Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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A Side of Beef - The True Cost Per Pound

Picture What's the true cost per pound when buying a side of beef or whole beef? For instance you see advertised grass fed beef for say $3.99 pound hanging weight.

So you read a bit further and see that a side of beef (hanging weight) is typically around 350 lbs. For an explanation of hanging weight click here.

 

SO…

 

$3.99 x 350 lbs = $1,396.50 You know what the side costs but the question that arises is something like:

 

So what cuts do I get?

 

How much meat do I get?

 

That is the real question you need answered to decide if your getting a deal you're satisfied with.

Many consumers have never bought beef this way. They get their beef and find they ended up with 55% of the hanging weight.

So the true cost per pound looks like this:

350 lbs hanging weight which yields approximately 55% for a take home weight of  192.50 lbs.

$1,396.50 /192.50 lbs  = $7.25 per lb packed weight (take home weight).

Before you buy beef in bulk by the hanging weight:

Ask the farmer for these numbers! They should be keeping track of the yields from their beef. If they are not, and can't answer your questions, you have no way of knowing what your final cost per pound will be.

These numbers are averages and not all beef yields the same. If you don't know what the typical yield is from the farmer's beef it is a shot in the dark. Many farmers are not well versed in selling freezer beef so they aren't familiar with what the yield is from their beef.

I have seen many farmers who actually sell small amounts of beef at a lower price per pound than what it would cost to buy a side!  This tells me they probably have no idea what their beef yields.

Why would you buy a half a beef at $7.25 per pound packaged weight when you could buy smaller amounts say a 50 lb box for $6.00 per pound?

Using the example above you could buy the same beef in 50 lb boxes for $1,155.00 That’s a savings of $241.50 I'm sure you can find better use for that money!

If you purchase a side of beef from Spring Hill Farms we will show you the numbers on our beef. You will have a very good idea what your final cost per pound will be.

So before you purchase a side of beef, get the true cost per pound.

Until next time….


 

 
 

How to Cook Grass Fed Beef

 

Grass fed meat is leaner, denser, less watery, and far more flavorful than other meat.


This is affected by mainly two things:

  •  The quality of the animal (breed and genetics)
  • The quality of the forage (pasture quality or hay)
For instance some cattle don’t finish as well on grass as others do. That’s the genetics part. The forage could be hay if it’s winter or maybe less than optimal pasture, and cattle typically don’t finish as well on hay or nominal pasture as they would on lush, green, spring grass.

Keep this in mind as you cook grass fed beef. Over cook it and you'll be disappointed.

So you’re ready to cook a steak.

  • Cook it low (heat)
  • Cook it slow

Never cook a steak over medium rare. Rare is better. Anything over medium rare is going to be dry and tough. Think jerky, it’s not very good without some heavy spices. Which leads to another tip; do not salt a steak until after it’s cooked and on your plate. Salt pulls moisture out of the steak….not a good thing. You must have a meat thermometer! You can’t really get it right if you’re trying to go by what color the inside of the steak is. If you cut into it valuable juice escapes and leads to a drier steak.

You should use tongs instead of a fork to turn steaks. Same as above, your losing valuable juices every time you poke it with a fork.

The best temps for grass fed steaks are as follows:

120 to 140 degrees.

Once you get it to this temperature pull it off the heat and throw it on a plate and leave it sit for at least five minutes while the juices redistribute and it finishes cooking.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be amazed at how delicious grass fed beef really can be!

Here's a printable copy of these tips.

 



 
 

The Herbivore's Dilemma

PictureHerbivores have been under attack for centuries. Farmers and breeders have been doing everything in their power to convert them to grain.

As a result, we have made the majority of our cattle and goats dependent on a high grain diet in order to perform at the levels demanded.

In the case of commercial type cows, they finish in half the time and are ready for slaughter. Of course it comes with a price. Out of balance omega -3 and omega-6 ratios in the meat, and little if any CLA's in the fat.

Just as costly is the fact that good grass-fed genetics are almost non-existent as compared to commercial grade cattle.

Then to add insult to injury, along comes a farmer and hears all about 100 percent grass-fed, grass-finished beef. "This is the ticket!" he exclaims.

Off he goes to raise 100% grass-fed and finished beef. The only problem he discovers; it's one thing to throw some cattle out on grass, but a whole different deal to get them to finish on grass.

Many times he discovers this once his cows are hanging at the slaughter house on the rail.

Or worse yet when customers start calling and saying it's tough, or dry, or tastes funny etc.

The farmer has some choices at this point, upgrade his herd, go back to grain, or educate his customer about why his beef is different.

It seems many farmers are opting to educate the customer. I suppose some education is good seeing as how many people are not the best cooks I've ever seen. Over cooked beef of any kind is dry.

But the truth is as I have talked to farmers all over the country....much of the beef out there is not genetically capable of finishing on grass. 

That might not be exactly how they say it, but from what I can tell, that's the translation. Farmers usually say things like "well it's grass fed so it going to be dry." or very lean, or chewy.

Sometimes they say things like "the ground beef is out of this world."
So I asked about steaks and then we're back to "well now it's grass-fed...."

Come to think of it, I'm not sure who is actually having a dilemma:

  • The herbivores - can't get along without grain.
  • The Farmers - can't produce a good product on grass.
  • The Consumers - can't figure out how you eat grass-fed beef.
Let me clear up the dilemma. Spring Hill Farms has 100 % grass-fed and finished beef that you can eat and enjoy it! For those of you who want data, our beef consistently grades choice to high choice and a yield grade of #1 or #2.

Cows can thrive on a 100% grass diet. Farmers can find genetics that will help them upgrade their herd. And consumers can find beef that is out of this world good tasting and tender with marbling. To top it off it's also loaded with all the health benefits of omega 3's, CLA's and all the other things yet to be discovered!

Until next time...
 
 

Pastured Polutry & Tamworth Pigs in the Winter

 
Picture
Tamworth Pigs
Ever wonder how you keep grass-fed pigs and chickens eating grass in the winter? The main way of course is to feed hay. We feed all our stock hay in the winter including the chickens. Old breed chickens will scratch through good hay and eat a bit of green material but I love finding ways to trick them into eating more!

When you're dealing with animals that aren't herbivores this can be tricky. Our older pigs will eat good hay very well. Notice I said good hay. There is a lot of stuff sold these days with the term "good hay" used and if you were to check the protein content you would find it's not that great.

Without digressing into a blog post on how to determine if hay is good enough for your particular livestock, let me just say find a good farmer you can trust if you don't make your own hay and buy from them.

We feed a lot of Alfalfa mainly because it's available here in Ohio and if I'm going to spend much money on hay I want something that is going to be nutrient dense.  So when you're spending hard earned money, it almost sickens you to think it's getting wasted.

Feeding hay on the ground is the best way I know to waste it. Unless you have some good grass hay and use it to bed pigs also. I learned this from Walter over at his blog. Walter and his family are the real deal when it comes to sustainable farming and raising pigs on pasture.

Anyway, one thing that's always bothered me is when feeding good, leafy, Alfalfa hay, is the amount of leaves that drop off every time you handle it. Some hay is worse than other, but no matter what you lose some every time you handle it.

For instance I bust a bale open and head for the goats with a couple flakes and as I'm picking it up I see what looks like TONS of dust size green leaves falling onto the ground when I separate it from the bale.

After a few days of feeding the goats the hay rack has about 3 or 4 inches of this green material laying in the bottom and they will not eat it.

 

Picture
Alfalfa Rack for Pigs
Same way with the hogs. I feed them in hay racks I made based on the old ones used back years ago which have a trough built in the bottom to feed grain. This also helps keep hay off the ground where it is quickly trampled in by the pigs feet. (See picture). I could have tromped out and taken a picture of one of my own, but it seemed easier to keep drinking coffee and use one I already had on the computer!

These hay racks also end up with green hay dust in them about 4 or so inches deep. If you're feeding something besides Alfalfa, it's called hay seed. I suppose you could call this stuff hay seed too but I never had a problem cleaning out hay seed and throwing it on the ground. But I can not bring myself to do that with this nice green rich looking product! It's actually home made alfalfa leaf meal.

So I found another use for it...I now take it out and put it in a five-gallon bucket and feed it back to the chickens and young pigs.

I say young pigs because the younger the pig, the less green material they are willing/able to consume. As pigs get older they are much better at utilizing roughage.

The chickens get hay on the ground in the coop but they really don't eat as much as I wish they would. So...I mix this dust or hay seed or alfalfa leaf meal or whatever you care to call it with the chicken feed.

Picture
Home Made Alfalfa Leaf Meal
Same way with the young pigs. I mix it in the self-feeder and it gets eaten instead of wasted. I have checked the feeders after mixing it in and it is gone, no picking around it, they eat it. So I'm thrilled to take something it used to kill me to waste and feed it, since that's what I bought it for to begin with.

We don't grind our own feed, but if we did, it would be perfect to toss in the grinder when batching feed. Alfalfa meal has been used as both pig and chicken feed in years gone by but not so much now. The old trio mixture for pigs contained alfalfa or other legume hay.

We do the same thing with the hay the goats pull out and drop on the ground around the rack. Gather it up and throw it to the hogs. Just one more reason why farms should practice multi-species grazing.

What one won't eat another will. Especially with a bit of trickery!

Until next time...
 
 

Are pastured chickens better for you than their supermarket counterparts?

This is a great video showing the nutritional profile of pastured vs conventional chickens. I will be ordering our last batch of birds next week. If you were thinking of ordering now is the time...

 

Video


 

 

 
 

Ground Beef 100% Grass Fed (Customer Message)

ground beef
I'm posting this to alert you to a deal we have available right now due to a mistake at our processor. We had a special order for 90/10 ground beef. Long story short, the order got ran as 80/20 ground beef.
 
So....we have 80/20 ground beef coming to our freezer that we don't have room for! Andy would store it for us at the plant but we want to move it out as soon as possible. This is 80 % lean ground beef that 99% of our customers desire. It makes great burgers, or can be added to any dish that you're making. This ground beef would be  fabulous to stock up for summer grilling. It's all vacuum sealed in 1 lb packages. As with all our beef is it 100% grass-fed which means it's loaded with all the health benefits!
 
Here's the deal:
 
We normally retail this beef for $5.99 lb but since we want to move it, we're going to let it go for $4.29 lb. Our loss is your gain! We are asking you take at least 25 lbs. It wouldn't make sense for us to deliver small amounts unless we could get a lot of it sold in a central area or you live in the Newark area and we could arrange for you to pick it up or meet us somewhere in our daily travels.
 
At this price I don't expect it will last long so let me know quickly if you want to place an order.
 
 
David
 
 
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