Cow Pool- Aftermath

That could be the title of a very interesting movie.

The cow pool was a week ago, and it’s taken me this long to gather my thoughts. This wasn’t the smoothest one we’ve ever done, but all in all it wasn’t awful either.

I can’t say enough good about Crawford Custom Meats in Lake Butler, FL. When I arrived, the butcher immediately met me out front by name. Jesse Green from the farm where we bought the cow was there also to see how I portioned out the meat and get his check. The meat was vacuum-sealed in clear plastic, much better than the saran wrap and butcher paper from our last butcher. He provided a large scale to weigh out each crate, and my older son and I sorted the cuts into 16 milk crates. This work went very quickly.

The pick up was at my house from 6pm-8pm. This had been posted to the listserve for a week before the pick up day with my address and phone number.  I stacked the crates up in my front yard, brought out a chair and a blanket and waited outside for everyone to come and pick up their shares. At 7:30 I started getting very nervous because I still had 5 shares left and the meat was starting to thaw.

Not everyone had added their phone numbers to the phone directory for the pool. I started making phone calls. I posted urgent emails to the list. Then I started calling friends and family to see if anyone else wanted shares. Two of the shareholders got there very late (one at 8:15 and one at 9:30) and thankfully I was able to sell one share to a friend and the final share to my parents. Two shareholders never called. I went to bed angry and tired.

That evening we also realized in my hurried math at the butcher’s I had miscalculated somewhere, probably by using the goal weight for each share instead of the actual weight, which was 1-2 pounds more. At the time I didn’t think it was any big deal, but 1-2 pounds by 16 shares meant we ended up short on the per-pound calculated price and since we fronted the money to the butcher and farmer and didn’t realize the math error until it was too late, Jim and I ended up short about $40. That shortage plus the gas money to drive back and forth to the butcher’s (an hour each way) was more of a loss than we really wanted to take on this.

Lessons learned for next time:

  • No share will be considered “held” without direct confirmation of pickup time and a phone number.
  • A second person will check my math before I tell the shareholders the per-share final price.
  • Adding $1 per share to recoup gas costs… I’m going to ask on the list about this and see how everyone feels.

I am thrilled with the butcher and I like Mr. Green a great deal. I think we can do this 4x a year with him as our only beef producer.

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