Carol Green was kind enough to do a chef’s demonstration this week: check out her blog for all of the great details! The link is below, as well as a full-text version.
The Greener Side of Grass Fed Beef
By Chef Carol Green, NTP
It’s so secret I am a huge fan of grass fed beef; healthy omega 3 rich meat raised on organic grass without hormones and antibiotics administered. Truth is, much as this sounds like a healthy option, I have tried many different sources of grass fed beef so often been disappointed; tough, bland steaks and stewing beef that takes hours to cook to tender.
What’s the beef with that? True grass fed beef means the animals were raised on organic pastures, and chomping on all that healthy grass, while roaming around they don’t really get much chance to fatten up.
Feedlot raised beef fed a smorgasbord of corn, soy and even left over candy will typically weigh about 400 Lbs more than a grass fed animal at time of slaughter, which accounts for the marbling in the meat and flavor. Many grass fed farms ‘grain finish’ the beef, allowing the animal to fatten up to produce a better tasting steak, not true ‘grass fed’ in my book.
While attending the Fresh Expo in Charlotte last fall, I met the team from Grayson Natural Farms, and tasted some of their delicious beef. The marketing manager Don Duncan shipped me a couple of their steaks and short ribs to try out; now a ‘slow cooked’ cut of meat will eventually tender up but true test is the steak.
Two good looking New York strip steaks where seasoned up and grilled to medium rare, and the result was delicious! Tender, melt in the mouth steak with robust flavor, for true grass fed beef, not supplemented at all by grain, this was quite amazing!
Don also shared with me the lab results of tests run on the beef, now typically conventional feedlot beef will have an Omega 6:3 ration of higher than 20:1, which makes it a pro inflammatory food, while grass fed beef is usually around 1:1.
The ratio on the result for Grayson Farms was an impressive 0.12:0.19, meaning this is a true healing food.
Of course I was intrigued to know the secret of how beef van be truly grass fed and yet so tender. Grayson Farms beef is raised in the mountains of Virginia on four different types of mineral rich grass. Strict sustainable farming practices and protocols are in place to ensure the animal is never given antibiotics or hormones and raised in a natural environment, and only fed silage during the winter made from Grayson Farms grasses.
Grayson Natural Farms is available in the Charlotte area at various outlets and to order online http://graysonnatural.com/.
Most recently it is also available at custom butcher shop at The Peachstand in Fort Mill, SC http://www.springsfarm.com/peachstand_custombutchershop.asp
This past weekend I joined Don at the Peachstand to demonstrate this delicious beef, preparing the short ribs in a fragrant sauce of coffee, orange juice, red wine and a spice blend from my favorite spice shop Savory Spice in the South End of Charlotte.
The particular blend I used ‘Barnet Bay Butcher Rub’ is an interesting blend of garlic, black pepper, Saigon cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, I added a little cumin and you could use your own blend too.
The result was tender beef with deep flavor, perfect comfort food for the cold weather months.
In Health and Wellness,
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Coffee, red wine, orange juice with spices; odd sounding flavors complement to create depth of flavors to compliment the rich, grass fed beef.
- 3-4 pounds Beef Short Ribs
- 1 cup Carrots, peeled and diced (2-3)
- 2 cups Yellow Onions, diced ( 1 medium)
- 2 cups Celeriac Root, peeled and diced (1 small)
- 1 cup Celery, stringed and diced (2 -3 ribs)
- 6 cloves mashed Garlic
- 1 cup fresh Orange Juice
- 1 cup strong Coffee
- 4 cups Brown Beef Stock
- 1 cup crushed Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Barnet Bay Butchers Rub seasoning (Savory Spice Shop)
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 4-6 tablespoons Ghee or Coconut Oil for cooking
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels.
- Heat a large dutch oven or casserole over medium high heat, add 2-3 tablespoons Ghee to the casserole and sauté the beef until nicely browned on all sides.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add a little more ghee and slow caramelize the onions. Add the rest of the vegetables and cook a few more minutes until softened.
- Add the seasonings, orange juice, wine, tomatoes and stock to the pan, bring to a simmer.
- Place the over back in the dutch oven, cover and place in the oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- Taste for seasoning.
Despite winter’s claws holding on in the form of lots of rain, spring has definitely come to Grayson County. We’ve been enjoying beautifully warm days, the grass is settling into a perfect green, and the trees are covered in waterfalls of leaves. The cattle are happy to be off that boring old hay and onto lush greenery.
In the office, we’ve been watching the landscape transform through windows and doing some website “spring cleaning” — the website has a new look, and we’ve added an important new addition: the online store.
This means that, even if you don’t live close, you can still enjoy the taste of mountain-raised grass fed Grayson beef! Since this is our first week of online sales, you can get a free 2-pound package of ground beef with any order of $100 or more using the coupon code “groundbeef”.
When you order, we’ll ship your package of meat frozen with dry ice using UPS. All orders received by 1:00 pm on Mondays will go out that Tuesday.
Looking forward to seeing what the summer will bring!
Don Duncan, the marketing manager for Grayson Natural Farms was recently interviewed by modPALEO. Grayson Natural Farms is featured on their website under the Local Spotlight. (click here to read the interview) We are their newest partner in protein!
From the article:
We are excited to partner with Grayson Natural too! Our goal is always to share a mutually beneficial relationship with our producers to support a local food economy and better food system. You can also find Grayson Natural beef at the Healthy Home Markets in the Charlotte area as well as in modPALEO meals.
We believe in preserving a diet of elemental foods, derived from lean proteins, non-processed carbohydrates and good, saturated fats. We believe in stewardship, sustainability and connecting with people through the power of real food. Our business is people- those who grow our food, the team that prepares and delivers it each week, our customers and the community that supports healthy living.
Our producers and cattle have enjoyed the needed rain this week and the much cooler weather. Some of our producers are even starting their calving seasons! Calving season is always a busy but fun time, there is nothing quite like the rush you get from trying to hurry and tag a newborn calf before his or her momma gets after you. But all and all, the miracle of life is an amazing thing to watch and just reassures to our farmers why they and we are passionate about beef!
We are getting some much needed rain and a welcome relief from the record high temperatures in Grayson County.
Grayson County is home to Mt. Rogers, the highest point in Virginia. Our typical high temps are in the eighties, we have had high nineties recently. Hot yes but our neighbors just 30 miles south and off the mountain are typically 10 degrees warmer year round. This makes Grayson a destination in the summer to escape the heat and in the winter the 10 degrees means we have snow when our neighbors have rain, so we have visitors coming to experience the snow. The 10 degrees also make Grayson County an ideal place to raise and finish cattle on grass. Our cattle, just like our visitors, are more comfortable and thrive here.
Like most of Virginia, the Producers for Grayson Natural Foods have been affected by the storms and power outages. River Ridge lost power Friday, had power for a brief time Monday afternoon only to be lost again. Brantley Ivey (Manager of River Ridge) and his employees with help from Gary Mitchell and friends have been moving generators around to turn water pumps on to insure all the cattle have plenty of fresh water. We have also been spending time cleaning up trees that have fallen on fences. Thankfully, we have a break on our hay harvesting at the moment and we still have another month until the heifers start to calve. So it’s pretty much just another week in the diverse life of a cattle farmer!
Fun Fact for you Friday: Did you that 98.3% of U.S. Farms and ranches are family owned? American agriculture helps feed the world’s citizens, provides fuel for transportation and fiber for money and clothing; and today’s American farmer feeds about 150 people worldwide every day; and beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of U.S. agriculture; and the U.S. raises 20 percent of the world’s beef with 7 percent of the world’s cattle, and in 2011, the value of beef exports exceeded $5 billion for the first time in history. Think about this and please remember to thank a farmer or rancher!
These past few weeks have been very busy for the producers of Grayson Natural, our farms have been bailing lots of high quality high moisture hay. Also we are rotating our cattle around to more lushes pastures. At Grayson Natural our new marketer, Mark Gravel, is beginning to push our beef in New York City. We always welcome visitors to come see anyone of our four farms, we are family farmers and want everyone to be educated in the way of life we are blessed to live everyday!
We will be sharing photos and news and updates here on the website at www.graysonnatural.com/news. We encourage you to visit our website to find out the latest for Grayson Natural, your source for locally owned, mountain grown beef.