November 12, 2010

Beef Broker

We don't raise beef, mostly because we don't have enough room but also because cows need serious fencing (see "The Great Escaping Cow" post). Jeremy's Grandpa Ed runs about 30 head of cattle in Ridgefield, which is roughly 15 miles east of us. We sell his beef; we are "beef brokers."

The eating-local movement isn't stronger anywhere else in the country than in Portland. Portlander's are willing to pay lots and lots for locally grown meat and eggs. Recently one of my coworkers said that she was paying $6 for a dozen eggs at the Farmer's Market. WOW! I'm not charging enough! Since all the people I work with know I have a farm they are constantly asking if we have meat to sell. Usually the answer is no. Generally we only have enough food for ourselves and my parents. But when Grandpa Ed is butchering we have lots of beef to sell.

This year 10 of my coworkers, plus our neighbors and some friends in town, wanted beef. Some wanted 1/4 of a cow - about 100 lbs - other just wanted a few cuts. All in all, I figured we could sell 2 whole cows. Jeremy called Grandpa Ed to "place an order".

Grandpa Ed is over 90 years old. He stays young because he just doesn't stop - "if you rest you rust" is a very true statement. He called a few weeks later saying that he messed up the order and we only get 1/2 a cow. That's only 200+ lbs of meat! No good! Fortunately people are very understanding and just happy to get any meat at all.

We don't mark up the cost, so people get the beef at about $2 per lb. That's a great price even compared to grocery store prices. These cows are all pasture-raised and well taken care of. I bet I could charge $8 per lb. But I'm selling to friends and people we spend lots of time with so I just can't bring myself to charging more. Maybe I'm too soft.

*Picture: Grandpa Ed and Jordan

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