Things are busy around here, that’s for sure.
We bought a yearling steer, this will be meat at next years farmers market. I’m learning that cattle require a lot of long term planning.
We are finishing 3 cattle on grass. Basically we’re getting them fat before harvest. This turns in to a lot of work. Moving them twice a day, providing them with as much food as they can eat. Providing them with this much food when they’re younger turns in to bone and muscle. Now that they’re full grown the excess food turns in to fat. And not just any fat. Healthy fat. Totally different from the fat of grain fed cattle. Cattle were never meant to eat grains. In the wild they eat grass, weeds, and other similar forages. Grain fed cattle is a by-product of cheap fertilizer (due to weapons manufacturing in WWII), GMO corn, and feedlots. Of course it’s cheaper to house and feed cattle this way, but who asked the cattle? What do they prefer?
Here is a study done by CNN on grass vs grain fed beef. Here is another in the NY Times. Lastly, here is an excellent, somewhat technical and eye opening discussion about the benefits. I try to memorize all of this stuff, but it’s a lot.
One last (for now) benefit of grass fed beef is energy requirements. Grass grows via energy from the sun. For us we use no artificial fertilizer, no pesticides, no herbicides, just energy from the sun, intensive grazing, and rest periods. Think of the energy required to plow the field, plant the grain, spray the grain multiple times, harvest the grain, transport the grain off the farm, transport the grain on to a different farm, and feed the grain. All of that compared to the energy required to grow grass. But there is no money to be made from grass, at least not in the eyes of big business. But we’re here as a small business, harvesting the energy of the sun, and growing healthy food for us and for our customers.
Does that constitute as rambling? I kind of went off on a tangent there, but this is why we do what we do. This is a big deal, and it’s becoming bigger. People are starting to learn about how skewed our food system is to big corporations and profit. Our current food system is based on profit for big companies and share holders, not energy, or how healthy the food is or how fit for consumption it is.
Anyway, thanks for sticking with me. ‘Til next time…