The worst beef I have ever eaten was 100% grass fed and finished. And the best beef I have ever put a knife into was also 100% grass-fed and finished. My wife and I call that ribeye the “crying steak” because it brought tears to my eyes as we ate the succulent, marbled slab.
Grass finishing is a lot like winemaking. You can drink two buck chuck from Trader Joes (yuck) or a great bottle of wine from an excellent vineyard and terroir. Like the incredible variability of wines, each grass farm- with different soils, breed types, forage types, animal handling techniques- all add up to a highly variable eating experience. Beef terroir!
We keep striving to get better, for our soils, grasses and cattle to be better- and for our beef to be the best grass fed and grass finished eating experience our land will create. In eight years you can make a lot of mistakes pasture finishing cattle. But every year we learn and get better.
Research on grass fed beef led us back- way back in time. One of my pastimes is researching and collecting antique farming books from the UK and Scotland. It’s fascinating to read about how Graziers in Scotland were raising Galloway cattle for the finest establishments in London –over 150 years ago.
The biggest revelation for us, in this research, is great grass beef requires a ton of patience- giving the animal time to grow his frame out and then finish off on a diverse sward of good forages. It was preferred back then for a Galloway steer (or bullock, as they call them) to be between 3 and 4 years old when finished. To this day, the oldest five-star restaurant in London still maintains a private herd of Galloway cattle, and finishes them out at 42 months old! Wow.
So we tried our own version of the old Scottish ways and finished two steers this past fall at the ripe old ages of 32 and 33 months of age. 6 to 12 months older than most other protocols. The results were astounding. The hanging carcass had a ton more marbling and a full, robust, mouthwatering beef flavor.
And eat without guilt! Marbled fat on a grass finished beef is a healthy fat- full of antioxidants like CLA, and with healthy Omega 6 to Omege 3 ratios- of under 2 to 1. Grain finished beef has an unhealthy 15/1 Omega 6 to 3 ratio.
So our new protocol is to have patience with our cattle. We shall sell no beef before its time! We now only finish them after their heritage breed genetics have been fully expressed. We use lush cool season grasses and clovers for the final months of finishing, promoting great nutrition and mineral uptake from our mountain soils.
We say eat Slow Beef, eat BETTER beef.
Eat our Slow Beef for a healthy, unforgettable meal.