About the Beef and Pork
Zimbo’s meat is local, pastured, grass-fed, hormone free, anti-biotic free and we do not feed corn or other grains to the beef. The beef and pork are raised in clean, healthy conditions, the animals are humanely treated, given a diet of spring water, mixed grasses, wild forage and the animals always have access to trace mineral lick-blocks as well as shelter from the weather if they choose it. The hogs do receive supplemental feed containing corn.
Zimbo’s meat is never factory farmed, is never in a feed lot and never ‘finished’ on corn. In general, grocery store beef and pork comes through filthy feed lots where the animals are fed corn and anti-biotics and crowded into soggy pens knee deep in manure without a blade of grass in sight. After this ‘finishing’ the animals go to huge, dirty factory-like packing plants that process hundreds of animals per hour. These massive facilities are very difficult to keep sanitized, the animals are mistreated and the large numbers of low-wage workers do not care about quality like small family owned and operated butcher shops do. In addition, ground meat in stores may be a mix of animals from many locations. There is no way for the consumer to know specifically where their meat was sourced from and exactly how it was raised. It’s no wonder that most of the store bought ground beef in the USA is contaminated with harmful bacteria and fecal matter. A 2015 Consumer Report found that in a nationwide study 100% of ground beef from stores was contaminated with fecal matter and harmful bacteria. This bacteria is not harmful enough to kill but is does prevent digestive systems from performing at optimum health. When you buy grocery store food do you really know where it came from and what was done to it?
Zimbo’s beef is processed by a small, local ’boutique’ butcher shop that does only a few animals a day and cleans thoroughly between each.
The ‘side of beef’ is sold in ¼ animal increments by hanging weight. A ‘side of pork’ is sold in 1/2 animal increments by hanging weight. It is delivered as finished weight which is less than hanging weight.
There are 3 weights:
1) Live or on the hoof. This is as the animal is in the field. For illustration we will use a 1000 lb animal as a convenient example. Beef is normally from an animal 1000lb to 1300lb on the hoof. Pork is usually 250lb to 500lb live weight.
2) Hanging or dressed. This is where the skin, head, hooves, blood and guts, some bones etc are removed so the meat can be hung to ‘relax’. This weight could be 40% to 60% of the live weight and the weight is given to us by the butcher. From 1000lb this leaves us with 400 to 600 lb hanging weight (for the whole animal). This is the weight used to calculate the customers payment.
3) Finished or cut weight. This is the packaged, labeled and ready to eat stage. This weight could be 60% to 75% of hanging weight. This leaves 240lb to 450lb from the original 1000lb animal.
Common customer misunderstandings are:
Misconception #1: each time they buy a side of beef the weight yield percentages will be the same – it varies between breeds, age, individual and cut selections. E.g. one time you may get 70% of the hanging weight, the next may be 60%.
Misconception #2: the take home weight will be the same as the hanging weight they paid on. If the hanging weight is 600lb the customer did not pay for 600lb of meat. Most people are accustomed to grocery store buying and this concept takes some getting used to.
3) Customers are looking for a price bargain. Zimbo’s meat is not competing in price with cheap meat from unknown locations, raised in an unknown manner and with unknown health risks. We cannot compete in price with industrialized beef from factory farms. Zimbo’s meat should be compared to local, organic, grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, humanely raised beef from a boutique butcher (if you can find it). For the best comparisons, look at the organic, grass-fed meats from ‘Whole Foods’, ‘EarthFare’ or ‘Trader Joes’. In this case Zimbo’s prices will compete well.
A $300 non-refundable deposit is required to order beef. This is to ensure customers actually pick-up their meat after Zimbo gets it slaughtered. Once ¾ of the animal is sold Zimbo makes the appt. at the butcher. A series of emails keeps customers appraised of progress. The beef is delivered deep frozen, finished cut and labeled. Final cash payment is due on delivery.
The price is $7/lb hanging weight.
A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to order pork. This is to ensure customers actually pick-up their meat after Zimbo gets it slaughtered. Once 1/2 of the animal is sold Zimbo will take the animal to the butcher. A series of emails keeps customers appraised of progress. The pork is delivered deep frozen, finished cut and labeled. Final cash payment is due on delivery.
The price is $5/lb hanging weight.
Storage and Handling
Freezer space. About 1 cubic foot of freezer space is required for 30lb of beef. Plan on a little extra space to be safe.
Before the butcher cuts the meat Zimbo sends out a ‘cut selection sheet’. Customers use this to make choices such as turning some tougher roasts into ground, requesting broth bones, how many steaks per package or the thickness of steaks etc. The requests are compiled and the best overall plan is made – nobody ever gets all their choices on beef as the butcher can only make 2 cut sets and there are many variations.
The hanging price is per pound. This applies for all meats from best steaks to liver. It is not possible to choose only the rib-eye steaks at this price. Each 1/4 side gets the same as the other 1/4s. That means that each 1/4 will have the same amount of steaks and liver and will contain all the types of meats/cuts that come from a beef animal.
Tough meat. Sometimes this ‘real beef’ is tougher than store bough beef. There are reasons for this. My beef is leaner because I do not feed it corn, this means less fat (marbling). Fat is soft. You actually get more meat when a 1lb piece has less fat but since fat is softer than muscle the redder (less fatty) meat is tougher. Sometimes factory farm meats are injected with a chemical solution to preserve them, make them heavier and make them softer. We don’t do that.
When you buy you vote with your dollar. Are you voting for the best solution for you, your family and the environment? Why Grass-fed?