As Digitally Delicious takes a look at organic foods this week, I’m going to use this as an opportunity for a worthy ‘product placement’ so to speak for some local ranchers and friends of the family.
Trail’s End Ranch is a family-run business in Nanton, Alberta that has recently decided to make the switch to producing ethically raised, hormone-free, grass-fed beef.
Grass (cows’ natural food stuff) is easier for cows to digest than grain. This reduces the risk of e-coli development. Further, grass-fed beef contains twice the amount of beta carotene (an anti-carcinogen) and has 70% less fat (total and saturated) than the grain-fed varieties. Plainly put, grass-fed beef is a much healthier choice.
CBC News looked into grain vs. grass-fed beef and asked Keith Froggett, an internationally acclaimed chef to taste test between the two. In the end, Froggett determined that while the grain-fed variety was more tender (because of the extra fat), the grass-fed beef was not only healthier, but tasted better too.
Grass-fed cows don’t just make for a healthier supper, the process is also better for the environment. Grain farming takes a large tool on the ecosystem, while the natural ecology of southern Alberta IS grasslands. Further, Trail’s End Ranch grazes their cows on pastures instead of confining them in feedlots. Feedlots concentrate large amounts of manure into a small area and this has damaging effects on the environment and water supplies.
Plus, feedlots are not happy places for the cows themselves. I won’t delve into the gory detailsfor fear you’ll lose your appetites but some unsightly things happen at feedlots that are simply unacceptable and unnecessary. While cows are certainly not keen on becoming somebody’s dinner, up until they reach our plates Trail’s End Ranch endeavours to make sure they are treated humanely from start to finish.
They sell their beef whole, in halves, or quarters. It is government inspected and locally cut and wrapped. For more information on buying ethically produced, local grass-fed beef you can contact Trail’s End Ranch by phone at 403-646-2550.