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For Gastronomes (People Who Eat)

12-4-2010

This page is devoted to people who eat, farmer and consumer alike. I hope these articles help people understand grass-fed beef and food a little bit better. Gastronomes, don't be afraid to check out the For Farmers page and explore sustainable agriculture at your leisure.


Grass-Fed Basics by Jo Robinson
“Back to Pasture. Since the late 1990s, a growing number of ranchers have stopped sending their animals to the feedlots to be fattened on grain, soy and other supplements.  Instead, they are keeping their animals home on the range where they forage on pasture, their native diet. These new-age ranchers do not treat their livestock with hormones or feed them growth-promoting additives. As a result, the animals grow at a natural pace. For these reasons and more, grass-fed animals live low-stress lives and are so healthy there is no reason to treat them with antibiotics or other drugs.”

Cheap Meat: An Accident Waiting to Happen by Jo Robinson                                            
“The latest fiasco in the U.S. livestock industry is that thousands of hogs and chickens have been raised on feed contaminated with melamine, the same chemical that has sickened thousands of cats and dogs. According to the U.S.D.A., some meat from those hogs and chickens has already entered our food supply.”

Why the Price Difference when Grass is Free?
American Grass Fed Beef vs. Grocery Store Beef
By Patricia Whisnant, DVM, Grass Farmer and Veterinarian
“We receive variations of this legitimate question all the time from folks who aren't aware of the differences in raising our American Grass Fed Beef vs. what they buy for much less in the grocery stores.   I would wonder, too, if I weren't a grass farmer and a veterinarian.
“Many people think that you stick a cow out in a pasture and it magically reaches maturity when you cash in on a 1,000+ pound goldmine.  We can only dream it would be that easy . . . the care of any ranch operation includes many hours of hard work all times of the day and night in all types of weather conditions.  Our whole family chips in to keep our overhead down.”

A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef
Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, Glenn A Nader, Stephanie Larson
Abstract
Growing consumer interest in grass-fed beef products has raised a number of questions with regard to the perceived differences in nutritional quality between grass-fed and grain-fed cattle. Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef, albeit with variable impacts on overall palatability. Grass-based diets have been shown to enhance total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3) FAs on a g/g fat basis. While the overall concentration of total SFAs is not different between feeding regimens, grass-finished beef tends toward a higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic FA (C18:0), and less cholesterol-elevating SFAs such as myristic (C14:0) and palmitic (C16:0) FAs. Several studies suggest that grassbased diets elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries. Fat conscious consumers will also prefer the overall lower fat content of a grass-fed beef product. However, consumers should be aware that the differences in FA content will also give grass-fed beef a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef. In addition, the fat from grass-finished beef may have a yellowish appearance from the elevated carotenoid content (precursor to Vitamin A). It is also noted that grain-fed beef consumers may achieve similar intakes of both n-3 and CLA through the consumption of higher fat grain-fed portions.

Recipes
Type in the cut you have and get some tasty cooking options.

Whole Farm Planning with Holistic Management
Introduction
Whole Farm Planning offers new and established vegetable growers the management tools they need to help make decisions that move them toward short-term success and long-term sustainability (we define sustainability as economically viable, environmentally sound, and socially just).  There are many versions of Whole Farm Planning available today (described below).  This web page is a guide to resources that will help vegetable growers begin the process of Whole Farm Planning using the Holistic Management® framework1.  This framework brings current management theory and practice to the natural resource management situation by:
1) encouraging growers to a create a holisticgoal for their operation;
2) carefully examining and assessing all of their personal, financial, social and natural resources;
3) developing comprehensive short and long term plans;
4) making decisions on a daily basis; and
5) monitoring their progress towards meeting their holisticgoal. 

"Where's the REAL Beef?"
How do you provide you and your family with high quality animal protein?
If you think you are going to get it by going to your local health food stores, think again. Nearly 100% of the beef sold in health food stores is not "real" beef. Even though it may be organic, the cattle are fed grains and grains are NOT what cattle are designed to eat.

Grass Is Greener: Buy Healthy Meat
Want steak without guilt? Eat grass-fed meat that's free of antibiotics
By Lindsay Moyer
Environmentalists, E. coli sufferers, the Skinny Bitches--the list of beef haters grows longer every day. But let's face it: For a lot of people, biting into a thick, juicy steak ranks up there with make-up sex and cocktails on the company's dime as one of those priceless MasterCard moments. So what's a carnivore with a conscience to do? Instead of focusing on what you're eating, how about taking a look at what your prime rib had for lunch last week? Research is showing that beef from grass-fed cattle is leaner, healthier, and less costly to the planet--and may even be safer to eat than the heifers you're chewing on now.

How Cows (Grass-Fed Only) Could Save the Planet
By Lisa Abend Monday, Jan. 25, 2010
On a farm in coastal Maine, a barn is going up. Right now it's little more than a concrete slab and some wooden beams, but when it's finished, the barn will provide winter shelter for up to six cows and a few head of sheep. None of this would be remarkable if it weren't for the fact that the people building the barn are two of the most highly regarded organic-vegetable farmers in the country: Eliot Coleman wrote the bible of organic farming, The New Organic Grower, and Barbara Damrosch is the Washington Post's gardening columnist. At a time when a growing number of environmental activists are calling for an end to eating meat, this veggie-centric power couple is beginning to raise it. "Why?" asks Coleman, tromping through the mud on his way toward a greenhouse bursting with December turnips. "Because I care about the fate of the planet."

Cow-Pooling
Friends and families band together to buy inexpensive, grass-fed meat directly from farmers. Photographs by Asia Kepka for TIME.
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1902399,00.html#ixzz17DhHmF2j

Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food
By Bryan Walsh Friday, Aug. 21, 2009
Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1917458,00.html#ixzz17DgFDcce

From Farm to Fork
Food has a carbon footprint all its own, but by sourcing locally and sustainably, Palo Alto-based Bon App├ętit Management Company is searching for a greener way to produce your lunch. Mark Richards for TIME. Written by Bryan Walsh.
http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1917925,00.html#ixzz17DgWXc7V