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Tag Archives: Beef

Gaga Over Grass Fed (Beef)

Gaga Over Grass-fed

by Jennifer
Iserloh
on 08/11/12 at 12:00 PM
Healthy-eating
Is grass-fed meat the new “must have” for the foodie in the know? I think it is.
First off, grass-fed meat just tastes better, it has more umami or savory taste that every beef lover
hankers for.
Also I love it, because it’s a leaner cut that still tastes rich.
I grew up eating red meat, just like most Pittsburghers of Hungarian
descent–and it’s still soul food for me. And yes, it’s still part of my healthy
diet.
In fact, I enjoy it three times a month, in 4- to 5-ounce portions. But does
going grass-fed take it to a new level in terms of health? So I started thinking
about the science behind the beef.
The Happiness Diet by Dr. Drew Ramsey, is a wonderful read that maps out the
biochemical effect of food compounds on brain health. He says “you get a special
fat that grass-fed cows make called CLA which appears to both fight belly fat
and cancer.”
And grass-fed meat contains more vital omega-3 fatty acids vs corn-fed beef
(that is higher in omega-6).
If grass-fed makes it into your grocery cart, you can certainly expect to pay
more. Per pound, grass-fed New York Strip can be anywhere from $8 to $10 more a
pound, so I treat my steak nights as a splurge. I buy one steak and split it
after cooking to get the perfect size portion for two people.
Looking for the grass-fed goods in your neighborhood? Visit American Grass
Fed Association
and try my delicious favorite steak recipe with grass-fed meat.
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Beef: Grass Fed vs. Grain Fed

By Sarah
Baker Hansen

WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER

This is an installment of Locally Grown, an occasional series on food
trends.

 

Cost is the reason chef uses corn-fed beef

Clayton Chapman doesn’t serve grass-fed beef at the Grey Plume, his
restaurant in midtown that’s known around the country as the greenest restaurant
in America.

It’s not because he doesn’t believe in pasture-raised beef, but because
making it affordable on a menu is a challenge.

Chapman gets wagyu beef from Majinola Meat in Panama, Iowa.

“The cows spend a big portion of their life on grass, but they are finished
on grain and corn,” Chapman said.

Shortly before they are butchered, the cows at Majinola eat expelled grains
from the Omaha-based Lucky Bucket Brewery.

Chapman said serving grass-fed beef at his restaurant poses a conundrum: He
has to keep menu prices competitive, but the more that people buy grass-fed
beef, the more affordable it becomes.

The Grey Plume has served grass-fed bison.

“It’s really a whole different animal to work with,” he said. “It cooks
differently, it’s not as marbled and the fat is a different color than we’re all
used to seeing, especially in the Midwest.”

But all that aside, he said he thinks the market for locally produced food,
including grass-fed meat, is growing. Just growing more slowly.

Adding grass-fed beef to the menu, he said, would help educate diners.

“I think at some point, grass-fed beef will be on the menu,” Chapman said. “I
think it’s something that guests will be willing to try in moderation.”

– Sarah Baker Hansen

My grass-fed cow didn’t have a name.

It wasn’t my pet. I never touched it, never fed it, never got within ten
steps of it. I knew what the cow looked like, but I didn’t know it.

When I asked my father-in-law to raise it for me more than three years ago, I
knew that sometime down the road, a part of that cow would be on my plate.

What I wanted to learn from him was this: How is raising a corn-fed cow in a
feedlot different from raising a grass-fed cow in a pasture? And moreover, what
does grass-fed beef taste like, absent the antibiotics, hormones and grain in
most beef we consume?

When I first went to Red Cloud six years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about
cattle or crops. I grew up in west Omaha and didn’t set foot on a farm
until I was close to 30 years old.

Now, whenever we visit my husband’s hometown, I go with his dad, Dennis
Hansen, while he does chores. I ride with him in the feed truck as he
feeds cattle in the feedlot. I ride on the planter while it drops seed for corn.
I have learned what wet distillers are: a corn-based, jiggly mass that’s a by
product of the ethanol industry and used in cattle feed. I have learned what it
means for a cow to be a “good heifer;” she has all the particular traits
that make her a good choice to give birth.

All the while, I’ve peppered Dennis with lots of stupid questions that
he has taken seriously and answered patiently.

But I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to experiment.

I ran the grass-fed cow scheme past my husband first. I’m pretty sure he
rolled his eyes.

Undeterred, I brought it up to Dennis over dinner at the farm one evening. He
knew by this point that I was genuinely interested in the farm, particularly the
beef.

I think he took everyone by surprise when he agreed to raise a cow for his
daughter-in-law.

Cow T046 gave birth to Grass Fed, as he came to be known, on April 13, 2010.
The calf weighed 87 pounds.

One of the first things Dennis told me about Grass Fed was that it would
take a lot longer for him to be big enough to butcher than it would
for the feedlot cows. The first time I saw Grass Fed, at about five months
old, he wasn’t very big. He’d just been weaned, in early September 2010, and he
weighed 371 pounds.

At this point, Grass Fed was about the same size as the other cows born at
the same time. But the rest of his life would be different.

Grass Fed would eat grass and water supplemented with protein pellets made of
alfalfa and soybean meal. Unlike the feedlot cows, he wouldn’t get antibiotics
or growth hormones.

The feedlot cows eat corn, wet distillers grains, hay and those
protein pellets.

I couldn’t imagine Grass Fed getting as big as those cows, and it turns out
he never quite did, even though he lived much longer.

Dennis put Grass Fed on a pasture between the barn and the feedlot where the
cow could munch on grass and hang out. For part of the summer, the cow lived in
an alfalfa field.

In the winter, Dennis hand-fed the cow every day. He took a load of hay to
the pasture next to the feedlot and filled a barrel of water and a pan of
protein pellets. Dennis said the human contact made Grass Fed much tamer than
the farm’s other cows.

I asked Dennis why he agreed to raise a grass-fed cow, and he said he’d
wanted to do it for a long time.

Once, during a trip to San Francisco, a man told him about the best steak
he’d ever eaten: an Australian grass-fed cut.

“That kind of intrigued me,” Dennis said. “I wanted to see how good you can
make it.”

Dennis took some heat from his bovine nutritionist about Grass Fed.

“He would kid me about how I could make that cow a lot better if I gave it
fifteen pounds of corn,” he said, chuckling.

I also took some heat from my friends. They were convinced I’d fall madly in
love with Grass Fed. I stood my ground, though: This was food, not my
cat.

I’d read two things about grass-fed beef that I wanted to know more about:
that it was healthier and that it was more expensive.

Bruce Boettcher raises around 300 certified USDA organic grass-fed cows on
about 6,000 acres of land in the Sandhills outside Bassett.

Boettcher has a website where he sells grass-fed beef — boettcherorganics.com
— and he works with local suppliers who buy his beef and sell it to Whole Foods
and local farmers markets.

I asked him about the higher price of grass-fed beef: Boettcher sells his
beef as a quarter, half or a whole cow, at $7.50 a pound.

Simply put, he said, grass-fed beef takes longer to produce. And because his
farm is organic, he uses homeopathic remedies instead of antibiotics for animals
that get sick.

“It takes a year longer to finish a critter this way than it does
conventionally,” he said.

I also called Carol Kolo, a clinical dietician at Bergan Mercy Medical
Center in Omaha, to ask my health-related questions.

She said grass-fed beef is lower in calories and has a lower fat content than
corn-fed beef. It also has a higher ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids — good fat,
Kolo said. Studies have also shown that grass-fed beef has slightly
higher levels of Vitamins A and E, though Kolo said most people get those
vitamins from other things in their diet, like vegetables.

A California State University study backs up what Kolo said. That study,
printed in the September 2010 issue of Nutrition Journal, said grass-fed beef
also has lower levels of cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidants. Animals
raised on grass had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, known as
CLA, which may have cancer-fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes.

But the study also said it’s not yet clear whether the nutritional
differences in the two types of beef have any real impact on your health.
The Omega 3 levels in fatty fish, like salmon, are still much higher than those
in grass-fed beef. And people who eat grain-fed beef can get higher levels of
CLA by eating fattier cuts.

The flavor, Kolo said, is different, too. Dennis and I already knew
that.

Some said Grass Fed would taste gamy, dry and tough. Others said it
would be tender if cooked to the correct temperature, and taste grassy
and rich.

Kolo told me it was OK to cook grass-fed steak to rare or medium rare to make
sure it didn’t dry out. She also suggested using a dry spice rub. She said
grass-fed ground beef should be cooked until it was well-done.

Boettcher said slow-cooked grass-fed roasts are his favorite way to eat the
beef, though he also likes a grass-fed burger.

“It has a wild, stronger taste,” he said. “And once you acquire the taste,
you can hardly eat conventional meat. At least that’s how I am.”

When our cow finally did go to the butcher, on Feb. 16, 2012, he weighed
1,265 pounds.

To contrast Grass Fed’s final weight with that of a corn-fed cow, Dennis
compared him to a corn-fed calf the same mother cow had the year before.
The two cows had similar weights at the five-month weaning time. But
after that, Grass Fed gained an average of 1.75 pounds per day, while the
grain-fed cow gained 2.73 pounds per day.

The grain-fed cow went to the butcher after living for 442 days and had a
final weight of 1,293 pounds. Grass Fed, by contrast, lived for 674 days and
still weighed 28 pounds less than the grain-fed cow.

My mother-in-law called before Grass Fed got to the butcher to make sure we
got the tenderest cuts: sirloin, T-bone, rib steaks, roasts, short ribs and lots
of ground beef. The meat hung for three weeks, about a week longer than normal
to give it better flavor.

A few weeks later, we had the beef in our freezer. Each package is marked
with a “GF” so we can keep the grass-fed beef separated from the corn-fed that’s
also there.

My husband and I grilled grass-fed hamburgers first. Boettcher was right: The
meat tasted different, richer and beefier. It had a different texture, too, and
that texture really came into play when we grilled some rib steaks a few days
later. The meat wasn’t tough or chewy, it was just meatier, in a way, and when
cooked to the correct temperature, incredibly tender and flavorful.

My father-in-law texted me a photo of his dinner plate one night, a
demolished grass-fed steak front and center. He liked the meat, too, though he
said he couldn’t tell that much difference from the corn-fed steaks he raises.
He did say this grass fed beef is better than other grass-fed beef he’s eaten.

After all was said and done, and we’d both tried the meat, I asked Dennis a
question: Did he think Grass Fed had a better life than the other cows on the
farm?

“In my opinion, I think he did have a little bit better life,” Dennis said.
“He didn’t have to fight the mud in the feedlot and the weather extremes quite
as bad. I think at times he was probably lonely, though.”

I tend to agree. He’ll continue to raise corn-fed cows, though he may raise
another grass-fed.

What I can say for sure is that the meat from Grass Fed tasted much different
than the corn-fed beef. And what I can also say for sure is that I like knowing
where my beef comes from. I like the fact that I saw the cow I’m now eating when
it was alive, hanging out in a pasture in south central Nebraska. I know what it
ate. I know who fed it. I know it was cared for well.

The knowledge might ultimately be what made that grass-fed beef taste so
different. And I’m OK with that.

 

LINKED FROM: http://www.omaha.com/article/20120608/LIVEWELL02/706089995/1161

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Grass Fed Beef Is Better

8 Comments 6 June 1:52

Research reveals that grass-fed beef is better for people and the environment

Feeding cattle on grass throughout their lifecycle is the most environmentally sustainable way to rear beef, according to new research for the National Trust.

One of the biggest global challenges is how to increase food security whilst reducing the environmental impacts of food production. livestock – such as cattle  and sheep – produce high levels of methane as part of the process of digesting grass. This has led to suggestions that intensive production methods – where  cattle are fed largely on cereals, producing less methane – should be preferred over more traditional grass fed livestock farming.

However, in a report issued today, research at 10 Trust farms shows that while the carbon footprint of grass-fed and conventional farms were comparable, the carbon sequestration contribution of  well-managed grass pasture on the less intensive systems reduced net emissions by up to 94 per cent, even resulting in a carbon ‘net gain’ in upland areas. The farms that had recently converted to  organic status showed even greater gains. Rob Macklin, National Agriculture and Food Adviser at the National Trust, said: “The results are contrary to recent thinking that livestock farming methods must intensify further in order to lessen carbon emissions to feed an ever-increasing world population.” “Maximising carbon efficiency alone is  too simplistic. Many less intensive livestock systems would be classed ‘inefficient’ on the carbon emission scale, yet are much less reliant on artificial inputs and tend to have less impacts on  water quality, loss of soil organic matter and reduced biodiversity. “We believe that optimised beef production – deliberately accommodating less than maximum output in order to secure stronger and  broader ecosystem protection – is the best sustainable use for the grasslands in our care.

Patrick Begg, Rural Enterprises Director at the National Trust, said: “This research is incredibly timely. Policy makers across Europe and in the UK are having to tackle the issue of  carbon-efficient food production right now. The debate is all about bringing broader public benefits to the fore alongside food production and this research demonstrates how extensive, grass-fed  beef should be at the heart of discussions.

“We need to find new market mechanisms which reward optimised rather than maximised beef production and as bodies like the Government’s Ecosystem Markets Task Force gather their thoughts we think  this research demonstrates an area which is due some real focus. Current Common Agricultural Policy reform discussions can also benefit from understanding what this research is telling us and, as  the reform drives towards even stronger ‘greening’ of the payments farmers receive, we think management that delivers quality, grass-fed beef should be encouraged even more through agri-environment measures.

“We’ll be taking the findings forward with our tenants, policy makers and the industry to explore how we can develop a market advantage which supports a stronger grass-fed beef sector”.

Look out for Smallholder June issue on sale now for livestock help and advice – to subscribe just call 01778 392011 or follow the link above on-line

 

http://www.smallholder.co.uk/news/9708291.research_reveals_that_grass_fed_beef_is_better_for_people_and_the_environment/

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3 Comments 19 April 18:58

How high is the water mama?

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