All cows are raised on grass… for a little while. While grain-fed cattle often do graze pastures for part of their life, they spend most of their time confined in feedlots being fed a steady diet of grains and hormones. This process fattens the cows efficiently and quickly, but many critics have labeled it in inhumane. Raising cattle on native grass pastures is slower, but it allows the animal more freedom and a longer life. Some other advantages of grass-fed cows: they age more naturally, they carry less dangerous bacteria and they even produce less methane.
Read on to learn more about the advantages of grass-fed beef and how it compares to traditional grain-raised/grass-finished beef.
COST OF CONVENIENCE
Grain-fed beef dominates the supermarket aisle. While it creates a delicious product, the grain-fed cattle industry is a massive operation built around feedlots. Feedlots go through a lot of grain that is harvested from row-crop farms. The kind of agriculture practiced on these farms is extremely harsh on the soil and natural ecosystem. A cheaper, tasty product is enticing though– so why choose grass-fed?
Grass-fed cattle can be raised on a diet of native vegetation in a manner that actually helps nature maintain its own equilibrium. Grasslands– even when grazed– help eliminate greenhouse gases, prevent floods and provide habitat for other animals. Native grass pastures also eliminate much of the need for pesticides and fuel-thirsty equipment. D’Arcy’s grass-fed beef is local, so we’re even burning less gas to bring to your plate!
Many swear by the richer, beefier flavour in grass-fed beef, but all of its factors must be carefully considered. Maturing slower causes grass-fed cattle to become leaner and less evenly marbled. Fat and marbling are what has made grain-fed beef the powerhouse it is today; both are vital to taste and tenderness. Does this mean grass-fed beef is chewy and dry? Not at all! Grass-fed beef must be cooked a little more carefully, but it offers many additional advantages.
*Note: Compared to grain-fed/grass-finished beef, natural grass feeding provides beef that is lower in less overall fat, yet is higher in good fats and healthy acids. Grass-fed beef also contains significantly more antioxidants and nutrients thanks to high levels of beta-carotene.
THE FINE PRINT
Beware of labels that use the word “grass” to confuse consumers. “Grass-finished” is by no means the same process as grass-fed. The term grass-finished usually refers to the small percentage of grass in the lifetime diet of grain-fed cattle. This is typically a marketing ploy to lure customers away from more natural, genuinely grass-fed alternatives.
Come to D’Arcy’s and try out grass-fed beef for you and your family. Not only will you experience a new flavour, but you will also support local producers using humane and environmentally friendly practices on their cattle farms. Our experts can answer any question you might have about grass-fed beef or any of our other specialty products, so don’t hesitate to call, email or visit!