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What does “grassfed” mean? (At least, what is it supposed to mean?)
The term "grassfed" was coined to indicate when an animal is raised on grass, grass and only grass. Ruminants (cattle, sheep, bison, goats, etc.) have evolved complex digestive systems designed to be able to digest grasses (and I include legumes such as clover and alfalfa here). Their rumens are not meant to digest corn and grains. When we give ruminants corn and grain, it wreaks havoc on their digestive system, and increases the potential for the growth of pathogenic E. Coli. Furthermore, growing corn and grains for consumption by ruminants carries a much higher ecological footprint.
Due to the rising interest in grassfed meats because of increased health and ecological benefits, the term is being abused to describe any animal that has eaten grass. Even if that means it also eats corn. To us, this is NOT grassfed.
We urge you to be critical when shopping for grassfed meats. Ask the producer what else their animals eat other than grass. (The answer should be nothing! Except hay, which is dried grass. Some producers feed sprouts as well, which is grains which have been turned into grass).
Anyone claiming that chicken is "grassfed" is not using the term correctly. Chickens are not ruminants and they will not survive on a grass-only diet. The correct term is "pastured," meaning that the animals are raised on grass, but also fed grains. Most pork labelled "grassfed" is also incorrectly labelled.
If you have any questions about how we raise our cattle, or any of our practices, please contact us as we are always happy to share!