SLOW FAT: THESE STEERS HAVE PUT ON FAT SLOWLY.
THESE STEERS HAVE PUT ON FAT SLOWLY.
They are ready to be harvested, at four years of age rather than two, which is customary for a "finished" grassfed animal. We observe that older animals offer more flavorful fat, so we don't worry if they aren't ready as soon as the "industry" suggests. Some of our best steaks have been from 8 and 9 year-old cows, who have had plenty of time to mature. Another aspect of "finishing" a steer in 24 months or less is he needs to consume a lot of high-quality feed to do so. We finished our first batch of steers in 20 months by feeding them baled alfalfa for about six months. It worked great, but the cost was too high. Another option is to grow annuals, like Sudan grass, turnips, wheat, cereal rye, and graze or harvest those for "finishing". But those are costly to grow as well, requiring considerable equipment for tillage or use of herbicides, both of which we try to avoid. Planting annual crops means forgoing perennial forages. It is perennial forages that protect the soil and offer opportunity to build organic matter at least cost. Over the past two years, organic matter in many of our pastures has increased 50%, by implementing a tight grazing plan with our growing herd of cattle. As we have discussed, organic matter is the gold standard for providing nutrients to plants and resilience in drought. In the one field we plowed for organic corn, "o.m." dropped by 50%.
So, the simplest and perhaps the least costly solution to finishing grassfed beef is to go slow - let those steers take their time coming to maturity on average grass. "Slow fat" is working for us. It is like slow food, slow money, and slow haste, all of which seem to stand up to the tests of time.
Beef tenderloin without fat in it is pretty tasteless. This recent one was fabulous.
For those of you who enjoy the alternate reality of the Super Bowl, we can provide chili or sliders for your fare, that are guaranteed to please the crowd. Let us know in advance if you need a quantity of either.
Susan and I will be at Hyde Park this Sunday. We had a successful drop-off at Milford last week, and have scheduled the next one for Wednesday, March 1. No Findlay this weekend due to weather.
May slow prosperity come quickly to us all,
Drausin & Susan