scrappy cows around here)  The rancher we purchase our cow from is in Abiquiu, NM.  If we want we can go up in the spring and pick a calf.   They put it out to pasture on public land and let it grow.  In the fall they call and tell us the cow is ready.  Mike does the whole deal over the internet.  We don’t really want to get to know our cow.

Mike:  One year I decided to buy a live cow from a friend who had a small ranch.  I wanted to experience the entire process so I went up watched them kill the cow.  I helped skin, gut and quarter it.  I drove it back to Santa Fe.  The friend we were cow sharing with  talked the butcher (who he was acquainted with) into letting us help him cut up the cow.  We woke up at 3am (because I guess that’s when it is done), went to the butcher’s shop and cut it up.  It was a lot of work.

Molly:  Now we have the cow delivered to a butcher shop in Espanola (just 30 minutes North of Santa Fe) where they kill and process it.  We just show up and get a bunch of meat wrapped up in convenient meal sized packages.  It costs more but it’s very convenient. We usually split it with two other families.  A third of a cow lasts us a year.

Molly in front of the butcher shop

Molly in front of the butcher shop

Why do we do it this way?

  • We like eating beef.
  • We like to know where our meat comes from.
  • A hamburger made from a single cow tastes better than one made from parts of hundreds of cows.

Molly:  Can you say, ‘control issues’?

  • It’s inexpensive organic grass fed beef.  On average it comes out to $4/lb.  Yes this is expensive compared to industrially raised ground beef but this is the overall average which includes nice cuts of steak that would be as much as $15-$20/lb at ‘Whole Paycheck’.
  • The meat is lean and delicious.

Molly:  It’s so ‘Portlandia’ of us, don’t you think?

Mike:  OK, you keep saying that about everything we do lately.  You need to stop. 

Molly:  But it is!  

Mike:  Stop…

Loading up the beef

Loading up the beef

Why don’t we raise our own cow?

  • We don’t have enough pasture grass on our land to sustain a cow.  We’d have to supplement with hay and that can get costly.
  • It’s a pain in the hoo-haw.
  • Neither one of us wants to kill a cow.

    Piled into our freezer for the next year

    Piled into our freezer for the next year

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