Swallow Hill Farm, LLC

Buying Grass Fed Beef

Grass Fed Beef Pricing

We sell approximately 75% of our beef in the form of beef-shares (quarters and halves). Our bulk beef prices are based on "hanging weight" per pound. Hanging weight (also called dressed weight or carcass weight) refers to the weight of an animal after being partially butchered, removing all the internal organs, the head and inedible (or less desirable) portions of the tail and legs. It includes the bones, cartilage and other body structure still attached after this initial butchering. It is usually a fraction of the total weight of the animal, and an average of 55-60% of the original weight for cattle. For example, a 1,000 pound beef will average 550-600 lbs hanging weight.

Please be aware there will be pounds difference between the hanging weight that you are charged and the total weight of the beef that you take home due to the bone, fat and carving waste that is discarded when you're order is cut. If you choose bone-in cuts and opt to receive bones, fat and organs, your take home weight will be closer to the hanging weight than if you choose boneless cuts and do not opt to receive bones, fat and organs. There is no additional charge to customers who receive bones, fat and/or organs.

We also offer a limited supply of individual beef cuts at our farm store. Please see our beef pricing.

Our Local Beef Prices Include

  • Dry Aging: Our beef is dry aged at the abattoir for two weeks. This extra step creates rich tasting and tender beef which is rarely available at retail stores. The dry aging process also reduces the weight of the product you purchase so when buying by the individual cut, you buy more meat with up to 20% less water weight. There is no cooking method that can generate the depth of flavor of a dry-aged piece of beef.
  • Standard Processing Costs: The normal cost of processing and packaging your beef is included in the above prices. Premium processing services (pre-made hamburger patties, seasoned sausages or special packaging) are not included but can be purchased separately.
  • Transportation Costs: The costs of transporting your beef to the abattoir is included in the above prices.
  • Vacuum Packaging: All of your product will be vacuum sealed to protect the flavor and freshness of your beef. You can also rest assure that all of the bone in meat and other products will be packaged with care, using durable bone guards to insure no broken seals.
  • Support and Assistance: Ordering bulk beef can be confusing at first. We will be happy to help you select your beef cut preferences, talk with you about our animal husbandry practices and coordinate the processing of your beef with the abattoir (butcher) and offer any other support we can.

How to Buy Grass Fed Beef

Our local grass finished beef is currently available most of the year in our on-farm store. Please contact us if you would like us to check availability of any specific cuts.

Where to Buy Grass Fed Beef

We sell our grass fed and finished beef directly from the Swallow Hill Farm Store but you can also call or email us directly. You are invited to visit our farm to see how our naturally raised farm products are raised.

Pickup of Your Grass Fed Beef-Share

Unless other arrangements are made in advance, customers must pick up their orders from the processor; it is best for frozen meat to be taken directly to the customer's freezer. The beef you have purchased is processed as close to our farm as possible to reduce the stress on the animals. Our beef is currently processed at Finest Meat Processing, 11746 AG Industrial Dr., Bealeton, VA 22712.

We suggest that you have adequate containers to carry your beef home as these are not available from the processor. During the summer months, you can use moving boxes wrapped with blankets or a sleeping bag to help keep the meat insulated if you do not have large or many insulated containers.  You do not need to bring ice, the beef will be hard frozen and will stay frozen unless you have an long drive home.

Beef-Share Cut Preferences

After your order and deposit are received, at the farm, via US Mail or email and, if you are purchasing a whole or half beef, we will contact you with a "Beef Cut List" form closer to the time of processing for you to fill out and to send back to us with your custom specifications.  If you would like to review a cut sheet in advance, you can find a whole beef cut sheet here.

Customers purchasing a quarter-share (sometimes referred to as a split-half) will receive standard cuts since the butcher cannot custom cut individual quarters.

Beef Cut Chart
Click on image for printable cut chart. Courtesy American Angus Association

USDA Inspected Safe

Our beef is processed at a USDA plant where the inspector is on the floor at all times assuring you of safety in processing and humane treatment of our animals.

Custom Meat Processing (1/2 or Whole)

All customers purchasing a half or whole beef will have the opportunity to have their beef custom cut to their specifications. If you are purchasing a half or whole beef and would like premium processing (burger patties, sausage, cube steak or tied roasts) you will need to pay extra to the processing plant at the processor's going rate. Charge's will be separate and noted on your receipt.  We will contact you approximately a week before your beef is sent to the processor if we need to receive a cut sheet from you. 

Typical Meat Cuts*

Meat from a typical half beef (from a 950 - 1,200 lb. live animal) weighs approximately 300 hanging pounds. Typically, one would see the following quantities of beef from a half of beef:

  • 3-4 lbs. of Filet Mignon (more if bone in T-bones and Porterhouse)
  • 6-8 lbs. of NY Strip (more if bone in T-bones and Porterhouse)
  • 11-13 lbs. of B/I Rib Steaks
  • 10-12 lbs. of Sirloin (Roasts, steaks or ground)
  • 28-34 lbs. of Round (Roasts, steaks or ground)
  • 10-12 lbs of Ribs
  • 8-10 lbs. of Osso Bucco or soup bones (1.5 lbs.)
  • 25-30 lbs. of Chuck (Roasts, steaks or ground)
  • 5-6 lbs. of Brisket (or ground beef)
  • 45-55 lbs. ground beef
  • (Variety meats, if desired, such as heart, liver, tongue, and oxtail)

* The information above is based on historical averages. The actual weights for each category can vary significantly based on the individual animal's genetics, sex and age. The amounts of each cut will also vary depending on the way each side of beef is cut (bone-in, boneless, roasts, steaks, ground, etc.). Although we strive to ensure each and every customer is satisfied, there are no guarantees regarding the actual take home weights of individual cuts.

Payment Amount Due

As soon as possible after initial processing, we will let you know the hanging weight and cost of your beef prior to pick-up so that you can know how much you need to pay. Any "premium processing" fees will be sent to customers by separate invoice after the beef processing is complete.

In the unlikely event availability is not possible on our end, we will notify you ASAP and will promptly return your deposit.

We accept cash, checks, bank drafts, Venmo and credit cards. Although we do accept payments by credit card, we will add a 3% fee to cover bank charges for large orders such as for beef shares.

All of our prices are subject to change without notice as a result of product availability and market price fluctuations. Once your order is placed, the "price per hanging pound" of your purchase will not increase.