Monday, May 30, 2011


My freezer was looking sparse. Usually, it is full of last season's garden bounty, co-op fruit for jams, pies and smoothies, cheese (you can never have too much cheese!), turkey hot dogs for my son's hot dog addiction, and farm raised meats, mainly beef and pork. We used our last bit of beef a couple of months ago. I was able to "borrow" some extra ground beef from my mother in law's freezer but obviously, it was time to replenish our stores. We have been keeping a steer at home with my Dad's herd, and the time had come for us to butcher. Butchering is not a one man job, so we loaded up and drove the six hours back to the ranch to help get the job done.

Rarely do we buy beef from a grocery store. I grew up eating the meat that we raised and slaughtered ourselves. And after watching Food Inc. a few times, store bought hamburger kind of turns my stomach. Our cows are grass fed, free roaming animals. They are not confined. They are not diseased. They are cared for, respected, and humanely raised. I am lucky in that I don't have to pay outrageous prices for organic, grass fed beef. We kill and quarter the animal ourselves and then take the meat into town to be processed and wrapped by a local butcher.  When all is said and done, we will have a freezer full of grass fed beef for less than two dollars a pound. The last time I bought grass fed beef at the grocery store, it cost significantly more than two dollars a pound. Knowing exactly how the cattle are raised, what they are fed, and how they are butchered gives me enormous peace of mind.

Happy Cows on Dobson Farm
Coincidentally, this month's edition of Mother Earth News had an article about the advantages of grass fed beef. Here are five benefits of eating pasture raised cattle:
•Grass-fed beef is one-third to three times leaner than conventional grain-fed beef, and as a consequence has fewer calories, too. Yeah!
•Grass-fed beef has two to four times more essential omega-3 fatty acids than feedlot beef. It also contains more beta carotene, vitamin E and folic acid.
•Researchers have found grass-fed beef contains two newly discovered 'good' fats: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-vaccenic acid (TVA). CLA shows great promise in lab animal studies of helping fight cancers and cardiovascular disease.
•Grass-fed beef has no extra hormones or traces of antibiotics. The animals also live a low-stress life, grazing outside on pasture, in contrast to the stinking, dusty, shadeless conditions in most commercial feedlots.
•Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, or more commonly, mad cow disease), has not been found in grass-finished animals. And grass-finished cattle are also less likely to be contaminated with acid-resistant forms of E. coli, a serious food-borne bacteria.

Environmentally, grass fed beef is also a much better choice than it's conventionally raised counterpart.  The air and water pollution stemming from the mountains of feedlot manure, and the many fertilizers and pesticides used in grain production, exact a heavy toll on the environment and the health of farmers, farm workers, and nearby residents.  Pasture raised cattle are simply a better choice all around.



  1. That is great that you can be a part of your meat eating experience!

  2. Very interesting. It must be such a good feeling knowing exactly where your beef came from including how the animals were treated etc.

    I didn't realize you could freeze cheese?

  3. Haha!! I took this photo of my dad's farm... where I assume you got it at For more photos from our farm (a shared organic grass-fed beef/market garden/csa operation) look at my blog and our website