Alberta Grass Fed Beef: 4 Myths & Misconceptions

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Since starting our farm-to-table journey, we’ve learned a lot about grass fed beef - including some of the common misconceptions around quality, price and the environmental impacts of production.

We thought it would be helpful to share what we have learned along the way, so we’ve taken the time to put together our responses to some of the most popular myths and misconceptions concerning grass fed beef. We hope you find our answers helpful, and you come away with a better understanding as to why we believe in grass fed beef.

Myth 1: Grass Fed Beef Degrades the Land

Farmers today are realizing the importance of regenerative agriculture. What’s regenerative agriculture, you ask? Regenerative agriculture is about more than simply doing no harm. It’s about incorporating farming practices that develop healthier soil and create high-quality, nutrient-dense food, all while improving the land. We treat our farm like an ecosystem, and our cows play an important role! Our grazing cows improve our grassland ecosystem by cycling nutrients, building soil and enhancing plant root systems.

Myth 2: Grass Fed Beef is More Expensive Than Grain Fed Beef

It’s important to consider what you value most. You may not have the luxury of purchasing grass fed beef at the lowest price, but when you choose to buy from Gemstone Grass Fed Beef, you can count on receiving fresh, local meat from animals that have been raised ethically on a natural diet, without added hormones or antibiotics. Did you know that if you’re purchasing from Calgary, the meat travels less than 100 miles to get from our pasture to your table, and each dollar you spend stays within the Alberta economy? After taking all of these factors into consideration, we believe that investing in local, grass fed beef provides endless value and benefits, compared to purchasing from larger corporations.

Myth 3: Grass Fed Beef is Too Lean & Lacks Flavour  

Have you heard that grass fed beef doesn’t taste as good as grain fed beef? This couldn’t be farther from the truth! When it comes to texture, flavour and marbling the animal’s diet is only one factor. Other variables that determine grass fed beef’s flavour depend on seasonality, the variety of grass and other forage that the animal eats, and animal genetics. We love the way chef Dan Barber explains it: “Grain-fed beef is stripped of any sense of place. Of course, there’s still variation — based on the breed, the aging process — but for the most part, a grain-fed steak tastes the same whether it’s raised in New York or New Mexico. Grassfed beef tastes different based on the pasture the cattle were eating — which means it varies by farm and even time of year.”

Our grass fed cattle thrive year-round on nutrient dense grasses and other forage. We aim to finish each animal at 22-26 months, when beef is naturally most tender. We then dry-age the meat for 21 days, to maximize flavour and tenderness! We’ve been told by customers that our beef is perfectly tender and packed with flavour, but don’t take our word for it. You’ll have to test it out for yourself!

Myth 4: Grass Fed and Grass Finished Mean the Same Thing

When browsing grass fed beef, this is actually an important distinction to make before purchasing. Currently, in Alberta, there are no regulations on the use of the terms ‘grass fed’ or ‘grass finished,’ which can lead to some confusion for customers. If a product claims to be grass fed, this can simply mean that the animal was fed a grass-based diet prior to grain finishing.  Grass finished, as we define it, refers to an animal that has been raised from start to finish eating grass and other forage. At certain times during the winter we may also supplement with sunflowers seeds, flax seeds, or malt sprouts to add variety to their diet. No grain is ever fed!

What myths did you find most interesting? Share with us in the comments below!

Are you ready to try Gemstone Grass Fed Beef? Check out our freezer packages available for purchase online today!

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