see also: Nutritional Information
Better for the Cattle
Most animals are "grassfed", or pastured, for the first months of their lives. Generally this is the time period before weaning, 4 to 5 months. Then they are separated from their mothers, moved to confinement facilities (CAFO's) and put on a corn and grain based diet. To prevent the diseases common in crowded conditions, they are treated with antibiotics. To encourage rapid growth, they are given hormonal implants. They are kept alive in crowded, stressful conditions,eating a high starch diet until they are 14 to16 months old.
Our beeves lead dramatically different lives. They have access to pasture from birth to harvest. They are weaned naturally by their moms when the next calf comes along. Because of a diet of pasture mix and high quality stored forage (hay), their immune systems are strong. Illness is a rarity. Their rate of growth is determined by their health and the quality of forage, not by growth
promoting additives. To paraphrase Joel Salatin, "They live a very good life, and then have one bad day".
Better for your Health
Raising animals on pasture is healthier for the consumer. Animals grazing on grass and legumes produce meat, milk, and eggs with more health promoting components. According to The British Journal of Nutrition (2011), by switching from conventional grainfed meat to grassfed meat, volunteers were able to raise their blood levels of Omega 3 fatty acids and lower levels of Omega 6's. These changes are associated with lower risk of inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. The beef also contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which can boost the immune system, and Vitamins E and B. Overall, grassfed meat has less saturated fat, fewer total calories , and (at least at Middlebrook) no harmful additives. Clean beef!
Better for the Environment
Raising cattle on well managed pasture land can lesson erosion and boost soil fertility. Manure is managed as valuable natural fertilizer and not a pollution problem.
Grassfed beef has defined texture, complex taste and rich aroma. Do keep in mind, not all grassfed beef tastes the same! Flavor and texture vary according to the breed, age and sex of the animal and the forage it has eaten. Cattle grass fed on the mountainsides of vast ranches in Arizona are certainly different than those grazing on small farms in Michigan. Chances are, beef from the same farm will vary in flavor, depending on when the animal is harvested. Nothing beats clean, naturally raised beef and finding the source that's right for you can be a great adventure!