When you first look into buying local, grass-fed beef, your initial reaction may be that it's too expensive. Indeed, grass-fed beef does cost significantly more than the mass-marketed, grain-fed beef sold at the grocery store. But there are good reasons for this higher cost, and if you dig a bit deeper, you'll find the beef really is worth its price tag. Here's why.
Grass-fed beef requires a lot of labor to produce.
It's easy to get cattle fat on corn and other grains. That's why larger beef producers feed grain. Keeping cattle happy and well fed on grass requires more labor. The farmer has to keep a close eye on the pastures, moving cattle to new areas as needed, and then seeding those pastures when needed. In colder weather when the grass is not growing, the farmer needs to haul in big, heavy bales of hay, which is dried grass. So, when you're paying for grass-fed beef, you are paying for this labor, and you're also paying for the continuation of the skills required to farm such high-quality meat in this traditional way.
Grass-fed beef is healthier.
You're not just paying more for the same beef. You're paying more, but you're getting better beef in exchange for that money. Grass-fed beef is lower in fat than its grain-fed equivalent. It is also higher in omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial fatty acids that are good for your heart and circulatory system. You'll pay more for the beef right now, but you may well save on medical costs and supplements in the future.
You can see where grass-fed beef comes from.
When you buy meat from the grocery store, you can't really know where it comes from. Even if you can trace down the farm name, chances are it's a big commercial farm that doesn't welcome visitors. When you buy local, grass-fed beef, on the other hand, you can usually go out and meet directly with the farmer. They'll tell you all you want to know about the cattle and their process. Over time, if you keep buying from the same producer, you'll get to know them — and that relationship is priceless.
Local grass-fed beef does cost more, but not because farmers are over-charging. In most cases, they are charging what they need to charge to get by and make a living, and you're getting a very good product in exchange. To learn more, contact a company like Sage Mountain Farm.