As anyone who makes, raises, or grows anything to sell can tell you, pricing your own work is hard! It is a basic economic fact that what your sell has to cover your costs as well as net you a profit—otherwise you’ll go out of business. But you also want to make sure your customers can afford what you sell. What goes into how we price our meat here at Rossotti Ranch, and why does pasture raised veal cost more than supermarket beef?
Our veal calves are raised as nature intended: out on the pasture alongside their mothers, free to eat grass, soak up the sun, and relax in the cool, coastal fog. Because cattle need quite a bit of grass to eat every day, they can’t be too crowded. Our acre-to-cattle ratio is kept high to ensure sustainability for both the land and our operations, and to make sure our cows are happy! Because it takes more land to raise cattle humanely and sustainably, this must be factored into the cost of our meat.
Humane meat costs more—when you give a cow ample room to graze and live, you reduce the number of cows you can have on any given piece of land. But the cows are happier—and we think that is a difference you can actually taste.
Another factor in how we price our cattle is the cost of supplemental hay in the winter. When the pastures are bare, we need to supplement our veal calves core feed (their own mothers’ milk) with organic and/or sustainably farmed hay. This hay is a natural part of a pasture-raised cow’s diet, and we find that the increased cost of organic or sustainably farmed hay is worth it for cattle health as well as our own.
If we wanted to cut corners, we’d pack the calves on the pasture, or even forgo pasturing altogether to focus on the quantity of cows we can harvest instead of the quality. We’d give routine antibiotics to prevent an illness that might spring up from overcrowding, though this would make the quality and healthfulness of the meat decline.
At the farmer’s market, we sell our meat ourselves. We love to be able to meet our customers so that we can answer their questions and see what they think of our products! It’s vital to a small business like ours. We make just enough profit to be able to continue the work we do—but we also want to be able to make our veal as affordable as possible. We’ve found that our products are fairly priced, and highly competitive when it comes to pasture-raised meats. We’d love for you to give us a try—either visit us in San Rafael on a Sunday morning, or visit our online shop to have some veal shipped directly to you!