Ask The Farmer: Part 1
A few questions came from a customer yesterday. I thought I would answer them and make a blog post as they are good questions.
What breed are your cattle?
We do not have a single breed of cattle on the farm. Our cows are a mixed herd. The bulls we have used over the past few years are Black Angus, Galloway and Black Welsh. The main thing we look for in genetics is the ability of the animal to finish on grass and not need any grain. We choose a little smaller body size and a quiet disposition. The conventional cattle industry looks for big cows and big calves so that on sale day there are more kilograms of beef to sell. We focus on animals that are able to convert grass to beef and give us the best grass finished meat we can grow.
What is the marbling like?
100% grass finished beef is leaner that the Triple AAA beef that sells in grocery stores. In the conventional beef industry, the calves and weaned and hit the feedlot where they eat a ration that is primarily grain based. The animals do not get any access to fresh green grass and are not allowed to graze. The animals receive a growth hormone implant so they can convert the calories they eat into fat with greater effeciently. This conventional way of doing things will give you more marbling in your steak.
By keeping our animals on grass and forages, our beef gets a better balance of the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. The taste changes slightly from grocery store beef. A customer once described our beef tasting like a full body lager beer compared to a lite beer. It still tastes like beef but there is more flavor in every bite.
So to make a long answer short, we aim for a AA beef with our grass finished beef. It will have less marbling than AAA beef but our grass finished program puts more into the fat it does have.
Is your meat dry aged?
When you purchase a split half, half or whole beef, the beef will be dry aged. We try to get a 21 day age on the carcass but depending on the processing plant schedule, it may be a few days less.
Is it butchered somewhere you trust so that I get the meat I purchased?
We have used the same butchershop for the last 15 years. They understand what we are doing with our grass finished organic beef and they know our customers expectations. It is a certifed organic facility so they have to ensure separation of the organic from the non organic meats. I am 100% confident that you will receive the beef you purchased.