Grass Fed Beef: FAQ (Part 1)
Americans eat an average of 66.5 pounds of beef every year. And while traditional beef has been the most common and available option in today’s supermarkets, sustainable meats are becoming a viable option due to their nutritional benefits and Earth-friendly production process. Here's part one of our FAQ to help you understand some of the most commonly asked questions about grass fed beef.
What is the difference between 'grass fed' and 'grass finished' beef?
Making the distinction between 100 percent grass fed beef and grass finished beef is important. While almost all cattle start off eating grass, some are then 'finished' on a grain diet. In most cases a “grass fed beef” label does not designate that the beef you’re purchasing has only consumed grass or forage only. Essentially if cattle are not also grass finished, grain can be introduced as a supplement during their life-cycle or months before slaughter. Grass finished beef is a term given to cattle that have been raised on a grass-based diet for the duration of their lives. They've never been fed any grain, and even though this process takes longer, the cattle can live healthier and happier lives.
Where can I buy grass fed beef or grass finished beef?
You can usually buy grass fed or finished beef from your local meat farmers. It is also available online from many retailers who emphasize both quality and affordability. Do diligent research before deciding where to purchase your grass fed beef. Ideally, the more locally you can source it, the fresher it will be and the more nutritional value it will maintain.
Does Grass Fed Beef Taste Different?
Grass-fed beef’s flavor profile is influenced by what the animals eat in the pasture, especially in the months prior to harvesting and processing. Most beef in the US is raised on grain which can have a less substantial flavor profile than grass-fed beef. Beef connoisseurs consider grass-fed beef to have a richer, fuller, nuttier, more robust beef flavor. Next time your grilling hamburgers or steaks, try a taste test of grain fed vs. grass fed. You’ll be pleasantly surprised on how rich grass fed beef tastes.
Ultimately, knowing the answers to these common questions surrounding grass fed beef options is the best way to help achieve a balanced and well rounded diet. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we'll answer some of the more in-depth questions about grass fed beef.