Five Things Friday: 5 reasons to eat grass-fed beefFARGO – Where’s the grass-fed beef? Well, among other places, Lynn Brakke Organic Farm southeast of Moorhead and Green Market Kitchen in downtown Fargo.
By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM
FARGO – Where’s the grass-fed beef?
Well, among other places, Lynn Brakke Organic Farm southeast of Moorhead and Green Market Kitchen in downtown Fargo.
Brakke and Green Market chef Andrea Baumgardner proudly raise and serve grass-fed beef, respectively.
Here they talk about the benefits of meat from pasture-raised animals, whose diets are primarily comprised of grass or other forage:
- It tastes better. Brakke says customers often comment on the taste of his grass-fed beef.
“They’ll say, ‘This is what it used to taste like,’ or ‘This is what it tasted like when I was a kid,’ ” he says.
Though some people are accustomed to the taste and texture of grain-fed, Brakke says grass-fed is more flavorful.
“With conventional beef, especially with ground beef, if you don’t season it, there’s really no flavor to it. You leave the ketchup and the mustard off and there’s really not much flavor,” he says.
Baumgardner says Green Market Kitchen’s producers age their meat to help make it tenderer without the extra fat.
- It’s healthier. According to eatwild.com, grass-fed beef is higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta carotene and cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid.
“It’s healthier for you, and not only that, it’s healthier for the animal,” Baumgardner says.
In 2011, British researchers found that grass-fed meat increased blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased levels of omega-6 fatty acids in healthy volunteers, changes associated with a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease and depression.
- It’s cleaner. Grass-fed beef contains fewer chemicals and additives.
“The meat we buy doesn’t have any antibiotics pumped into it because the poor things have had to stand neck to neck for their final fattening-up,” Baumgardner says.
- It’s better for the environment. Grass-fed beef produces less waste. When cows graze, they provide natural weed control and help cycle nutrients in the soil.
The grass they feed on grows naturally, whereas vast amounts of resources are used in raising grain to be fed to grain-fed cows.
Baumgardner says the ranches Green Market buys from are within three hours’ driving distance of Fargo, cutting down on emissions.
“It’s not being shipped to us, and it’s not being shipped to a warehouse and then shipped to us. We’re just buying direct, for the most part,” she says.
- It’s more humane. A press release from Cher Murphy PR says grass-fed cows are free to roam outdoors in fresh air and eat what nature intended them to eat.
“They’re ruminant; they’re grass-feeding animals, they’re not grain-eating animals. Feeding them grain is actually hard on them,” Baumgardner says.
Brakke says cattle fed grain gain weight quicker but they’re typically slaughtered earlier.
“Cattle have four stomachs, and those four stomachs are designed to eat grass, not corn. They do gain fast on corn, but it’s not a healthy gain,” he says.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590