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Back in December, I wrote THIS post on my personal blog about how disgusted I was with the practices that go on in the big meat industry. Honestly I felt physically ill after watching just a little bit of the video that I linked to in that post.

After that I began to scour craigslist and various farm’s websites in our state looking for humanely raised grass-fed beef. It’s out there! Takes a little work to find it, but it’s there! Finally I found a place not too far from us who raise their cattle in a manner we approve of and feed them grass and organic heirloom hay. Yay!! HERE is the post I wrote when we decided to take the plunge and make the purchase. A whole cow (and a pig) is a BIG one time investment for sure, but we knew it was the kind of meat that we wanted to stock our freezers with and to have some to distribute to friends and family who are interested too.

The steer was slaughtered a few weeks ago and was dry curing. The pig was slaughtered last week and is curing as well. I’ve been in communication with the people at that ranch who’ve been helping us through this whole process since it’s the first time we’ve ever bought meat this way. We thought that we were going to be able to pick up the beef this week, and were looking forward to having meat again since our store of meat in the freezer is getting very low.

But I got a text this morning that said that the beef had been dry cured for too long and much of it had gone bad. It was close to 900lbs of beef. The text said that it was ‘devastating’ for them as it was a loss of so much meat and that they would have to start again with a different steer.

To say that I’m not disappointed wouldn’t be true, but I can say that I’m very sorry for this operation and the loss of all that beef. Not because it was “my” cow that they lost or that it’s an inconvenience to us even though “technically” that is true. I realize now after putting in time and effort into our own little Ranch just how easily things can go wrong. Case in point, our diminishing chicken flock!

And since I know nothing of the dry curing process or anything about the butchering or even the investment that one 1100lb steer involves, I have to rely on the experience of others. But since I have a little experience, on a much smaller scale, of the fight to raise good food for our own family, I can sympathize with the loss, and have patience with the process and waiting a little longer, and have a great appreciation for the honesty with which they have treated us.

It can’t be easy for them to say that they messed up on the cow and have a huge loss on their hands, but rather than make excuses, or expect us to somehow absorb that loss, they are honest. And in my mind that makes the relationship with the farmers, and the meat that they provide all that much more valuable!

So… we’ll eat more beans for a few weeks, and that’s okay!