Monday, November 12, 2012

Affordable, high-quality food: $1 a day is all it takes

Over the last couple of months, we've acquired our orders from Big Coulee Farms, our supplier of pastured beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. We were excited to have our turkeys in time for Thanksgiving, and just last week, we had our first meal of pork chops in many months. We only ordered chickens in bulk last year, so when Rusty and Agnes ran out of pork chops we were out of luck until our own order was ready this year. They tasted even better than I remember them. Sorry, there is no photo, we all ate them before I even thought of breaking out the camera or iPhone for a photo. Here is a shot of the freezer and the pork. I'll try to add a photo of the finished dinner product in a future post.

Freezer full of goodness.
Just yesterday I called BCF and spoke to Vicky to order some eggs for this coming week. It was then that she informed me our split side of beef would also be ready for pick-up. When I got off the telephone, I added up our total costs for the bulk orders that will last us until next fall (note: this is not counting bi-weekly eggs in this total). It breaks down like this:

  • 8 chickens ~$250
  • 3 turkeys ~ $280
  • 1 pig $594
  • beef, split side (1/4 beef) ~ $507
  • total = ~ $1,630

I don't have the totals for the poultry close to hand, so include the "~" as a qualifier in my totals. Bear in mind that each of our chickens can easily last for two meals for our famiy of four, and then be turned into stock, the turkeys are 18-19 pounds, our pork was just shy of 99 pounds, and we will be getting more than 60 pounds of beef, I figure. Quite a few meals of humanely, naturally-raised, pasture-fed livestock. It can't get much better than that.

One criticism that people level against eating pasture-raised animals is that the costs are prohibitively expensive. Yes, I realize that not everyone has a large freezer. But given what I am about to describe, it may be worth the initial start-up expense. These simple calculations show that even our large order, when considered in a per day, per person manner, works out to be pretty darned cost effective. You be the judge.

For $1,630 this works out to about $135 per month, about $30 per week, or $1.11 per day, per person for our family of four. When I look at it this way, it makes me wonder why it took us so long to "see the light" and start feeding our family this way. The next time that you hear someone talking about how they can't afford to eat real, healthy food, ask yourself this: Do you spend $1 per day on what you consume? Of course you do. Shouldn't you get your money's worth?

UPDATE 17 November 2012: I just picked up our split side of beef - it came to 82.4 lbs! So we have we now have about 275 pounds of pasture-raised beef, pork, chicken, and turkey in our freezer. 


  1. I really liked this. My thoughts are different on the chickens, though. The pastured chickens I have gotten are much smaller than store bought. Generally maybe 3 total adult meals, or 4 tops (plus stock) I could not feed 4 people 2 meals with one bird. We get a pig at my house too (with extra bacon please) and it does not last a full year, maybe 3/4ths. And we have 4 full deer, and endless fish thanks to my husband. How many ounces of protein do you consider a portion size? Maybe too your kids are small and not eating as much as my 17yr old, lol.
    I do agree that you can eat very well when you buy in bulk, plus the quality is just amazing compared to what the stores sell.

  2. We just had a chicken on the weekend and fed 3 adults and 2 kids (14 and 11) and had leftovers for my wife and two kids today. I think our birds must be larger, closer to 5 pounds each.

    I haven't calculated portion sizes, and perhaps this won't last all year. We've only ever purchased pieces in the past. This is the first time we purchased in bulk. We also eat wild fish that we buy from the store and eat wild game when people we know who hunt give us some. We'll see if we need more chickens and a whole side of beef next year.

  3. Wow, that is just fantastic. Better product, lower price. One would be hard pressed to heat supermarket ground beef alone for $1.11 per day.

    I assume you'll be tossing some fish in the mix now & then. How about organs?

  4. We do eat wild caught fish too and I have a bag of pastured beef livers and chicken livers that I have to use your liverwurst recipe for or else grind it up and add it to burgers.

  5. Oh man, I just slice the beef liver and fry it with pepper and then salt. Send me your livers if you don't want them. :):) ;) I'll probably end up with iron overload...