Newsletter 2016 0814
Upcoming Order Deadlines
Order by Sunday, August 21st, 2016
Pickup Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Hattiesburg & Hattiesburg Hwy 98 West
Order by Monday, August 22nd, 2016
Pickup Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
Biloxi & Gulfport
Order by Monday August 22nd, 2016
Pickup Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Remember, you can place an order and or update an existing order until midnight of the order date. Visit our online store at www.naturesgourmetfarm.com
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST BEEF
Since 2011 I have been associated with The Grassfed Exchange – a volunteer, non-profit organization of regenerative ranchers and grass-fed industry supporters – exchanging knowledge, ideas, strategies, livestock genetics, products and services that expand the grass-fed industry’s transformative impact. Conference topics range from soil health, forages, grazing management, livestock, marketing, human health concerns, etc.
A key objective is to point producers in the right direction so they know what premium grass-fed beef is supposed to be.
As more producers come into the business of direct marketing “grass-fed beef,” it will become more important for consumers to be informed about what to look for in their beef – because when consumers buy an inferior product and are NOT satisfied, then all (including reputable) grass-fed beef producers suffer.
At this year’s GFE Conference I was honored to be part of the Producer’s Panel along with four other farmers. We each gave a brief overview of our farm and then answered questions from the audience. It was a rewarding experience!
So, what do the experts say? How do you choose the best beef?
Breed: Select beef cattle – not dairy. English breeds like Angus and Hereford are best with little to no Brahma influence. A medium frame or bone structure is better than a larger frame structure because they will mature earlier and be more efficient on grass.
Harvest: A medium frame steer matures at approximately 850 pounds. Then, in addition to continuing to grow muscle, they will start adding marbling and fat. Note that fat in grass-fed beef is very healthy as this is where nutrients are stored to be used in leaner times. The last place you see fat collect is around the tailbone. This is one of the best indications the animal is ready for harvest.
For most medium framed animals on excellent forage, it will take 15 months or more to reach the proper harvest weight of 1,000 pounds.
However, it is NOT just about the age or weight as much as it is about the fat. The biggest mistake most grass-fed beef farmers make is not letting their cattle get fat enough. And, that requires good forage and time.
Forage: According to Mark Schatzker in his book “Steak,” the best tasting steak came from beef fed a diverse forage diet. This is totally opposite from the monoculture pastures that most cattle graze. As you may guess, each plant type offers different nutrient and flavor qualities that the cow consumes as they graze. That is why our pastures include grasses, legumes, and broadleaf forage species. Also, forage diversity helps build soil health. A win-win-win!
Additionally, I might add, some producers market their beef as pastured with grain, grass-fed plus grain, or something similar. While the grain can improve the marbling and amount of fat in the steer, grain also adds the risk of GMO and glyphosate chemical. In my opinion, this would make this beef only marginally better than feedlot beef that would include GMO and glyphosate. Note that chemicals are stored in the fat of grain fed steers.
Next week I will share data on health risk from GMO’s and glyphosate. After reading, you will understand why we do not use any GMO grains on our farm!
Visit our online store today at www.naturesgourmetfarm.com to place your orders.