Field to Fork – The Whole Animal

field to fork

Remember the day I bought a cow? When we made that jump and selected a steer from the Black Beef herd, that we could call our very own; Up until the very day we would slaughter him for meat.The Field to Fork experience was all about uniting two of my passions in life. Animal welfare and tasty nutritious food. But how did that work out in reality?

It wasn’t easy – but it wasn’t awful either. The trip to the butchers was eye opening. Seeing whole animal carcasses up close and personal gives you a real appreciation for the size and strength of the animal. I went into detail about how that all panned out, and what cuts we decided on in a previous post. Read about that here.

Black Beef

The last few weeks were made easy for me – as Gus moved fields to be closer to the Black Beef farm. This meant that I didn’t see him for a couple of weeks before D-Day. And also that I was not there when he was loaded for the trip to the abattoir. I fully understand that these would be the toughest days, had I been fully responsible for Gus. A big bonus to working with a farmer instead of taking actual ownership of the cow… Perfect for an introduction to the ‘Field to Fork’ process.

But what does a whole cow look like?

The 23rd of May was the final day for Gus. Two weeks later Black Beef delivered the forequarter of the animal. And a further 14 days the hindquarter was ready. In case you are wondering, the forequarter is where most of the meat lies. Steak pieces, beef brisket, mince and sausages  are just some of what you can expect. The hindquarter is where the more premium cuts reside. Think steaks! ♥

We made the decision to split the meat 4 ways. Mainly due to our lack of storage space. But also because buying your own steer via a field to fork scheme, means ALOT of meat. We didn’t want to have beef in the freezer so long that the quality started to fall away. The images below show my share of Gus – so 1/4 of what you could expect from a Dexter Steer.

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Final Thoughts on the Field To Fork Experience

I LOVED it. No surprises there! The quality of the meat is second to none. Gus was a very happy Dexter steer who appreciated head scrubs and the odd kiss. And you can really taste that. Slow growing, grass fed meat is the best. In my opinion anyway…

As you may have gathered – the main inspiration for our field to fork journey with Gus was not about saving money. Of course, we are not made of money; and wouldn’t want to blow a load of cash for no reason. However, I believe that quality produce is worth paying for, and our farmers deserve a fair price.

BUT I know how important value is, and appreciate you will be wondering what the breakdown looks like. Therefore I have taken the liberty to price as many of the cuts as I can via Sainsbury’s and Waitrose’s websites. This gives us an idea what it would cost to purchase the same quantity of meat from a supermarket. I used Waitrose Aberdeen Angus range as the main comparison – considering it was the only rare breed meat I could find. I stayed away from organic ranges, as although Black Beef rear their cattle using organic principles they have not taken the jump into the lengthy and costly process of becoming registered. I could not find a number of cuts, so they had to be excluded – yet the total figure for what I could find is £1294.95. This comes in at £94.95 more expensive than Gus. #mindblown


If you have any questions, queries, thoughts – I’d love to hear them ♥ Or if anyone knows anyone who would tolerate me visiting a pig/sheep a lot over the course of its life so I can extend my ‘Field to Fork’ experiences I would LOVE to know!

Should you be looking for some top class Dexter or Angus Beef, or interested in your own #fieldtofork experience contact Black Beef.