In previous generations, the fall season was considered the best time of year to harvest cattle for meat. There are several reasons for this, first the weather was beginning to cool which meant meat wouldn’t spoil as easy. Also there are significantly fewer flies and other insects that could potentially contaminate the meat. However, the main reason is because fall is the time of year that cattle are in their best physical condition. They cattle have eaten fresh grasses all summer. Towards the end of summer, the grasses begin to set seed. The seeds are high in energy and protein which the cattle eat to prepare for the cold winter. Cattle harvested for meat right before winter have beautifully marbled meat that is high in omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
We offer grass fed beef year round. In order to do this, we store grass hay and alfalfa that we feed to the cattle through the winter and early spring. However, this feed lacks the grass seeds that the cattle normally get in the late summer/early fall. This means if we harvest a beef in March, we risk the beef being a little too lean which means the meat may be a little dry when cooked. Every once in a while, we hear from a customer who tried a “grass fed steak” from the store but was disappointed in how lean and dry it was. To compensate for this, we now offer some of our cattle, a little barley and oat hay to mimic grass fed beef that is harvested in the fall. Both barley and oats are grasses and unlike most corn and soybeans are not genetically modified (GMO). Also unlike corn, this will produce beef that maintains the health benefits that grass fed beef is famous for and still be low in cholesterol.
As always, the cattle roam on large open pastures. 100% of their feed is GMO free. The cattle are not force fed anything, they always have plenty of hay and alfalfa in front of them to eat what they like. The barley is fed to them in rations similar to what cattle would find in a late summer pasture. This allows us to offer our customers beef that is marbled as nicely as a fall harvested beef, year round. And like a fall harvested beef, the carcasses yield more which means our customers get a little more for their money.
We will continue to offer purely grass fed beef as well. However, we believe that the Grass & Barley Fed Beef will be the choice of most of our customers. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions.