We raise our animals on pasture. We don’t have enough land for cattle, so our beef comes from our neighbour’s pastured herd. Most of the meat you buy in the supermarket is raised intensively. A high-calorie ration of grains and supplements causes it to put on weight quickly. Animals raised in this fashion don’t get to enjoy much… no opportunity to romp, bask in the sun, and enjoy being alive. They are also prone to disease due to overcrowding and stress. They often require antibiotics to stay healthy enough to make it to slaughter. Pastured meat brings ethical treatment and added flavour to the table.
What’s the Difference?
Pastured animals are an entirely different beast. Not only do they enjoy the opportunity to behave and eat as nature intended… they taste different, too. The difference is visible. The fat on grass-fed beef is actually yellow as a result of the chlorophyll in the grass. The fat on most supermarket meat is pure white. Our pigs have a fenced acre of grass, forest, shrubs and bushes. They also get veggies from the garden, and apples from the orchard. “Pork is the other white meat” ? Not pastured pork – it’s darker in colour and much more robust in flavour.
The meat (and even the fat) of grass-fed animals has been proven to have health benefits not found in grain-raised meat. A study published in 2010 by the College of Agriculture at California State University states, “Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef…”.
Grass-fed meat takes longer to reach market weight and may be pricier than the feedlot alternative, but if you care about animal welfare, flavour, and nutrition you’ll agree that it’s well worth spending a few extra bucks. You WILL notice the difference.