Did you ever notice that ground beef looks different in different grocery stores? I have noticed that in my local stores there is a noticeable different in the color as well as the look of the “grind”. It makes me wonder where the beef comes from. I know people that moved out west years ago and live on a farm. They know exactly where their meat comes from because they live on a farm in a farming area and that’s where they get their meat. I have no shame in saying that my family eats beef. But if you think about it, it would be nice if everyone, regardless of location, knew exactly where our beef comes from.
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I recently learned about Crowd Cow. Crowd Cow is a company that holds crowdfunding campaigns for individual cows, making it possible for folks like you and I to buy healthy, high-quality, grass fed beef from sustainable, independent ranchers. Crowd Cow hand selects only those local ranches that can be Crowd Cow Certified™ for sustainable and ethical practices which includes rejecting unnecessary antibiotics and growth hormones, providing cattle with acres of land to roam and graze as well as using ethical slaughter practices with USDA approved butchers. Due to their stringent qualifications, when folks like you and I choose Crowd Cow we have the convenience of shopping from home while having peace of mind knowing that we will get only the healthiest beef from the best ranchers in the country. You could even say that the folks buying are “steakholders”, and that the purchasing could be called “cowpooling“!
I bet you’re wondering how Crowd Cow works? It’s simple!
First, Crowd Cow will post a campaign. A campaign begins when Crowd Cow lists all of the parts of a cow that they can legally sell according to FDA rules. You, the consumer, see the name and location of the farm where the cow is from, along with the story of the farm. A campaign will include many different shares of a cow. Shares are different portions or cuts of a cow. The site shows photos of the different types of shares available, along with the price, description and how many shares of each cut remain. Consumers select the quantities of the available cuts that they want to buy. Crowd Cow offers individual cuts as well as variety packs. Some of the many cuts available include rib steaks, short ribs, brisket, burger patties, chuck roast, sirloin tip roast, top round roast, filets, sirloins, tenderloin, strip steaks, New York steaks, flat iron steak, flank steak, skirt steak, ground beef and many more. You can even choose marrow bones and soup bones!
Once all of the shares of a cow have been claimed, the cow ‘tips”, your credit card is charged and the meat is shipped direct to your front door. The shares are not actually cut until the cow is tipped, ensuring that consumers receive the freshest beef possible. Pricing is admittedly a bit more than you likely pay in your grocery store, and are more in line for what you pay for fresh cut meat at a butcher.
Crowd Cow is a unique way of purchasing beef for most of us. Buying this way allows anyone anywhere to buy quality grass fed beef from a local rancher without actually living in an area near the ranch. In the same way that folks enjoy small-batch microbrew beer and locally grown produce, buying this way lets the consumer enjoy high-quality fresh product. And, the purchase benefits local, sustainable farms.
I received product samples from Crowd Cow. We use ground beef here all of the time, so I was particularly happy to receive two pounds of premium ground beef, along with a steak. The meat arrives frozen and on dry ice, in individually vacuum packed packages. Once defrosted it was easy to see the quality of the meat. And I loved seeing where the meat came from right on the label, it promoted confidence in the product and trust. We eat meatballs often here, so I thought I would put the meat to the test in one of the meatball dishes that I make – Cheesesteak Meatballs And Spaghetti. Here’s how I make it.
Cheesesteak Meatballs And Spaghetti
Makes about 24 meatballs, depending on the size you make your meatballs.
- baking sheet
- Pasta pot
- silicone cooking spoon
- spaghetti grabber
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 small onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 3 peppers – 1 each green, red, yellow
- 12 oz jar homestyle brown gravy with onions
- 10 1/2 oz can french onion soup
- 6-8 slices provolone cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 f.
Core and mince the green pepper.
Place the beef, onion, minced garlic and green pepper into a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly.
Form meatballs and place into a large baking pan.
Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
Boil the spaghetti according to instructions.
Chop the remaining peppers into bite sized pieces.
Remove the meatballs from the oven.
Combine the spaghetti, french onion soup and brown gravy in a large oven-safe pan.
Add the meatballs to the spaghetti.
Add the remaining peppers to the spaghetti pan.
Place the provolone cheese all around the top of the food in the pan.
Bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted.