The average consumer is getting more conscious about their health choices. And with this, new food labels are entering the market. One such label is grass-fed beef. Your nutritionist or your health-conscious friend might have convinced you to try out grass-fed beef. So, before you buy grass fed beef, read this grass-fed beef guide to make the right choice.
What You Should Know Before You Buy Grass Fed Beef
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to grass-fed beef. Here’s what you should be looking for before you go shopping for grass fed beef:
Look for Certifications
Farmers are required to get their cattle inspected before labeling their meat as grass fed. There are a lot of organizations doing quality checks. One such organization is the USDA. The USDA makes sure that cattle raised on such farms depend entirely on forage and grass. Some farms claim that their beef is grass fed, when actually the cattle’s food is only partly grass. During the winters when it’s difficult to let the cattle graze the fields, farms put their cattle on grains.
Other than the USDA, The American Grassfed Association and The Food Alliance also keep a check on grass fed cattle. Check if your local farm has acquired certification or quality checks from any of these organizations.
Remember, these organizations aren’t sponsored by the government and these checks are not mandatory. You need to do your own research before you buy grass fed beef. Here at Helstrom Farms, we have USDA paperwork to label as grass-fed beef. We ONLY feed our cattle grass and believe in sustainable farming and non-GMO practices. We also welcome all visitors and believe in being completely transparent so you can rest assured that you are feeding your family only the BEST grass-fed beef.
Grass Fed Beef Prices
Yes, the price of grass fed beef is higher than grain fed beef. But you should know that raising grass fed beef requires more capital. These cattle can graze the land instead of being confined to a feedlot. This means more land is required, which means more money.
Also grass fed beef takes a longer amount of time to mature than conventional beef because they aren’t being given steroids to speed up the growth process. Farmers are spending around 6-12 months more time on grass fed beef. This results in higher prices. But you can justify this price based on the health benefits of grass fed beef.
Organic Beef Isn’t Necessarily Grass Fed Beef
Many people wrongly assume that organic is grass fed beef. That’s not true. Organic beef comes from cattle free with antibiotics, steroids and hormone injections. While grass fed beef, as the name suggests, is a cattle that’s main diet has been grass from the time of weaning till the time of slaughter. These are two different concepts.
You should also know that sometimes beef labeled as grass fed isn’t entirely grass fed. It might have been fed grain at some point.
Where to buy grass fed beef locally
Grass fed beef is growing in demand over the last few years, so they are becoming more readily available. Some options you can try out are:
Most big supermarkets have a small section in their meat section, selling grass fed beef. You’ll easily find one there. If there is an organic or natural store in your area, you most certainly find your meat there.
The main issue when buying from supermarkets is that the meat is often outsourced from countries like Australia. So, while the label might read grass fed meat, there is no way of knowing whether the meat is 100% grass fed.
If you can’t find a supermarket that stocks grass fed beef, you can also check with local farms in your area. Look for farms that sell organic or natural food. Most grass fed cattle farms allow you to give them a visit before you buy from them. Give them a call before you go. Here at Helstrom Farms our beef is 100% grass-fed beef. We welcome any inquiries as to our farming practices and our family farm.
Visiting a farm or speaking to the farmer gives you a good idea on how they raise their cattle. You can also inquire about certifications and regulations during your visit.
Farmer’s Markets are also another place you can explore to get access to grass fed beef. In a farmer’s market, you will find a great selection of cuts and specialty meat. This might be a little pricier than the other options because farmers have to pay for setting up their stalls and kiosks. But it can be a great way to meet a good source and later follow up with online orders.
Helstrom Farms was at the Cook Farmer’s Market during the summer and we really enjoyed meeting new people and providing our beef in a convenient location.
Grass Fed Beef Online
You can also look for grass fed beef online. A simple search on Google will give you a lot of options. Some farms deliver nationwide, while others deliver statewide. Helstrom Farms offers local pick up here in Minnesota and we ship free on orders of $250 or more!
When you buy online, you can compare grass fed beef prices also. You might find the prices of grass fed beef to be a little higher, but remember these cattle are raised humanely. They have access to their natural diet and habitat.
At Helstrom Farms, we raise true grass fed beef in a small family-run farm in northern Minnesota. We ship to several states. You can order your beef online or you are welcome to visit our farm. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and get to know our family and our farm!