Where’s the Grass-fed Beef?
Clients often ask me where they can find grass-fed beef. First off, why should we be interested in what cows are fed? The meat from cows that are grass-fed is higher in omega-3 fatty acids. As many of you know, omega-3 fatty acids are often lacking in our diets unless we eat a lot of wild fatty fish. Omega-3’s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which in turn decreases inflammation in our body. Chronic systemic inflammation has been linked to many diseases like cardiovascular disease as well as aging.
The key before buying beef is to find out what the cow was fed, including at the end of its life. Watch out for beef that was grain finished. This means that the cow may have eaten grass but was fed grain at the end of its life to fatten it up before being shipped off to the feed-lot. Keep in mind that the definition of “grass-fed” is not regulated in Canada (sigh).
Some butchers may tell you that marbled beef is a superior product and requires that the cows be fed grain at some point. Yes, grass-fed beef will taste different but many people prefer the taste once they try it.
I recently purchased a grass-finished beef roast at the Kingsland Farmer’s Market from Hoven Farms. Hoven Farms is located near Eckville, Alberta. The clerk took the time to explain the different products and the seasonality. I had just bought one of the last grass-finished roasts and the next batch wouldn’t be ready until the fall. Hoven Farms does organic beef but it isn’t necessarily grass-finished so you need to read the label carefully or better yet, ask.
I typically purchase my beef from Community Natural Foods which often have products from Hoven Farms and Bite Beef from Balzac Alberta. I do enjoy going to a farmer’s market because then I can ask the butcher or clerk detailed questions and find out exactly what I’m getting. I don’t mind spending a little more for a higher quality product if I know how that animal was raised.
In case you are curious about how I cooked my roast, I have included a link to the slow cooker recipe that I used. The recipe called for steak but I just used a roast instead.
I like to keep my articles brief so I purposely didn’t discuss the difference between “organic beef production” versus “conventional beef production.” There is a big difference and I think it is important for us to know where our meat came from and how it was handled. If you would like to know more, please read the following article published on the TK Ranch website. I think they did a great job of explaining the two different industries. Yes, it will be biased 😉