Why Buy Free Range Beef?
There are 5 great reasons we believe to eat our beef:
- It tastes great
- It is better for you
- It is better for the world
- It is better for the animals
- It is better for our local community
We are passionate about all 5 and run our farm in the same manner. We hope that you will join our community of people who care by eating our beef and getting to know our family.
It Tastes Great
Many of our customers agree that our beef tastes wonderful and so much more flavor than from a grocery store. When beef is finished in a feedlot it is finished as quickly as possible on a ration, generally of corn and/or grains. This lends to bland, fatty meat. A conventional hamburger is a piece of ground beef waiting for condiments. A conventional steak is often a piece of meat crying out for steak sauce. By taking more time, finishing our animals completely on grass, and dry aging all of our cuts, we create beef with real flavor. Different cuts have their own different, distinctive flavors, and different cooking methods can really bring those flavors out. For example, our roasts when slow cooked with small amounts of seasonings are simply delicious.
Humans evolved eating grass fed animals, and this is the type of meat that is healthiest for our bodies. Some of the benefits of grass fed versus corn fed beef that have been identified include:
- It is leaner – about 1/3 the fat
- It is higher in conjugated linoleic acid – 3-5 times as much
- It is higher in omega-3 fatty acids – 2-6 times as much
- It is higher in vitamin E – 2-4 times as much
- It is higher in beta-carotene
This is just the list of nutrients that have been identified so far. When cattle are “finished” on corn or grain the meat changes dramatically. The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids goes from about 1:1 to greater than 10:1, and levels of other beneficial nutrients drop dramatically. This change occurs very quickly, being complete within 30 days on grain. This is why when purchasing grass fed beef you need to ask for 100% grass fed. For more information on the health benefits of grass fed meats, visit www.eatwild.com and www.onlygrassfed.com.
Finishing animals in a feedlot is a fossil fuel intensive, unsustainable model for agriculture. Animals are trucked all over the country, concentrated in very small places, which causes serious, localized pollution problems, and fed grains that were raised in large monocultures which are heavily subsidized by the US government and use large amounts of fossil fuels for tractors, fertilizer, insecticides, and pesticides. This is true of any animal finished in a feedlot, even if it is natural beef. Most organic beef is finished the same way, but fed organic corn or grain. The average food on an American plate is estimated to have traveled 1500 miles. We cannot continue indefinitely spending large amounts of energy to produce food.
Not only does eating local grass fed beef dramatically reduce the fossil fuel inputs, under proper management the cattle also improve the environment. In many of the arid and semi-arid parts of the world, the productive grasslands co-evolved with large herds of grazing herbivores. When those animals are removed from the land the result is a dramatic loss of biodiversity and desertification. In order to improve our land in the western United States, and much of the rest of the world, we actually need large numbers of cattle being grazed and managed correctly. For more information on this concept visitwww.holisticmanagement.org.
Our animals spend their entire lives in pasture out on the range. They are not confined to feedlots, crowded in with other animals, and restricted as to when they can eat. They are never fed routine antibiotics, though they are vaccinated and treated if they become ill. We attempt always to minimize the stress on the animals because that is in their best interest and in ours. For more information on factory farming visit www.sierraclub.org or www.FactoryFarm.org.
Over 80% of the beef industry in the United States is controlled by a handful of very large companies. A small percentage of the dollar you spend at the grocery store goes to the farmer or rancher who raised the animal. Almost all of the money goes to the feedlots, middle men, and large processors. This money leaves our community. When you buy food from a local producer, those dollars stay in the local community – in our case in San Benito County, which is just south of the Bay Area. Those dollars help rural communities stay viable, and enable us to keep open space and ranching close to urban areas where there is tremendous development pressure.