Andrew van Bunnik
Buying beef direct from the farm is more common than many people think. With the high quality and good value beef available plus interest in buying local, even more people are considering buying direct from the farm.
A recent survey around buying beef direct from the farm has four main findings:
- 78% of prospective buyers said they would consider buying direct
- Quality of the beef and saving money were the most important factors
- Food Safety Certification was the biggest consideration for those who were considering buying
- The biggest obstacle to buying bulk was lack of freezer space.
Eighty four people responded to an online survey which took place in the last week of Feb and the first week of March.
For those surveyed there were multiple reasons for buying beef direct from the farm, but the two most significant were quality of the beef and saving money, tied at 73%.
Pleasingly the overall results of the survey confirm there is a healthy interest by New Zealanders wanting to know about the food they buy. Knowing the source of what they eat was cited as fourth most important, just after freshness of buying direct from the farm.
Perhaps the interest level is not surprising when many of us buy fruit and vegetables from roadside stalls, at weekend markets and the like. Also there’s been some bad publicity about supermarkets having dodgy practices with packaging dates, plus interest in cow pooling. An item about cow pooling on TVNZ’s Sunday programme in August 2012 lead to thousands of emails being sent to the farm that was featured.
Other than growing your own food there are very few options where you can obtain a single source of a large supply of food. Buying your meat direct from the farm means you can enjoy a consistent food source for many months and possibly years (assuming the farm raise the one bred).
Quality was naturally important to those surveyed. The horse meat scandals in Europe may have influenced why knowing if the beef was Food Safety Certified was by far the most important consideration for those not familiar with straying from the supermarket or butcher.
However, determining quality is not that difficult as word of mouth and industry competitions can be very informative. As can knowing how long the farm has been supplying direct, how they prepare and age their meat, and if they supply to reputable restaurants. Food Safety Certification of course should be checked.
Most farms offer options to buy small quantities, but the best value is usually in buying bulk. If you’re interested in experiencing farm direct beef get your freezer ready and make the purchase alone or with others. Then you can enjoy consistent quality with peace of mind knowing the pasture to the plate story for your delicious piece of beef.