Beef. It might be what’s for dinner. However it might not be exactly what you envisioned. Most people think of vast fields full of grass with cattle lazily walking around when they think of a farm. There’s not many of those farms around anymore. Much of the available meat comes from factory style farms. However there are a few farms that don’t want beef from places like that.
Most people don’t, and neither did Cora Murphy of the Axehandle Cattle Company.
“We do not haul our cattle to a feed lot, and we do not feed any grain to our cows” touts Cora, who was diagnosed with cancer and treated in another country.
“I went to a clinic in another country and part of my diet required that I eat red meat with a very high protein content, but free of chemicals and hormones “ Cora explained. “To find it in a grocery store was impossible and the other places we bought from claimed to be good meat, but when digging deeper we found out that they were not what they claimed to be”.
So she started her own cattle farm. “We decided to start building a herd and providing quality clean beef that was fed on native grass on open range and free of pesticides, hormones, preservatives, antibiotics and food coloring”.
Feeding a diet of natural grasses is more in line with the nutritional needs of cattle as opposed to corn fed cows. Corn fed cattle has more marbling of fat in the meat. This increase in intramuscular fat increases calories. Grass fed beef has less marbling and more Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and more Omega-3 fatty acids like ALA, EPA, and DHA.
When asked how Cora and her cattle are different she goes on to say, “I know that we set ourselves apart from many of the beef farms with the fact that we do not haul our cattle to a feed lot, we do not feed any grain to our cows and our cows are always out on native grass right up to the day we take them into to be processed.”
The practice of taking cattle to a feedlot is common in the beef industry. The cattle are fed corn and other grains to get fast weight gain on the least amount of energy. A high energy diet produces a heavier cow with more marbling. A cow’s natural diet does not consist of grains and corn, but hay and grass predominantly.
The extra fat marbling goes on to make fatter marbling for us as well. However we don’t really need more fat marbling with our more sedentary lifestyles most Americans lead now. We also have more than enough of the bad fats in our diets as it is.
“We just want people to be able to buy meat for the same price or less that they would pay in grocery stores but the product they receive is better for them and their family.” The Axehandle Cattle Company seems to be on the right path trying to provide a better product. There is a large customer base now that wants more naturally raised and healthier foods.
Eric Shores, an accomplished chef, says he used to prefer corn fed beef. “When you look at the impact on the environment, the economy and the health aspect of organic grass fed programs, I am becoming a fan.”
Grass fed beef, like many of the wild type meats require a shorter cooking time and lower heat temps. Bison, elk, and deer are some of the more heart healthy meats that have less fat in them. The lower amounts of fat will make them dry out if cooked too fast or too hot. The result is a dry tough piece of meat.
“Once retraining yourself how to cook this way I find the meat has a similar texture ,if not a bit softer mouth feel. The flavor of grass fed is a bit different than that of a corn finished mass produced beef. Grass fed can vary in taste due to diet and has a cleaner flavor. “
Many people complain about grass fed beef, and wild type beef being tough but remember that it requires a slightly different cooking method. Try grass fed beef. Eric assures us you’ll get “more taste and better texture but don’t cook it as long or hot and its good.”
So the next time you think about throwing some steaks on the grill, think about where that beefs came from, how it was treated, and how healthy it really is for you and your family. There’s more to a piece of meat than just saving a few cents or dollars. And we agree with the chef, “You are what you eat.”
Axehandle Cattle Company, LLC