In the lead up to Labor Day - the last big grilling event of the summer - our Whole Foods Market meat teams are pulling out all the stops to introduce you to our grass-fed beef rancher partners. Over the next two weeks, we'll be posting a ton of information out here on our Whole Story blog - talking all about grass-fed beef, our rancher partners, how to cook it and all kinds of exciting secret stuff that they've told me I can't talk about until next week. To start out, let's talk about grass-fed in general. Did you know that grass is the most natural diet for beef cattle? Their digestive systems have the ability to convert grasses, legumes and herbaceous plants into protein. Raising cattle on grass returns to more traditional animal production methods. Here's what I think are the most important aspect of grass-fed beef:
- Grass-fed beef ranching is not only good for the animals, but involves managing natural resources and supporting local producers.
- Grass-fed beef is a leaner choice and has a more favorable ratio of omega fatty acids.
- Grass-fed beef is priced fairly for the producer and is worth every penny.
- Grass-fed beef is a delicious alternative to grain-fed beef and cooks a little differently.
We've got more details on all of those aspects on our Grass-fed Beef page. You may not realize that most grass-fed ranchers are either independent (selling beef from their own property) or they join small, locally focused producer groups. We've sought out partnerships with a variety of regional and local grass-fed ranchers, including many family farms, with the goal of helping bring grass-fed ranching back into the mainstream because of its positive impact on the cattle, the environment and how it supports local communities. We're going to introduce you to our rancher partners in coming blog posts, but you can read about all of them now on our Grass-fed Rancher Partners web page. This Rancher Partner page lets you know who supplies the grass-fed beef that you buy in your local Whole Foods Market. Very cool. Like all meat sold at our stores, grass-fed beef must meet our strict quality standards, which require that animals are raised on a vegetarian diet with no antibiotics or added growth hormones. In addition, all beef producers are required to follow rigorous animal welfare standards that apply to all stages of an animal's life and environment. We hope you'll come back over the next couple of weeks to learn about the benefits of grass-fed beef and meet some of our local ranchers. And don't forget to pick up some grass-fed beef in our stores to give it a try yourself! We've got recipes and cooking tips on our Grass-fed Beef page. And don't forget, we've got some surprises coming up next week, so stay tuned!