“Organic” is not enough.  Please read the articles below from Claire Hall regarding grass-fed beef, and an article from Mesquite Hill Farm website regarding pasture-raised animals.

“Most people, upon hearing the words “cattle farming”, envision an idyllic scene of cows lazily grazing their way across lush, green pastures. And this image is true to life, to a point. After being weaned, generally at 8 weeks, cows are usually allowed to graze for the first year of life. When they have reached a specific weight, they are then usually sent to a feedlot for “finishing.”  Basically, “finishing” means little exercise due to confinement and a high calorie diet to promote substantial weight gain. This diet can range from organic grains to chicken feathers and stale candy. While organic grains are clearly an improvement over chicken byproducts, the underlying theme behind these diets is gain in mass, and not necessarily health.  Feedlots have to monitor their cattle very closely as grain based diets (or any diet high in fermentable carbohydrates) can rapidly cause acidosis in cows, especially if the switch from a grass-based diet to a grain-based diet is not done gradually.  And since cattle usually spend only few months in feedlots and are expected to gain considerable weight in that time, there is a lot of pressure to get as much grain in the cattle as quickly as possible.

Grass-fed beef is different.  Instead of transitioning from grasses to grain in a feedlot, these cows spend the entirety of their lives in pastures, eating a balanced diet in their natural habitat.  And because they’re not filling up on corn or leftover chewing gum, they are healthier which means their meat is healthier. Ounce for ounce, grass-fed beef, when compared to conventional or even organic beef, is lower in calories and higher in vitamins A, E, K, and B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and selenium.  Studies have shown grass-fed beef to contain nearly twice as many omega-3 fatty acids and up to seven times the beta carotene found in conventional or organic beef.  Furthermore, by eating grass-fed beef, the chances of exposure to E. coli are dramatically reduced due to proper diet and smaller, more controlled meat processing.  To make a long story short, healthier cows mean a healthier you.”

Article by Claire Hall

 

The Pasture-Raised Difference:

·         Animals derive omega-3s from the chlorophyll in the leaves of green plants and grasses.  On the other hand, animals get omega-6s from grains.  The result of eating grain-fed animals is that we commonly have a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids, and low in omega-3 fatty acids.  Unfortunately, health-wise, this statistic should be reversed.  When we return our animals to pasture, and allow them to reclaim the omega-3s from grass INSTEAD of the elevated omega-6s that come from an unnatural grain-based diet, we then reap the benefits of higher omega-3s.

·         Grain-fed animals, raised in confinement, have omega-6 fatty acid levels 15-20 times higher than that of omega-3s.

·         It is suspected that the imbalance of fatty acids as opposed to the correct balance in animals raised on grass on family farms is a possible contributor to, or even cause of cancer.

·         On the other hand, studies have shown conjugated linoleic acid to be a great cancer fighter in the body.  CLA is much higher in the meat of grass-fed beef, lamb, and turkey and much lower in these same animals when grain-fed.

·         Animals raised in confinement are under unnatural stress and are require a regimen of antibiotics for survival.  Pasture-raised animals require no antibiotics as their lifestyle is active, healthy, and disease-free.

·         Regularly moving the animals between different grass areas for grazing does not allow the parasites that affect that animal to develop.

·         Raised in confinement, animals are often treated inhumanely (example: chickens are often de-beaked to prevent pecking).  Raising animals on pasture and moving them daily allows farmers to know the animals and to be keenly aware of any changes.  At Mesquite Hill Farm, one of our signature humane treatments for our animals is the constant supply of ice-cold water during the summer months… it’s what we would want!

·         Pastured eggs compared to standard commercial eggs, according to a study by Mother Earth News, showed that pastured eggs have:  1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.

 When all animals are allowed to eat their natural diet, they are healthier; and the optimum health of their meat and eggs, translates to us.

Article from Mesquite Hill Farm Website.