What Makes our meat Gourmet Quality?
In the world of quality wines, terroir refers to the influence of place on the characteristics of the wine – the geography, soil, and climate where the grapes are grown all impart a complexity to the flavor and body of the wine.
Much like the vineyard, soil health and forage directly influence the flavor and characteristics of beef. Grain-fed beef is uniformly bland because it’s all raised on the same feed. On the other hand, grass-fed beef flavors vary from region to region and even from farm to farm – because of forage varieties, moisture, soil, and other factors. Therefore, pasture quality is a critical element of a quality product.
There have been numerous sensory panel taste evaluations conducted with grassfed steaks from different producers as compared to feedlot steaks. The results were - grassfed was both the best and worst tasting when compared to feedlot steaks. A possible explanation comes from Mark Schatzker, author of the book “Steak” who notes from his research that the best-tasting beef comes from English breeds on diverse forage pastures.
At Nature’s Gourmet Farm, our warm and cool season pastures include a diverse mixture of legumes, grasses, and brassicas that provide a highly palatable and nutritious diet for cattle while enhancing our soil health. Healthy soils support healthy forages, and diverse forage-based beef is more nutritious than commercial feedlot beef. Additionally, since 2009 we have anchored our herd in Red Angus - a proven English breed. And the good news is, as our soils continue to improve so will the taste and quality of our beef.
“Ben, I’m sure feedback on your product is welcome, especially when it’s positive... The flavor and texture are great! Keep up the good work.”
- Stephen Bryant