Monday, August 1, 2011

Heat Wave Winter Planning

Like much of the country, especially the Midwest, we're in the midst of a lengthy heat wave.  In spite of the heat, Shane and I have been planning for winter (and beyond actually).

We've wanted to buy a whole hog for some time, but in the past, we couldn't get everything to fall into place.  The price needed to be right, the money needed to be on hand, and timing was crucial.  This year, all the pieces lined up and fell right together. 

Yesterday we were scouring the craigslist ads for our area and found a nearby farmer selling a couple of butcher hogs.  We'll be buying one from him this week.  It's already scheduled to go to the butcher tomorrow, and the fresh meat will be ready by Friday.  Or we can (and probably will) wait a couple of weeks to pick all of the meat up when the smoked cuts are done.  I'll also be asking for some of the fat to render quality, non-hydrogenated lard (unless they will render it for me there) and some of the organ meats for making homemade food for our cats.

We usually won't pay more than $2 a pound for pork in the grocery store, which limits the cuts we can buy to what typically goes on sale here.  For us, it's usually whole pork loin or loin chops, country ribs, pork butt roast and breakfast sausage and ham around the winter holidays.  With the purchase this whole hog, we'll get all of the cuts, including bacon, tenderloin, hams and ribs, for about $2.86 a pound.  That's an estimate, of course; we won't know exactly how much meat we'll get until the processing is done.  The pork will be from a hog that is hormone- and antibiotic-free, and raised in a large pen instead of in feedlot confinement.  I think we're making a pretty good deal.  The amount of pork we'll get will probably last more than a year, as long as it's wrapped and frozen properly.

In addition to the pork, Shane hopes to get more red meat for the freezer this fall.  Having venison in our freezer this past year has saved a lot on our grocery bill since we haven't had to buy beef.  We all love the meat -- even Kat -- and look forward to stocking the freezer with it again this year.  In addition, venison is generally considered a healthier meat choice than beef.

With pork and venison in the freezer, along with strawberries we picked earlier this summer and produce from our garden, we'll be fairly well set for the coming winter and beyond. 

What, if anything, have you been doing to plan for your winter food stores?  Is it something you think about ahead of time, or do you wait until you need food to buy it?


Kat said...

Getting the pork for that price is good, I hope it turns out well for you. Many moons ago we used to slaughter our own hog, when B.'s father had a farm. B. plans to raise some when he retires next year. We had our first winter last year without venison in the freezer and it was missed. We don't eat much in the way of beef, except ground. It is just too hard on digestive and not good for you, really. Venison, like you said is much healthier. And we know they are "free range" and naturally fed. We slaughter our own, most of the time, unless, of course it comes at a holiday, when I am occupying the kitchen all the time. Enjoyed this post.

Dmarie said...

AMAZING price for organic pork. look forward to hearing more about this!

Melynda said...

Purchased a used upright freezer. Now food won't get lost and we have room to (maybe) buy a quarter of beef as well as store whole grains and nuts for long term.

Leanne said...

That is a really good price, especially seeing as you'll be getting all the good cuts too, not that I think there are any bad cuts of pork it's one of my favourite meats to cook and eat:)

I'm still tempted by a whole lamb but I would have to butcher it myself to make it cost effective which would be a chore, actually it would be a chore and a night shift but I'm still tempted.

I'm stocking up on butter and freezing it as usual. I can get it for £1/lb in Summer and the price more than doubles in Winter which is when I use a lot more of it so buying now saves me a small fortune because I mostly give foody presents at Christmas like shortbread and cakes.

Cathy said...

Exciting! I love getting our meat from farmers I know personally.

SonyaAnn said...

Yup you are so far ahead of me! I'm just trying to keep up with teenagers. I lose.