There’s a Cow in My Freezer: The Complete Guide to Buying, Storing, and Enjoying Pasture-Raised Meat in Bulk
By Maxine Taylor
Many people who join the Weston A. Price Foundation do so out of concern for the food we put into our bodies and the impact of the industrialized food system. Research by WAPF and other organizations continually demonstrates that many of today’s pervasive health issues stem from degraded nutrition. Those of us who live in cities, suburbs or small towns and primarily shop in industrialized grocery stores wonder whether our only option is to flee to the countryside and raise our own food. While that may be ideal, it certainly isn’t practical for everyone, or even necessary. There are more incremental options that make it possible to obtain nutritious food and support family farms.
In There’s a Cow in My Freezer, Maxine Taylor details the process of directly purchasing bulk meat orders from local farmers. She provides a veritable step-by-step owner’s manual on purchasing, storing and dealing with several hundred pounds of meat at a time. Though the book’s title focuses on beef, Taylor also incorporates information on pork, lamb and chicken bulk orders. With practical tips and advice for any level, she starts from the ground up, detailing how to go from standard grocery store shopping to purchasing a quarter or half cow.
Taylor begins with a philosophical discussion of the health benefits for humans as well as animals and the environment, offering the reader a concise and elementary overview of reasons to eat local pastured meats. Though not exactly groundbreaking, this opening also provides a good primer on the “why’s” of buying this type of meat in bulk, zeroing in on practical benefits such as time, money and organization. Finally, Taylor addresses potential concerns that may initially arise. One item that really stuck out to me was the issue of power failure. Taylor allays this worry by noting that a properly packed freezer will maintain its temperature for nearly seventy-two hours. Placing blankets over the freezer can extend that time even further.
Taylor’s discussion of the nuts and bolts of meat buying is where the book really shines. She delves into considerations such as determining what quantity to buy, how to store the meat and working under budgetary constraints. With a focus on detail (even down to kilowatt-hours in the budgeting section), she forces readers to consider every aspect of the process but also provides ample information to make well-informed choices.
Building on this information, Taylor methodically describes purchasing a freezer, including outlining the different types and the full range of freezer-related issues one might experience. Taylor then introduces us to the considerations involved in choosing a farmer, paying for and picking up meat, organizing and inventorying the freezer and finally, meal planning. Each topic gets its own chapter, allowing Taylor to provide a detailed look at all stages of purchasing and consuming meat in bulk.
The book and the appendices delineate information especially useful for first-timers, including an overview of various breeds of cows, hogs and lambs noted for their meat. Taylor also provides explanations of the various cuts of meat, an overview of a typical order one might expect (including cuts and poundage), examples of inventory sheets, comparison outlines for choosing a farmer and comments about various preferred cooking methods depending on cut.
While I’m not sure the book would convince someone to purchase meat in bulk who is not already inclined to do it, it does provide a handy reference guide to doing so. Freezer gets a big thumbs up for those who have considered buying meat in bulk but just didn’t know where to start or even what they didn’t know. It’s a great first step for those looking to strengthen their relationships with local farmers and step outside of the industrialized food system without purchasing three hundred acres.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2021🖨️ Print post