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We talked about the hidden costs of conventionally produced meats, and the relative value of pastured meats, but that doesn’t change your monthly grocery budget. How do you make the shift to pastured meats when your expenses have so far reflected the conventional price tags?

We at Rafter W Ranch truly believe meat produced as we produce it is best for your family, and beneficial to the health of the earth. We don’t want it to be available only to a select elite, but since we don’t pass on the costs of our production to the taxpayers, the environment, your health, or society, we can’t possibly compete, dollar for dollar, with an industrial model.

Here are some things that can help you fit pastured meats into your grocery budget.

Buy from the producer. Whether a local CSA or direct order, cutting out the middle man keeps the cost down.

1. Buy in bulk, if possible. Share an order with family or friends, or buy a whole or half beef to keep your freezer stocked for the year. If you don’t have that much space, consider a bulk package of ground beef. There’s less variety but you get all the advantages of pastured meat and a very versatile product.
2. If possible, and you’re buying a whole animal, use a custom butcher (contact us for info and local recommendations).
3. Embrace nose-to-tail usage. If you’re having an entire animal processed, ask about organ meats, tongue, soup bones. 4. Sometimes these add very little to the processing cost, and can be powerhouses of nutrition. With chickens, make an easy, superfood broth after your first meal is done.
5. Use less meat per meal. The nutrient density of pastured meats often satisfies your appetite before you might expect. Include soups, chilis, and other mixed dishes that don’t require a cut of meat for every plate in your meal rotation. This is also an easy way to increase vegetable intake.

For actual dollar management, these are some things that can be done:

1. Prioritize your own values. Some families spend more per year on carbonated beverages or at the coffee shop than what it would cost to fill their freezer once. Decide what is important for you, and spend with purpose.
2. Set aside a portion of money each month to go towards a yearly or bulk purchase. That doesn’t help you eat in the meantime though, so:
3. Use a windfall – holiday bonus or tax refund or similar – to make that initial purchase, if possible.

We understand that families have to carefully consider their expenses these days. We want everyone to be able to enjoy and afford safe, clean food, and we firmly believe that pastured meats like ours are an incredible value. We hope these ideas open up some possibilities for your menu planning.