At Farmer to Fridge we make it super easy to buy your meat in bulk direct from the farm.
Find your local farm in our marketplace, we’ve already registered farms in SA, NSW, VIC and WA!
We’re building Australia’s first online marketplace to connect you to your local farmer, to help shorten supply chains and keep money local. With Farmer to Fridge, your money is spent at a local abattoir and local butcher, as well as the local farm, so it’s a true local community benefit!
That being said, lets dive in and show you how easy it is to buy Half A Cow!
This is the first and most important question as it will determine which farms are suitable for you!
If you’re looking for Beef delivered we’ve got you covered, but there are many farms who only offer pickup.
Pig, Goats, Sheep and many other animals are much smaller, so we have many farms who can deliver these meats to you! You can search HERE by your post code!
Traditionally people will make the trip to the butcher and pickup their “side of beef” as realistically you’ve just done your meat shopping for the next 6 months in a few hours!
We also have farms who will supply a side of beef, split between 4 people to lower the upfront cost and freezer space needs.
The next consideration is freezer space. A whole cow needs a LOT of storage room, but some farms are offering ¼ cow packs (About 50 – 70kg) and even beef boxes (About 10 – 25kg) which do help address the storage problems!
Some farms have started offering a 1/8th of a cow box, which is only 20kg+ bones, and will almost fit in a normal fridge freezer!
We have a complete guide on freezer space requirements HERE.
If you’re getting a half sheep, goat or pig then it will probably fit in your current freezer as long as it’s not too full.
You’ll need at least a small chest freezer for ¼ of a cow, we recommend between 200L and 300L to be on the safe side! It’s a one time investment that will last for many years, and allow you to buy in bulk when a great deal comes along!
At Farmer to Fridge we have many farms from all around Australia on our platform. When you buy through our platform you’re buying directly from that farm who then pays the butcher and abattoir to prepare your meat!
We help farms with their own individual pages so you can learn about the farm, and how they manage and raise their animals.
Ultimately how an animal is raised, and what it eats over its lifespan determines how it tastes! Happy animals are less stressed and produce less stress hormone which leads to tough meat with a bad taste.. and that’s not folklore that’s SCIENCE!
Different farms have different costs and business models. We don’t set the prices on Farmer to Fridge, that’s for the farmers to decide. There are a lot of elements which go into the price of beef, and these include:
To make it even more complicated, some of these costs vary depending on the size and weight of the animal! … But at Farme to Fridge we’ve done the hard work for you and distilled all these costs down to a simple $/kg.
Different feeds over an animals life result in a different taste and texture of the meat. Recently there’s been a great push by marketing firms to increase the consumption of different ‘kinds’ of meat and cattle breeds e.g. Wagu cows or Angus Beef to name a few.
The reality is that grass is a seasonal crop, during the winter months while very green, it produces very little nutritional value for the stock, so they are unable to put on weight easily, and may even lose weight if only able to access grass.
Grass fed beef is, as a result, very “lean’ with little fat and little marbling. Some people believe that this is the best and only way to eat beef, but it is not a sustainable practice for all farms.
Some farms will do a mixture of Grass and Grain Fed. This is known as “finishing” where the animal has access to grain for the last 30 – 120 days of its life. This doesn’t mean that the animal is couped up in a pen unable to roam around. Most grain finished cows are still freely roaming around in paddocks eating grass, but they also have access to grain.
Finishing on Grain allows for increased weight gain, and contributes to the highly sought after “marbling” effect where small amounts of fat are deposited throughout the meat. Grain fed beef is also claimed to have a more “full” flavor than purely grass fed beef.
Every farmer on our platform believes that they are doing things the “best way” but the reality is that there’s probably no true “best” as each farm has their own circumstances and challenges. They are also trying to produce different kinds of cattle and meat.
Each farm on Farmer to Fridge has their own page where they explain how they do things on their farm this can include organic farming practices, breeding stock choices, their policy on chemicals… and much much more!
Some farms with official certifications (like Australian Certified Organic) will be able to display these badges on their farm and product pages.
Well if you’ve made it this far, well done!
You’ve found your farm, and your cow and it’s time to choose your cuts and size.
Depending on the farm you can get a whole, half or quarter animal. The butchers charge more for ¼ animal preparation so it’s generally a little cheaper if you get more at a time!
When buying a whole, or a quarter you’ll get the same cuts, just in a smaller amount. It’s known as a “mixed quarter” where the “side”of the animal is prepared and then the cuts are divided between two people.
When purchasing direct from the farm you can’t just buy the scotch fillet, you have to buy the whole ¼, ½ or entire animal. This will be prepared into meat cuts like you see in the supermarket, but you’ll get whole range – some you’re familiar with and some maybe less so – but that is part of the experience!
Each “cut” of beef that you’re familiar with comes directly from a certain part of the cow, and how you choose to have that prepared will determine what ends up in your freezer! Some cuts are mutually exclusive, as you can’t both get striploin AND T-Bone, as the striploin steak is the same as T-Bone, with the bone out!
If this all sounds super confusing and complicated, don’t worry! We’ve made it as simple as possible for you to customize your side of beef to work for your eating preferences!
When you go to purchase your cow, you’ll be presented with a ‘cut sheet’ that is used by the butcher when they prepare your cow. You simply choose your preferred option WITH PICTURES, for each of the choices.
Cut sheets can vary a little bit between farms, and you can slightly tweak things in the order notes. Ultimately the cut sheet is determined by the butcher who’s preparing the meat, not the farm.
Now that you’ve ordered your cow, there’s usually a 4 – 6 week wait after purchasing. The farmers will decide exactly when their cow is ready to go to the abattoir, there may be a few days wait as you need to ‘book in” with your cows.
Then the butcher has to prepare the cow based on the cut sheet selections. But before this is done the meat usually goes through a process known as Dry Aging. Where the meat is allowed to mature in a temperature controlled environment. This process results in more tender meat with fuller flavors as some of the water is lost due to evaporation (unlike a supermarket where they add water to increase weight!)
Each butcher has a slightly different way to preparing their meat, but the average time is 10 to 14 days for the dry aging process.
Once your meat is with the butcher, you’ll generally get an update from the farmer or butcher wth an update on your order, giving you plenty of time to plan the pickup!
On collection day, make sure you’re going straight home, and freeze what you’re not cooking straight away. The butcher will generally provide temporary esky boxes to keep your meat cool for a short time, but it’s important to keep your meat cool and freeze it ASAP unless you’re planning on cooking the whole cow at once!
So it sounds super complicated, but we’ve made it as easy as possible to buy Half A Cow online.
That’s it! So in less than an hour you can solve your meat buying challenges for about a year depending on how fast you eat your beef, and you know you’ve got a great local product at a fantastic price.