What is Grass Fed Beef? Why Should You Care?
Cattle are ruminants. A ruminant animal has the natural ability to convert grass into high-quality protein. This is because they are blessed with a rumen. They were not intended to be kept in feedlots and feed grain such as corn, to fatten them up quickly and create a saturated fat marbling throughout their meat. After reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, I not only realized the American beef farmer was mistreating beef cattle in the interest of getting them fattened up and to market as quickly as possible, but we as consumers are slowly poisoning ourselves as we eat.
Let's take a look at today's beef. First of all, once weaned, calves are put in a lot and fed a diet of grain products and some hay. This grain has some interesting ingredients: corn,of course; vitamins, synthetic hormones, & antibiotics(feedlots are dirty,disease spreads quickly and there's little room for exercise);liquified animal fat; molasses; and urea(synthetic nitrogen). Does this sound like a natural diet for a ruminant, whose body is built to process grasses?
Feedlot beef are forced to eat this corn-based meal which puts them at risk for the most common feedlot ailment - bloat. Unless this is treated promptly, a cow will die of suffocation from their rumen inflating and pushing against their lungs.They are also susceptible to acidosis, coccidiosis, and a long list of other diseases. According to Mr. Pollan's research, some veterinarians say this diet will eventually kill the cow due to abcessed livers. Indeed 15 to 20% of feedlot cows are found to have this liver problem at slaughter and in some pens incidents as high as 70%.
You might wonder how they are kept alive? Well , you guessed it - antibiotics are in the feed they eat. Could this be part of the reason we now have antibiotic-resistant superbugs? We have been consuming this beef for a lifetime.
Our beef is 100% grass fed the way God intended. We are tired of polluting our bodies with this "artificially" produced beef. How about you?
Having been born and raised on dairy farms in upstate New York, we are both familiar with life on a farm. We left farm life for a stint in the "other world" and, at the midpoint of our lives, have decided to return to our roots.
Located in southern lower Michigan, Dreamcatcher Farm is home to a couple of down to earth folks, our lovable Irish Dexter herd, an active Border Collie head of farm security, a few humorous Isa Brown hens, some guinea fowl for garden pest control, and a wallowing hog or two.
This is our dream. A place of simple pleasures, a slower pace, and contented creatures in their natural environments, free from the contaminants and hazards of commercial agriculture.
No antibiotics, hormones, or grain
A.D.C.A. Registered Dexters
About the Dexter:
The Dexter breed originated in Southwest Ireland in the early 1800's. An Irish registry was created in 1879 and the breed's popularity soon spread to England. Exportation worldwide began by 1898.
Dexters are efficient on forage, while producing high-percentage dressed carcasses of lean, tender, flavorful, fine-grained beef with an oversized rib eye. They are also prized for their 4 % butterfat milk, producing from 1 to 2 gallons daily when fed for production. They can also be trained as oxen making them a truly versatile and sought after breed for the small homesteader.
Dexters are known for their ease of calving and good temperament. They are a naturally small breed with bulls averaging between 38-44 inches at the shoulder and not more than 1000 pounds and cows between 36 - 42 inches at the shoulder and not more than 750 pounds upon maturity. This means they are wonderful for small acreage requiring only a half acre per head.
Dexters come in three solid colors, red, dun, and black with black being the most common. They were originally horned cattle but polled (genetically hornless) are also available. Further information can be found at the American Dexter Cattle Association website.