Adventures in grass-fed cows

3 Apr

I have been reading a lot about grass-fed cows lately, and I had an Oprah aha! moment:  Cows are supposed to eat grass!

Isn’t that a simple, yet mind-blowing concept?  Especially since the vast majority of the cows we eat are fed solely grains, like corn.  What would happen if we ate just corn all the time?  We would get really fat, really quick – and our digestive tracts would be a mess!  But don’t even get me started on poop right now…

But this is exactly what we do to our cows – feed them loads of corn until they’re super fat.  Oh, and cows can’t really digest that much corn correctly, so farmers often have to puncture a part of the cow’s stomach to physically remove some of the nasty-ass-shit inside.  Fun, right?

So, why do we feed our cows corn?  It’s for the same reason that the food industry packs HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) in everything – because it’s cheap!  Think about it:  you could A) let your cows roam freely in the grassy pastures eating as much as they wanted or B) keep your cows in pens with no room to walk around and feed them cheap corn.  Which one sounds like more fun to you?  But it all comes down to the almighty dollar, so choice B has won for the past 60 years or so.

What happens when you eat grain-fed cows?  Well, you consume a lot of corn.  And what happens when you eat grass-fed cows?  You consume a lot of grass!  Which sounds healthier to you?  Not to mention which one is the more humane thing to do?  Now, I don’t want to get all preachy on you, but I don’t believe that animals were put on Earth for us to mistreat.

I just had this revelation last week.  I knew that Jeni’s only gets their milk and cream from grass-fed cows (Snowville Creamery), and we all know that tastes better than regular ice cream.  So, I started wondering what the actual meat from grass-fed cows would taste like.  Of course, I had to figure it out.

So, last Sunday, I went to 4 markets to try to find grass-fed beef.  And I found it at the local butcher in the North Market.  Their cows aren’t 100% grass-fed, but I really liked their concept:  raise cows the way your grandparents would’ve.  That means that these cows roam free and eat as much grass and hay as they want, and they’re also offered grains if they choose.  I thought this was a great farming technique.  I bought 3 filet steaks ($10 each), and cooked them in a cast-iron skillet on the stove to sear both sides – and then I put them in the oven to finish cooking them to medium.  And guess what?  They were fantastic.

Grass-fed beef has a different taste than grain-fed, but I preferred it.  And grass-fed beef takes less time to cook, so you actually have to pay attention while you’re cooking it!

So, friends, what do you think about my revelation?  Does anyone else have these crazy-ass thoughts like I do?


4 Responses to “Adventures in grass-fed cows”

  1. xcarolineno April 3, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    there is grass fed beef brisket every sunday at ray-rays and it is AMAZZZZING!

    • Bryant April 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      I just saw that yesterday!!!

  2. Cake Betch April 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I watched Food Inc a few months ago and decided I’d get all my chicken from Whole Foods since they have more ethical (I think/hope?) raising methods than the chicken you get at Kroger (I don’t really buy much red meat). I’ve always wanted to know where I can get meat that is ethically raised; I’ll have to check out North Market!

    • Bryant April 3, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

      Yeah, I loved Food Inc. I watched it on my iPhone at the gym while doing the elliptical machine – talk about depressing.

      You should def check out the locally-raised meat at the North Market, but WF gets a lot of their stuff locally too.

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