Let's Go Shopping
Good morning from the farm.
More and more folks are shopping directly from local farms (or at least investigating the options). In January we had 59 new customers join our farm and 24 customers made their FIRST purchase. Both are new record highs!
However, as we speak with customers, many are confused (and alarmed) about what some farms consider grassfed beef.
Today, I hope to provide you with questions to sort out the details and help with key decision points that will help you become a savvy shopper of farm fresh beef, pork, chicken, and eggs.
First, what is grassfed beef?
All beef cattle actually eat grass - even conventionally raised beef - until
they are about 7 months old.
At that point, conventional beef are then transferred to a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) and fed a ration of 70% GMO corn plus hay and antibiotics where they spend the next 8 or so months of their life before harvesting.
You can see from the picture of a CAFO that the animal has very little room, is standing in his yuck and the air is very poor quality.
This is a BIG difference from the environment in which our cattle spend their entire lives on our farm pictured here...
True grassfed & grass-finished beef (like ours) ONLY eat grass and never any grain!
Our cows are raised on open pasture with free access to grass, space, and clean water.
To properly finish beef on grass requires 24 months (or longer) of good nutrition vs. the 15-16 months in a CAFO model eating corn.
We aim for longer and healthier...not FATTER FASTER like conventional beef.
Would you believe there's actually another model called the hybrid model?
The hybrid model is where the farmer will basically set up a CAFO on their farm and feed their calves grain.
Unfortunately for customers, most of these farms will show nice pictures of cattle on green pastures and some do state their beef is grain-finished.
This hybrid model is what most farms in Mississippi operate by.
So, while you are out shopping, the first question to ask the farmer is “How is your beef finished, grain or grass?"
As a follow-up, be sure to ask "Do you ever feed your beef any grain?"
In Summary: GRASS-FED BEEF IS NOT THE SAME AS “GRASS-FINISHED BEEF”
There are a few more pointers below, I sure hope this has been helpful so far.