Back in March, we wanted to spend a few days away, so I spent some time looking on AirBNB* for a different place to stay than we normally do. I knew we wanted to go up to the islands, but I didn’t want to be in one of the (few) hotels and instead have a more authentic stay. I ended up finding a listing for a 2 bedroom cabin on 100 acre working farm. Since we do a lot of gardening and someday dream of owning chickens (and maybe other farm animals), it seemed like the perfect place for us to stay. 

We spent three days exploring the farm, feeding the animals, watering the plants in the hoophouse, and exploring the rest of the island. 

The place was beautiful and peaceful and a restorative to our souls (it sounds dramatic, but it was). Heading back down to our crowded town was painful after the quiet stillness of the island. 

While we were there, we focused on preparing meals using only local ingredients, which was quite easy, as the owners stocked the fridge with eggs and hoop house vegetables for us (in March!) and we purchased beef from the farm stand a few hundred feet from the cabin. 

A small artisan bakery leases space on the farm, and we picked up a loaf of their awesome bread that had been baked fresh that morning. The potatoes came from the local organic grocery in the village and the beer from the island’s one very small brewery. The butter was the biggest traveler, coming from a dairy co-op off island but not far past the ferry. 

We do our best to buy local and sustainable ingredients at home, but it requires constant diligence. We have tons of great farmers markets during the summer months, and local, humanely raised meat is hard to come by at a decent price, which is always the struggle – our path to financial independence is filled with high cost grocery items. 

While I am well aware that eating a plant based diet is best for both our budget and the planet, my guys are both big meat eaters, and I quite enjoy it as well, so while I am working to reduce what meat we eat, my bigger focus is on humanely raised local meat and wild game. The big downside to local meat is the cost – it is so much cheaper to buy from Costco or grocery store sales, but there is a high environmental cost to that choice. 

Enter in the option to buy a quarter of a cow from a farm we’ve stayed at and gotten to obvserve first hand how well they are loved and cared for. Bonus – the owners are very focused on sustainability in all aspects of their lives, and they are the island’s commercial composting facility. 

Feeding the pigs

Buying locally in bulk brings the price down considerably and we get much higher quality for it. Plus, when our freezer is stocked, we are less likely to head to the grocery store last minute and end up buying more than we need. 

The cows were slaughtered a few weeks ago, and we picked up our four large boxes yesterday. The excitement felt like Christmas as we inspected our purchase. We had done a good job of emptying our chest freezer prior to pick up, which was a very good thing, because the beef filled it to the brim. 

We plan to buy a half pig from them come winter, but we now have our beef needs covered for a good long while. Having awesome quality ingredients at home should help us to continue our relearned habit of weekend breakfasts at home, which is supplemented this time of year by produce out of our garden. Any day we can prep meals from what we have at home is a great day.  

Not pictured: the 1/3 carton of ice cream that needed to be eaten because it no longer fit in the freezer
The biggest learning experience thus far with purchasing locally in bulk is realizing how small our freezer is. My husband will hopefully hunt us an elk or mule deer (or both!) this year, along with smaller game, and if he’s successful, we won’t have enough space in our current freezer, so we will have to consider upgrading to a larger one. 

We’ve gotten parts of deer in the past from my brother, and that hasn’t been a problem, but an entire one definitely will not fit. Since that won’t be until this fall at earliest, we have some time to figure out how we will handle large quantities of game in the future and save up credit card rewards, just like we did when we bought our current one. 

The quarter beef purchase came with a third night free at the farm, so we should be headed back up there this fall. Maybe one of these times we won’t come back and decide to live the island life – once we reach financial independence and can decide where we want to live independent from a job location. 

*If you’ve never used AirBNB before, use this link for $40 off your first stay. 

43 thoughts on “The Best Way To Buy Grass Fed Beef: Straight From The Farm

  1. I’ve bought a quarter and one-half a cow before from local farmers. The quality and price were excellent. We had an old, large freezer to store stuff in.

    Now that we downsized to an apartment in downtown Philly, we no longer have the freezer storage space. I’m envious. 🙂

    1. The price ends up being less than the organic (and sometimes even conventional) grocery store meat, it’s awesome! I’m definitely trying to figure out the freezer situation though, because it’s packed full with the 1/4 cow (and my in laws took a quarter of that). If we’re lucky and get a deer or elk this fall, we’ll be out of space, which would probably mean working on re-wiring the garage to fit a second freezer there.

  2. I have never bought this amount of beef before. Do you have an idea of what it costs? Also, how did you find this farm?

    1. It was $875 for the 1/4 cow ($4.50/lb “hanging weight” – the amount you actually get is about 65% of that).

      We found the farm initially through AirBNB just as a place to stay, but then tried their meat and were hooked. A lot of meat stands at farmers markets have that option as well, though.

  3. I have thought about doing this many times, but honestly didn’t know where to start! This blog post has given me inspiration to research where we can buy meat from like this. I love the environmental aspects.

  4. I’ve never used Airbnb before, but I have thought about it. I guess I’m the kind of person that kind of enjoys staying in a hotel when I can, but I can see the draw in certain situations. As for beef, we’ve never purchased beef in this way. I actually don’t eat very much beef in everyday life, but I do like to go out for a steak on special occasions or on vacation. Right now, I’m still eating on our Thanksgiving turkey!

    1. We stay in hotels occasionally, and while the nice parts (not having to clean up when you leave in particular) don’t seem to outweigh the ability to cook food/do laundry where we’re staying. Having a kid in cloth diapers definitely helps that want!

  5. Although I haven’t eaten meat in many years, I agree that getting your food from the farm is best. I love that we have easy access to farmers where I live – farmer’s markets, CSA’s, and local shops who grow/raise their own food.

  6. I’m going to stay at my first Airbnb next spring and I’m exciting. It makes me a little nervous but it should be good. I never thought of staying on a farm as a new experience. Interesting read!

  7. What state was this farm in? It sounds like a great place to go for a few days to relax. The food sounds amazing. I am not much of a meat eater but I do appreciate being able to buy products that are locally made and produced. I would love to have an artisan bakery that makes fresh bread nearby! I feel like it is really hard in the United States to find bakeries that make fresh bread :(..

  8. Hi Angela, I think is a good a idea to buy fresh beef from local organic farms, im jealous you have the opportunnity to do that! The quality and the flavor of the met is much more better than the one you will find on typical markets. For now I will keep the advice to buy artisan bakery from locals! Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply