There is more change in in the air than just the excitement of Fall's arrival.
This late summer/early fall has been a life changer for me, but there are also other new things on the horizon! The end of August my husband and I were blessed with a baby girl! So with any new baby comes life changes and challenges. I had a slight hunch that she would end up being lactose intolerant and sure enough she has troubles. Thankfully, we thought ahead and kept one of my does in milk! My mom has been a trooper and is milking my Toggenburg doe Ellie and pasteurizing the milk for us!
I know that people always say, "sleep when the baby sleeps..." but I'm sorry, that is so much harder than it sounds! I am not one to sit in my house. Frankly, it was really hard on me the first few weeks. I had to learn how to pack her up and get out of the house or I would go insane.
Now though I can say, Felicity has been in the cow pasture and has slept in the barn while I do work for our next big change.
The next step that our Dexter herd is taking is kind of a leap of faith. A leap that I have wanted to do for a while. It has taken some convincing from my brother and I to get my dad to agree, but we are in the process of building a corral with cement feed bunks so we can begin to feed out more steers! Which means I get to market this beef as best I can. I know the product front and back. Shoot, I can probably give you way more information on each steer than you would really like know! I am beyond excited to have the chance to do this. We are going to have beef to sell and that means I need to get my USDA label so I can sell by the cut. The plan is to spread out the steers that are ready for processing throughout the year so that we might have beef available more than just late fall.
We have never had any problems selling the sides of beef that we have produced over the last 30 years. Though we do get the occasional questions... Answers to some of those questions are kind of subjective however others we can sure give a straight answer to.
"Are you animals given hormones?" No, they are not.
"Are they organic or naturally raised?" Are they organic? No. Natural is a subjective term though. Our whole herd is vaccinated for the prevention of a variety of diseases as well as dewormed for the health of the animal.
"Are they grassfed?" Yes, they are grass fed their whole lives but they are given some corn/grain to help finish them out for processing.
"Why should I buy from you and not just buy my beef at the store?" When you buy beef as a whole, half, or quarter you are buying everything at the same price per pound. You get your burger for the same price as your ribeye steaks! Also you are able to customize your packaging as well as thickness of your steaks and size of your roasts.
"Why Dexter beef?" Why not? It's really ideal for a smaller family. The cuts of meat are small and a little more realistic to eat. You won't have a steak the size of your plate! Additionally, the sides are smaller and able to be kept much easier in your freezer. You will still have space for your other goodies. The beef itself is tender and has a little bit different flavor than what you will find in the store. It's hard to explain but you won't be disappointed!
"Where do you have your beef processed?" There are a variety of processors in the area and we typically send the beef wherever the customer would like it cut. I have personally never had a bad experience with any of them around here. They do all charge a bit differently for the cut/wrap/freeze. We can provide you with a list of processors if you would like.
"How much beef will I get in the end?"This one is a bit more challenging. But I'll try. Our steers are usually around 800lbs on the hoof. They would yield about 62% to a hanging carcass (496lbs). The take home on that would be about 70% of the hanging weight because of trimming and bone. So 350ish lbs of packaged beef per steer. This is a very rough guesstimate.
"What cuts of beef do we get?" As far as specific cuts, that is tailored to the customer. Each processor will take you through a cutting sheet and ask what type cuts you would like to keep or put into burger. It's all a matter of preference.
Marketing beef can't be harder than marketing breeding stock right? Oh by the way we have heifers for sale! :)
If you have any questions about the beef, our growing herd, or any calves just let me know! I'm always happy to talk Dexter, no matter if on the hoof or on the plate.
~Until next time