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"What do you mean grass-finished??"

We get asked all the time to explain what we mean when we say our beef is grass-finished. 
To many, this terminology may seem foreign, but is common lingo in the cattle industry.  So for those of you who need a little down-to-earth explanation on the subject here's our attempt to help you out.

The term 'finished', 'finishing', or 'fat' is used in the beef industry to describe the time when an animal is  prepared for market with improved qualities such as tenderness, taste, marbling, and uniformity.  99+% of this is done in a confined setting (either in dry lots or enclosed buildings) where the animals are fed high-energy rations of grain or crop surplus ingredients.
To increase performance, nearly all are given growth promoting products.  This process has allowed the US beef industry to become a world leader in supply quality, consistency and taste.  The resulting "fat" cattle will weigh between 1200 and 1500 lbs., and form the foundation on which the industry is based and market prices are formulated.

Unfortunately, this type of cattle environment isn't without its drawbacks.  The bovine anatomy was not designed to naturally handle the high-energy rations and as a result large amounts of antibiotics and feed supplements are incorporated to help ease the discomfort associated with that type of diet.  If you doubt this take a look at how large the cattle feeding and pharmaceutical industries have grown since the 1960's.  Most of the grain, specifically corn, surplus has to go somewhere right?

Before the 1960's, grass-fed beef was more commonplace. Unfortunately it became almost a lost art of raising cattle for human consumption with the rise of the American feedlot industry as the preferred method for supplying the demand for beef.  However, in the past twenty years the grass-fed industry has come back into the mainstream with an ever growing number of consumers seeking a healthier and more natural alternative.

This growing demand is resulting in an ever increasing amount of suppliers of not only grass-fed beef, but also grass-fed pork, poultry, goat, lamb, etc. which is great for the health-conscience consumer.  The demand for grass-fed products has greatly outpaced supply. Unfortunately, product quality can vary greatly from one product, or supplier, to the next.  Some producers choose to use short-cuts such as feeding grain by-product supplements (calling it an all vegetarian diet) or using lighter slaughter weights, etc. to get their products to market sooner. 
This is why most grass-fed beef rarely grades higher than USDA Select, and leaves some consumers assuming all grass-fed beef is "tough" or has a "gamey flavor".  This is not so.


Fortunately for you all grass-fed beef is not created equal. 
Just like fine wine or cheese, premium grass-fed beef requiring a unique blend of natural ingredients (forage, water, sunlight, etc.) mixed with human skill to produce a work of art you will truly enjoy and remember.  This type of grass-fed beef will rival the best quality grain-fed beef in flavor, tenderness and marbling seen when achieving USDA grades Choice and Prime.


To us, this finishing period begins once the animal weighs 1000 lbs. and can last 60-90+ days depending on the time of year, forage quality, and genetics.  Depending on the animal, it can end up weighing 1200 to 1400+ lbs. by the time the finishing phase is over. 

Is it possible to truly finish close to 1000 lbs? 
Sure, but our experience has proven that the heavier animals grade and eat better.  We think the long list of very positive, and unsolicited, feedback from our customers is a testament to that.

Unlike their grain-fed counterparts our "fats", or any of their herd-mates, don't spend any time confined or forced to eat an unnatural diet consisting of corn or grain by-product mixtures. 
The finishing phase is
critical to provide you the product quality we have become known for.   Remember, there are no short-cuts when producing premium quality beef.

The phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" applies here because we have a couple pictures to help you understand what we mean. 

One of the first things to notice about these two "fats" is how flat the tops of their backs are.  The next thing you should be able to see is that they are truly fat, but not obese.  The third thing to notice is the amount of excess fat deposited around the tail heads of both animals. 
The Angus heifer is not quite as finished as the Hereford steer pictured above.  The steer is 28 months old, the heifer is 26 month of age.  Both of these will easily grade USDA Choice, possibly Prime and will each weigh in excess of 1300 lbs.

So if anyone should question whether truly finishing beef on pasture is possible; our answer is an emphatic YES!!  Pair our beef with a glass of your favorite fine, red wine and you'll agree there are no short-cuts.