Cows are designed to eat grass but are being fed costly grains often in a confinement setting. Joel Salatin created the term “salad bar beef” to describe a more natural system of raising beef cattle where they are fed grass 100% of the time.
Herbivores in nature display three characteristics: mobbing for predator protection, movement daily onto fresh forage away from yesterday's droppings, and a diet of forage only...yes you heard right- no grains! (Imagine the environmental impact this could have if more farmers adopted this system). It is our goal to copy this template as closely as possible.
Our cows eat forage only, a new pasture paddock every day (fresh salad bar), and stay herded closely with portable electric fencing. This model not only heals the land, it also thickens the forage, reduces weeds, stimulates earthworms, reduces pathogens and increases the nutritional qualities of the meat.
Farmers use grains to finish their cows so that the meat marbles more nicely. We do not agree with this at all. The main reason that grain is used during the life of the cow and/or at the end is simply to fatten them up more quickly. However, in doing this, it hurts the cow and reduces the number of nutrients available in the meat. We do not want to just produce large volumes of beef, we want to produce the most nutrient-dense food possible.
Health Benefits of Grassfed Beef
Grass-fed beef is low in saturated fats, higher in beta-carotene, antioxidants, CLA, vitamins A, D & E and Omega 3 fats. Grass-fed products contain significantly higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, calcium and even dietary fibre than grain-fed beef. For more info visit Why Grass Fed or Eat Wild.
Us grass farmers have discovered something brilliant about our livestock- they have legs, meaning they can roam and forage for food, instead of having it trucked to them in a feedlot. Their growth and well-being are not reliant on fossil fuels when they are allowed to graze. In properly managed pastures, their droppings continually restore the fertility of the land. This stimulates the diversification of plant species and habitat, and extends the seasonal productivity of pastures.
Studies have shown well managed pastures have become excellent "carbon sinks" that are able to pull excess climate-changing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and fix it into the soil. Joel Salatin recently wrote about this in an article titled "Healing Cows".
Grassfed beef needs to be cooked differently! We highly recommend the book "Free Range Farm Girl- Cooking Grassfed Beef".