Purchasing beef directly from a farmer is a very different experience from purchasing by the cut at the grocery store, but one that we believe you'll find worthwhile and rewarding. We sell our beef as live shares "on the hoof" and your total cost is comprised of your fee to us, based on the final live weight of your animal, as well as the cost of processing. Each customer is assigned a specific animal in our herd (for example, Red Heifer #14) and the final weights and payments are based upon the live and hanging weight of that animal.
We strive for animals that weigh approximately 900-1,000 pounds at finishing; however, for us a "finished" calf is one whose frame is done growing and who has gained the ideal muscle mass with some marbling and fat. These are characteristics that can be determined through a visual inspection of our cattle in pasture; therefore, some animals may finish at 900 pounds, and some animals may finish at 1100 pounds. Our goal is to provide you with the same quality of beef from every animal.
Assuming, for the sake of math, that you have purchased whole beef share in a 1,000 pound animal that dresses at 55%. At $2.00 per pound, your price to us as the farmer would be $2,000.00. With a hanging carcass weight of 550 pounds, your processing fee would be approximately $555.00. Your total cost for a whole share would be $2,555.00 that (depending on your specific butchering instructions) would result in at least 400-460 pounds of beef, with every cut from filet mignon to tri-tip roast. That value speaks for itself.
Timeline of Buying a Beef Share from Gregory Family Farms
Fall Season and Spring Season. We have two "seasons" of beef shares - a spring season, in which those calves who were born in the fall 18 months prior are processed in April and May of each year, and a fall season, in which those calves who were born in the spring 18 months prior are processed as shares in September and October of each year.
Step One: Verbal Reservations. If you are interested in a share as a new customer, send us an email or give us a call and we'll add you to our list. For each season, we first send out an invitation email to our returning customers several weeks early and provide them with the opportunity to reserve the share of their size. About three weeks later, we send out an invitation email to everyone on our interest list to reserve a share. In the event that we still have any beef shares unspoken for at that time, we'll post publicly about the remaining share availability on social media. For Fall Shares, we usually invite reservations in May and June; for Spring Shares, we usually invite reservations in December. These reservations are non-binding and you can change your mind prior to the contract and deposit, but they ensure a "spot at the table" and help us in planning for the upcoming season.
Step Two: Contract and Deposit. Everyone who has stated their intention to reserve a share will receive from us the share contract, which needs to be returned to us with the deposit within two weeks. Deposits are non-refundable, are credited against the final beef fee, and are as follows:
Quarter Beef Live Share Deposit: $100
Half Beef Live Share Deposit: $150
Whole Beef Deposit: $200
A beef share is a large investment, on your part and on ours. Having a non-refundable deposit reflects our commitment to each other.
Once we have received the vast majority of deposits, usually within a month, we assign our customers to butchering and delivery groups. We are able to maintain such a reasonable delivery fee by ensuring that we are delivering to multiple customers in a region on the same weekend. We will issue an email and we ask that you hold your delivery date and ensure that someone is available to meet us and receive your beef. Delivery is an optional service - all of our customers are always welcome to pick up their beef directly from the processor.
Step Three: Final Weight and Payment and Delivery. Approximately three weeks prior to your delivery weekend, we will take your beef animal to the butcher for processing. The evening before butchering, each animal is individually weighed on a livestock scale for a true 'live weight'. The next day, after processing, each carcass is weighed for the "hanging weight" that is the basis for the processing fee. We will provide a detailed receipt of the final weight and payment within two days of butchering, and require final payment to be received within ten days. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card (2.9% processing fee).
Final Step - Beef Share Pickup and Delivery. For those customers who travel to our butcher to pick up their share, we recommend bringing gloves as well as a minimum 120 quart cooler for each quarter share and plan on an hour of time at the butcher. For those customers who have delivery, we will call you when we have left the butcher and again when we are approximately 30 minutes from you. We still recommend that you have gloves as you'll be handling quite of bit of frozen beef vacuum-sealed in plastic.
A summary of the process:
* Initial invitation to reserve a beef share to returning customers, then everyone who has expressed interest, then, if available, to public. This occurs in December for Spring Shares and June for Fall Shares.
* Contracts sent out to everyone who has reserved a share, to be returned with deposit in approximately two weeks.
* Confirmation of contract and deposit receipt; assignment of butchering and delivery groups
* Final weight and payment information sent out two weeks prior to pickup/delivery; payment to be made within ten days
* Pickup and delivery day, beef for everyone!
The Quarter Live Share is great for first-time beef purchasers as well as smaller families and couples. The Quarter Beef Live Share contains cuts in the following areas:
Round & Sirloin Cuts
London Broil One steak (~2 lbs) -or-
Top Round Steaks, ½" thickness At least three steaks
Sirloin Steaks, ¾ " thickness At least four steaks -or-
Sirloin Tip Roasts Two roasts (~3 lbs ea)
Culotte Steaks One or two sets of two steaks each
New York Strips, 1" thick At least four steaks
Filet Mignon, 1.25" thick At least four filets
Ribeye Steaks, 1" thick At least four steaks
Beef ribs About four long racks, plus one "baby" rack
Short Ribs Two sets of short ribs (thick English Cut)
Chuck/Arm Roast Two (2.5-3 pounds)
Flat Iron Steaks At least one pkgs of 2 steaks; usually 2-3 pkgs
·Stew/Kebob beef ~ 6 packs (1 lb packs)
Brisket ~3 pounds
Flank and Skirt Steaks 2-3 pounds together
·( 90/10 unless otherwise specified) ~25 1-pound packs
- Liver, Heart, Tongue, and Oxtail, as well as Soup Bones and Marrow Bones are available to be selected on your contract
These figures represent minimum expectations for each cut only.
You may notice that the above list totals only about 75 lbs. To ensure that our customers always receive the benefit of their bargain, we have made an effort to very conservatively estimate both the number and size of each type of cut provided.
Total Beef provided on the mixed quarter averages 90-105 pounds final wt.
This provides a basic understanding of where the different cuts come from on our beef animal; custom butchering allows for a variety of choices within each muscle group.
Half and Whole Live Shares
For a large family (or for the extended family, neighbors, friends, book club, you name it!), half and whole beef live shares are an affordable means to getting the beef you want, the way you want it. Custom butchering is available with these live shares and Clark is glad to walk you through the customer butchering options and selections.