Pastured Beef Share - Whole, Half, Quarter (Deposit Only)
NOTE - Deposit Only: Balance due upon receipt of order.
What is the Whole Beef Program?
The Primal Pastures Whole Beef program is our way of providing the absolute highest quality beef in Southern California to our neighbors at an affordable price through whole, half, or quarter cow shares. We will do all of the legwork - "matchmaking", live animal purchasing, transportation, slaughter coordination, communication with the butcher, and offer delivery so that YOU can focus on your life and not feel overwhelmed with this simple but complicated process.
Tell me about the cows.
This privileged Black Angus herd lives in absolute cow-heaven. Grazing over 4,000 acres of California local, native, and seasonal grasses ONLY. These cattle truly live according to nature, receive no supplemental feed whatsoever throughout their lives, and are 100% pasture raised, grass fed, grass finished, and free range. I have personally visited the ranch and verified everything that I am telling you - this is what I personally eat and what I feed my family as well. These are market steers, averaging 18-24 months and typically weighing around 1,100lbs.
How much does it cost?
Loaded question. Before I can answer that properly we have to address whole beef 101. If you have purchased a whole beef before skip ahead.
So here's what happens when you order a whole beef: the animal is picked from the ranch in Novato and transported the same day less than 90 miles to the USDA slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse inspects the meat for anything weird, approves, and performs the slaughter. We hang the beef to dry age for 10 days, which improves flavor and allows natural enzymes to make the meat more tender. After dry-aging, the beef is ready for butcher and it's cut into all of the ribeyes, filets, tenderloins, ground beef, etc. As soon as it's been cut, packaged, and flash-frozen, it's ready for delivery.
The next thing we need to understand is the weighing conventions used in the industry as standards. You have 3 weights - live weight, hanging weight, and packaged weight. Live weight is obvious, so that's easy. Again, averages from this ranch have been in the low 1,100's. Hanging weight is the weight reported by the slaughterhouse after killing, bleed-out, removing the skin and any unusable portions of the cow. It averages 52% of the animal's live weight for a grass fed animal. Hanging weight is also the metric used for most "whole cow" pricing schemes. I think that pricing off of hanging weight is misleading and counterintuitive, so we don't do it like that. Packaged weight is how much actual product that you can put back into your freezer. It's what you actually care about. Since that's the number you care about, that's how we price it. You can expect 35% loss from hanging weight to packaged weight due to unusable items, water weight, and evaporation.
Every animal is different, but here's a quick breakdown based on averages:
1100lb live animal
650lb "hanging weight"
480lb "packaged weight"
Got it, now how much does it cost?
Here's how we're breaking it down. These are all packaged weights. Again, most farms use hanging weights to price bulk beef - I don't know why. If you see somebody offering $2 or $5 per pound bulk beef, the first question you should ask is - "Is that live weight, hanging weight, or packaged weight?". Then, check their average yields. See, I told you this can get complicated! Ok, on to the prices:
Whole cow: $9.00/lb packaged - average 400-500lbs: average $3,600-$4,500
Half share: $10.00/lb packaged - average 200-250lbs: average $2,000-$2,500
Quarter share: $11.00/lb packaged - average 100-125lbs: average $1,100-$1,375
Now here's the cool thing - if you were to buy all of the cuts separately you are looking at an average of over $15/lb! That results in a $2,000 savings for you on a whole cow, sweet deal!
And what exactly am I getting?
The cost savings aren't the only great thing about buying bulk beef, it's also the ability to control your cuts. If you are purchasing a half or quarter cow then we have a standard cut sheet that we use for all half cows. If you are buying a whole cow then you will be able to customize the cuts you would like.
Where it can get complicated is in the shares - quarter, half or whole. The way that we operate shares is "halved quarters". So, let's say you want a quarter share. If we were to just cut the animal into 4 equal parts and assign each person a quarter, two people would get front end cuts like brisket and chuck roast while the two back end people would get filet mignons, top sirloin, etc.
For this reason... we go with "halved quarters". Quarter share would get half of the front quarter and half of the back quarter. This way you'll get some of most everything, and everybody stays happy. For one off parts like organ meats, a surprising number can actually be split up (liver and heart come to mind). There will be a separate survey on organs since not everybody cares for them. And of course, you will receive the emails for people in your share and if you guys want to work out trades later on your are more than welcome to organize that post-delivery.
But will it fit in my freezer?
That's the most common question I get. As a general rule of thumb you should plan for 35lbs meat per cubic foot of freezer space. A standard kitchen fridge/freezer combo is around 7 cubic feet meaning that if it were totally empty (yeah right) then you could fit 245lbs of beef in there (a half share plus some). If you're like most people and don't have much space in the freezer, what you want to do is invest in a deep freezer. They are cheap and unlock this world of potential for you to have years of savings through bulk meat purchasing. You can even find them super cheap on Craigslist all the time. Like I said, even if you're just buying a quarter share - the deep freezer pays for it on the first purchase! For a whole cow, I would recommend just getting the 15 cubic foot model. Here it is on sale at Home Depot right now for $358. We also have a special for 1/4 beef with a freezer included here.
So how do I get it?
We want to make this convenient. So what good would all of this be if we can't deliver to you? Lucky for you, all orders qualify for free home delivery! We deliver anywhere in California and most areas of Arizona and Nevada. To check if you are in our delivery area please click here.
This is a limited quantity program, with first deposits receiving priority in the queue. We should be able to get the first round of cows off to slaughter within the next couple of weeks, which means around 5-6 weeks until they are ready. If you have any specific questions or would like more detail on something just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to reserve your spot in line, a deposit will be required. You will be contacted as soon as we have decided on which share of the animal you will be receiving.
Whole Beef Deposit: $1,800
Half Share Deposit: $1,000
Quarter Share Deposit: $550
Balance is due upon receipt of your product.