Frequently Asked Questions
There's a lot more to what we do than we cover in this website, so we'll try to touch on it with these FAQ and don't hesitate to contact us if you want more info!
What's the difference between grass fed and grass finished?
'Grass Fed' refers to the diet of the animal (pasture or stored grass forages) and 'grass finished' refers to the 'ripeness' of the animal and how it got there (by eating grass!). Most animals are 'finished', which is reference to the amount of fat on them, on grain in feedlots. It's challenging to achieve the same level of 'fatness' on pasture as it is in a feedlot but it's much healthier for you, the animal, and the planet to fatten on grass. It's also the reason we only harvest July - November, because we can't get an animal 'fat' in our environment other times of the year.
What's up with fat?
Fat is where it's at. Fat gives flavor and tenderness and contains lots of healthy vitamins when an animal has been eating green, growing grass. The main problem with the 'grass fed' industry is people do not harvest their animals when they have enough fat on them so people associate 'grass fed' with lean. We try to raise all of our animals to at least USDA 'choice" (this is a metric for how fat an animal is) which in our experience is the minimum threshold for tender, delicious beef. It takes carefully managed grazing, pastures, and animals to achieve 'choice'.
How are your animals harvested?
We prefer to pasture harvest, where our animals are harvested at the ranch in their familiar environment but this isn't always possible. When we do have to transport animals, we take them in the cool of the morning with at least one other friend, drive slowly and gently, and harvest them as soon as they arrive at the facility. Our goal is 'only one bad day'. We want our animals happy and stress free. It's better for the animal and ensures a better beef product.
Is it hard for you to say goodbye to your animals?
Yes and no. Harvesting animals is a necessary part of the process even if it's hard to say goodbye, but we take joy in sustaining a healthy ecosystem and providing our customers with healthy food.
Do you raise other animals?
Yes! We have a chicken flock that follows behind the beef animals scratching manure piles and disrupting the fly cycle (the cows really appreciate this), we have a dairy cow and dairy goats, and raise pigs. We will be selling a handful of pasture raised hogs this Fall.
Do you feed anything besides grass?
The vast majority of what our cows eat are the grasses, forbes and legumes they find in the pasture, but we also offer a supplement tub of rock salt and sea kelp. The sea kelp is an organic product that's made from solar dried sea kelp and serves as a 'vitamin' for the cows. The supplement tub moves with the cows and they eat it at an average of a tablespoon a day per cow.
What breed are your cattle?
Most of our cows are angus or dexters or a combination of the two, but we have some shorthort and hereford genetics too. Within the angus breed, most of our animals are heritage Aberdeen angus. These cows are a lot smaller than the ones you're used to seeing and are the size cows used to be when the breed originated in Scotland. The advantage of smaller framed animals is they fatten more easily than large animals, which is how we can ensure you get a nice, fat steak ;)
In general, we don't worry so much about the breed of animal but the individual itself. Is it calm? small framed? fatten easily on grass? hardy? These are the most important attributes and
aren't cows bad for the environment?
They certainly can be, but it's the management of the cow, not the cow itself that is the problem. Cows don't want to be in a feedlot eating grain and when allowed to graze cows can have a significantly beneficial role in the environment. Remember, cows/bison coevolved with grasses, they need each other, but giving the grass a rest by moving the cows is critical. Check out Allan Savory's TED talk for more information.