The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-Fed Beef has been gaining quite a bit of attention from nutritionists, chefs, and home cooks in recent years — and with good reason. Grass-fed beef comes from cattle that consume real food rather than finished off in feedlots with a mixture of grains that contain a wide variety of questionable additives. Feedlot animals are frequently fed obesity-inducing growth hormones, for instance, along with antibiotics.
One of our young, organic Jersey steer relaxes on pasture in the late afternoon sunshine.
A feedlot is an animal feeding operation designed for maximum efficiency and productivity and is used by the vast majority of the nation’s cattle farmers. However, there are many smaller, family-owned and operated farms that are showing consumers the many various benefits of eating grass-fed beef.
The Grass-Fed Advantage
Grass-fed beef comes from animals that are eating what nature intended them to eat — the perennial grasses that grow wild in meadows and in pastures that have been allowed to naturalize. There is no push at the end to fatten the animal up using unnatural means simply to achieve a greater market weight. Grass-fed cattle also aren’t as prone to developing infections and other adverse health conditions as their feedlot-finished counterparts.
What the Experts Say
In a question and answer session with readers ofthe New York Times magazine, writer and professor Michael Pollan was asked if there was any food that he would not eat. His response?
“Feedlot meat. And tomatoes that have been in the refrigerator.”
When asked why he isn’t a vegetarian, Michael Pollan responded:
“Meat eating may have become an act riddled with moral and ethical ambiguities, but eating a steak at the end of a short, primordial food chain comprising nothing more than ruminants and grass and sunlight is something I’m happy to do and defend.”
Third generation Joel Salatin of the renowned alternative farm Polyface Inc., says this about the beef animals that are raised on his farm:
“Our animals don’t do drugs. Instead, we move them almost daily in a tightly choreographed ballet from pasture spot to pasture spot.”
Grass-fed beef is also leaner than feedlot-finished beef, has more heart-healthy omega-3 fats, contains roughly twice the amount of beta-carotene, and has a significantly lower cholesterol count. It’s been a staple of farm-to-fork restaurants for several years and is now finding its way into mainstream supermarkets, which means that consumers are stating their preference for it with their wallets.
What the Chef’s are Saying
“Grass-fed cattle are leaner. But it’s not true that they are less flavorful.” Iconic West Coast chef Alice Waters, mother of the farm-to-fork movement. “I grew up eating beef stew mama prepared in her slow cooker. The beef was harvested from Angus cattle my grandfather raised. His cattle were all-natural grass-fed beef, the kind of beef increasingly popular with chefs and “slow-food” minded people that prefer cattle that have not been corn-finished. Slow food is the opposite of fast food, and these disciples are concerned about the disappearance of local food traditions, people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” Paula Dean, Southern cookbook author and cooking show host.
It’s an ‘all-you-eat fresh, organic salad bar’ for these two Jersey steer on our farm.
Family farms are also better for the communities in which they’re located. At our small family farm in Northeastern Ohio, we breed Jersey family milk cows along with grass-fed beef from Jersey steers that are raised on pasture grass and organic hay. Our no-chemical whatsoever policy even extends to the wood that we use for our fence posts and all of the materials used to build our new barn.
We’re proud to be part of a significant trend in agriculture that’s putting real food back into communities.
June 26, 2014 Grass-Fed Beef