Whole-y Cow: Philly cowshare makes purchasing beef snout-to-tail a cinch

If the snout-to-tail movement sounds more like an ideal than a realistic approach to cooking, Jessica Moore, founder of Philly CowShare (PCS), wants to help. PCS sells 100 percent local, grass-fed, dry-aged beef to both retail and individual customers. The cows, guaranteed free of growth hormones and antibiotics, come from local farms in Lancaster, Chester, Delaware, and Mercer counties. But it’s not just the product that makes PCS unique, it’s how you buy it—in eighth, quarter, half, or whole shares. “Our business model revolves around the concept of moving whole animals,” explains Moore. The CowShares are designed to accommodate different sized families, and provide a variety of cuts for easy incorporation into meal planning.

Customers have two options when buying from PCS: buy a fraction of a cow as a single purchase, or organize a group to split a whole cow, conveniently packaged into individual shares. Groups receive a discount, dropping the cost per pound lower than what you might find at an average natural foods market.

PCS purchases cows from the farm as whole units, not just the most popular cuts. In doing so, they pay farmers based on the cost of production, not commodity pricing. “We’re paying the farmer more than what they would get at auction,” says Moore. “Our goal is to allow farmers to continue farming. That means we have to change the economic equation.”

Philly CowShare currently sells cows (naturally), but if beef isn’t your thing, stay tuned: Moore plans to start selling pigs in 2012.

Join in the snout-to-tail revolution at www.phillycowshare.com/order.