Recently some friends in the valley offered us a calf as a home kill. They run two Murray Grey cows and breed two calves most years who are fathered by a local farmer's bull. In this area there is a lot of bartering of services and goods.
One the calves is normally used as a home kill and the other goes to the markets for some pocket money. Usually, half the meat that comes from the home kill is shared with their daughter. But recently the daughter turned to vegetarianism and now a home kill lasts twice as long.
This deal works well for us. Firstly the calf is still feeding from mum and is what is known in some places as being 'sappy'. Secondly, the final price per kilogram is estimated at $4 after calf costs, abattoir fees and butchering costs. As an indicator of price, the local supermarket sells meaty bones for $5 per kilogram. Thirdly the provenance is known i.e. grass fed, well treated, no chemical usage.
For the calf owners it means a guaranteed price and cash in the hand. With cattle prices still fluctuating greatly this is the best way to sell.
This is being written as the calf goes in to slaughter. It will hang at the abattoir for a week and then be transported to the butcher for cutting, packing and labelling.
We visited this butcher to agree on the type of cuts. Both avoiding commercially corned beef and sausages. Rather than sausages there will be more mince as the cats and dogs are happy with this. Nor will the beef pumped with corning material instead it will come as plain roasts.
The only short coming is that the offal that comes with the carcase will not be from this calf as it cannot be kept with the hanging carcase. Instead there will be fresh offal from another animal on the day. Any charcuterie will be performed at HHF when the meat arrives.
Ideally, it would have been best to have slaughtered the calf in situ and avoid the transport but no such butchering facility is available locally.
This is the first time with this butcher but we felt confident after the visit that all should proceed well. A bonus is that cuts are automatically packed in twos and labelled. Something that isn't part of our regular butcher's offering.