Warrenton Holiday Market (12/2) *new location* 🚀 NEW: Free Local Home Delivery on $150+ orders!

A Thought on Grass-Fed

written by

Isabelle Heydt

posted on

June 15, 2023

Garrett and I have truly valued the part of farming that creates community. There have been many important connections and paths crossed that have made our small business feel like a part of something much greater, like we have found our life’s work and we have the support. This regenerative farming movement has placed mentors into our grasp that we otherwise would not have found, several local and others as far away as Missouri. “A rising tide lifts all boats” is a quote that keeps coming to mind when I think of what is happening here.

Just yesterday, Garrett got a call from the slaughterhouse where he works on Tuesdays that a man left him a box of reading material. Garrett has been talking about this gentleman for several weeks and about how his grass-fed beef was some of the best he’s ever seen. Everyone assumed the animals were grain-finished and that there was no possible way. Garrett cold called him and got to talking (one of Garrett's best skills). He discovered his family farm was being sold and he was transitioning out of farming, but he has been dedicated to raising grass-fed cattle for years. In this box were over 50 issues of The Stockman Grass Farmer, books by Allen Williams, Jim Gerrish, Allen Nation and more (some of the big wigs of Regenerative Agriculture).

To be clear, though our cattle are raised on pasture and rotated their whole lives, we do not label our beef as grass-fed finished because we supplement with a forage pellet and grain. Our pastures are in transition to grow a grass-fed product in sync with our values, but we are about a year away from this experiment. This process takes time and should not be rushed.

I say the following not to cast judgment because we never truly know the whole story, but rather to shed light on what we are up against: too often, Garrett has seen animals come in that are labeled grass-fed but have bellies full of corn, or conversely are labeled grass-fed and are truly malnourished. So much of this market is based off an honor code. Ask the hard questions and know your farmer--because so much of this information gets lost in the weeds even under the umbrella of pricy certifications.

The man who gifted Garrett this box–it feels like he passed him a baton.


More from the blog

A Farm Aesthetic

This morning Garrett and I were skimming through the latest issue of The Stockman Grassfarmer and I read a blurb of Joel Salatin's Meadow Talk, loosely quoting Allan Nation he said, "Profitable farms have a threadbare look." I think far too often people look to social media, Southern Living, or gosh, even childrens books and get a romanticized idea of what a well cared for farm looks like. I am guilty of this! Rolling white board fences, short manicured pastures, rows of tilled soil in a garden, a large green tractor and bailer, a cupola on the barn roof with a rooster weathervane...this all takes a lot of time and money.

Trusting It

Wow everyone, it's been absolutely wild out here! I know we are not alone in this. You'd have to be living under a rock if you weren't affected by the super blue moon or this heat wave. I do believe the end is in sight though, rain clouds are showing up in the 10-day and we pray that we can all catch a drink.

Where is your food raised?

This is a call to action that we have to remind one another that nature is so profoundly intelligent. Unfortunately, it would be our species to think that we could outsmart her work. We are dabbling in territory that is not ours to dabble in. This applies to large scale, conventional farming as well--this sort of manipulation was never natures design. This is why we are drawn to regenerative and biodynamic practices, it's because we are not putting ourselves in a position of an "all knowing, power". We are natures students. We have so much to learn from observing and participating in the cycles of life, the microbiology of the soil, and forces we may not ever fully know.