I bought a cow.

Not quite, but let me explain.

 

Last Tuesday, I was participating in my usual volunteering gig at Start Up Grind – Seattle.  The guest speaker was Joe from CrowdCow.

I was super excited about this BECAUSE a few years ago, after reading An Omnivore’s Dilemma and generally being personified versions of Portlandia sketch characters (see below), we became very interested in buying into a cow at a local ranch.

 

Colin’s dad, who lives in a mountain town, had bought into a cow and we thought…well, if he can do it (Plus, it was less expensive than buying the meat at a grocery store AND it was helping out a local rancher)…we should be able to find something similar around Seattle!

It was not that easy.  I probably should have gone to a farmer’s market and spoken to an actual farmer/purveyor of meats, but instead it was the dead of winter and I poked around on the internet until I gave up.

Essentially, it was on the pricey side because you had to buy a quarter of a cow…which is okay because you get a lot of meat.  BUT THEN, you have to deal with packaging/butchering/storing a quarter of a cow.  Cows are large animals and with a chest freezer mostly full of fish Colin caught, that was going to be an issue.  Did we really need to be investing in another chest freezer for meat?  No.  That is ridiculous.

So, instead, I forgot about it UNTIL last Tuesday.  CrowdCow has made it so much easier.  Okay, so the pros:

  1. UX is much easier to navigate than most farmers’/ranchers’ websites.  This is to be expected.
  2. The process is much simplified.  They deal with the sourcing, the butchering, the packaging.
  3. Don’t have to buy a quarter of a cow.  So, you can just buy a small pack of meat, or some brisket, or some steaks.  Share with friends and you share the cost of this cow with others. And then have a cookout.  Duh.
  4. Customer service.  More on that below, but, in sum, I’m digging their customer service.  They ship it right to your door, which is awesome.  They start with the customer first, which shows through in their service.

The cons:

  1. Sourcing – so, we are lucky in Seattle because they are sourcing the meat from PacNW ranches; however, as they expand, they don’t (at this time) have plans to connect with local ranchers around the US.  So, you might be a Californian eating Washington beef when there are Californian ranchers who also could provide quality beef to you.  This may not be an issue for some.  Convenience often trumps the locavore factor.  For us, we’re local to the company so it works out for us.
  2. You don’t get a say in how your cut is butchered.**  This matters less to me.  Some people may care.  I want beef ribs sometimes but…hey…I don’t need this platform to be everything for me.  Maybe I should step away from the computer and make friends with a local butcher instead. Plus, they said that they *might* be accommodating of requests for specific cuts in the future.  This promise is enough for me.

    **When I sent one of the CrowdCow founders this blog post, he corrected me – (and I’m not getting paid or anything by them.  I wrote this post due to genuine excitement about the start-up and food in general), customers do have a limited say in how their meat is butchered.  If you have questions, ask.  They’ve been very accommodating to me, some Joe Blow off the street.  

Okay, so the customer service.  I saw him speak Tuesday.  Poked around on their website on Wednesday but didn’t buy.  By Thursday, imagine how tickled I was when I received an email from a real human at the company ASKING WHY I HADN’T BOUGHT!  I love this.  I gave them my reasons and they talked to me like a real person in figuring things out with me.

I’m so excited.  Waiting on my share…will update with pictures of the delivery and the delicious steak dinner that I will be making (well, that Colin will be making because he’s better at it…slightly).

 


Update: My cow has “tipped.”  Expect pictures soon.  It should be delivered by Wednesday – so, 2 days from when I got the notification.

 

I’m not clear, however, on what happens if the cow does NOT tip.


I HAVE RECEIVED MY MEAT.  mmmmmm.  meat.  It looks good.  Plus, it comes in cool dry ice.

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I wonder if you could use the dry ice to make frozen custard, like so.