Grass-fed, grass-finished, pastured, organic, hormone-free, local... There are a lot of labels out there to decipher. Here’s what you need to know about grass-fed labels from the health benefits of grass-fed beef to how we source our selection of 100% grass-fed beef at Farm Fresh Market.
Why grass-fed? Cows are meant to eat grass, so when they consume large quantities of grain it leads to health problems which necessitate the use of antibiotics. Our beef is all raised without the use of antibiotics. Grass-fed beef is higher in heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef, while also lower in overall fat and calories. It’s naturally leaner and higher in nutrients. To borrow from Michael Pollan, “you are what you eat eats.” Cows evolved eating grass and are much healthier when they are able to eat their intended food, making grass-fed beef a healthier option for you and your family.
Many companies will simply state that their meat is “grass-fed,” which is true of nearly all cattle in the early months of its life. Most cattle live several months at pasture before being sold at auction. Then they are moved to “factory farms” where they're fattened on grain before becoming your steak. This is why you should look for grass-finished beef. There is no regulation of the term grass-fed, so the best way to ensure that you are getting truly grass-fed meat is to know your farmer and trust your butcher. At Farm Fresh Market, we can tell you were your meat comes from, how it was raised, and what it ate. We may fall just short of knowing the cow’s names, but we can probably find out for you! And all of our beef is 100% grass-fed, grass-finished.
We buy whole cows from Stiebrs Farm in Yelm. Stiebrs raises 100% grass-fed, grass-finished cows on certified organic pasture. Stiebrs will not be renewing their organic certification, due to some exceedingly expensive and restrictive containment requirements that would require the farm to build new fences. They chose to concentrate on continuing to bring you the highest quality, humanely raised, healthful, and truly delicious beef. Because we buy whole cows, we carry a wide variety of Stiebrs beef, including steaks, ground, roasts, stew meat, liver and bones. An affordable way to stock your freezer with high quality beef is to buy ¼, ½, or whole Stiebrs cows through Farm Fresh Market.
Colvin Ranch raises grass-fed, grass-finished beef near Tenino. The Ranch was homesteaded by the Colvins five generations ago, and they remain committed to raising cattle in a truly sustainable and humane fashion. All of their beef is hormone and antibiotic free. Look for their ground beef, liver and soup bones in our freezers.
Many of you have come to love and depend on our fresh meat, which is processed daily in-house. The majority of our fresh beef comes from Pacific Pastures in Northern California. We strive to bring you not only the best options in grass-fed meat, but also a variety of options. We are not able to source our fresh beef, which we process in our store, from our local farmers since most of their meat is processed, vacuumed-packed, and frozen immediately. Instead we partner with Pacific Pastures, a small company comprised of independent ranches. Their cattle are always grass-fed, raised with high standards, and are never administered antibiotics or hormones. The Pacific Pastures label was started for farms that adhere to organic principles but don’t want to or haven’t yet gone through the rigors of certification. Depending on
availability, we also carry Eel River, the parent company of Pacific Pastures, who raises cattle in a similar fashion, but is certified organic. We offer fresh ground round, ground chuck, top round steaks, top round roasts, and stew meat.
We also partner with Heritage meats to bring you 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef from Jerry Foster’s Farm in Curtis, WA. Jerry raises his cattle on the fertile banks of the Chehalis, and Heritage processes this meat and brings us fresh steaks, roasts, and bones twice weekly. We can also special order nearly any cut of beef for you, just ask!