If you read our story, you’ll see that Rafter W Ranch represents our family’s solid a commitment to sustainable farming practices that have been several years in the making. We started small on less than 3 acres of land and have grown our ranch over time to over 600 acres, and now offer more products that are up to the standards our customers expect and deserve. Just as our farm started small and grew with us, we encourage those new to the idea of pastured meat to start with small changes to make a lasting impact on your health and environmental impact. Once you have chosen pastured meats over farm-factory meats, you may find it a struggle to fit your new commitment into the budget. Sarah Moran, whole-foods nutritionist, has a video on four concrete ways to make this change work.
Buy in Bulk/Local
The first way to offset some of the costs of pastured meat is to rethink the way you purchase it. Most of us are used to running to the grocery store and buying whatever we need for dinner that night or that week. With a little foresight and planning ahead, we can get better quality meat at a lower price.
One way that Sarah suggests is to use a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). As NPR explains, in the traditional CSA model, “members buy a share at the beginning of the growing season. That provides farmers with up-front capital to grow and manage the farm. In exchange, consumers receive a weekly delivery of fresh, seasonal produce.” By paying up front, farmers are ensured that they have the money to run their business, and customers in turn often get a discount on the overall cost.
Another option is to buy in bulk. Many farmers of large animals like pigs and cows will sell a whole or half animal at a discounted price. Sarah points out the benefit of getting to choose the exact cuts you want, and if you don’t have the money or storage for that much meat, you can always split the cost among a group.
Use What You Get
Food waste is a major problem, but it is one that you can combat right in your own kitchen. Make sure to use everything you buy. Sarah points out that one of the most often wasted parts of meat are bones. Many people just throw these away, but turning them into homemade stock ensures that there is less waste and provides another meal that is high in nutrition. The more use you get out of a single purchase, the lower the overall cost becomes.
Quality Over Quantity
One of the easiest ways to stretch your meat budget is to eat less meat overall. If you want to spend the same amount of money on meat but buy pastured meat instead of factory-farmed meat, you can make the numbers work by simply reducing the amount of meat you eat. A popular trend is “Meatless Monday,” but as you build an arsenal of nutritious vegetarian offerings, you can work to rotate fewer and fewer meat dishes into your routine. The result is that you will have more room in the budget to buy more expensive, healthful meat when you do choose to eat it.
Sarah’s final point is that we ought to question our priorities when it comes to setting a budget. As she explains, food is the only thing that we purchase that literally becomes us. What we put into our bodies fuels us. It is what gives us the energy and health to better interact with the world. While many people have taken it as a challenge to get food costs as low as possible, Sarah questions this practice. What’s more important than your own health and nutrition? Maybe there is another place to cut the budget so that this category gets the resources it deserves.
Not everyone will have all of these options available, and we all have different financial situations to navigate. With these tips, though, we can begin to find ways to fit pastured meat into our food routine. Make the commitment today for your health and well-being for many years to come. Visit our shop today to see what delicious and nutritious options are available!