Most of us share the experience of the invitation to a friend or family member's home for steaks or pot roast. Often, we end up pretending we're enjoying the tasteless or tough piece of meat.
All animals, chickens and other fowl, pigs, sheep and especially cattle reflect where they come from and their care and management. It all culminates in that first bite from your plate to your mouth.
You know how they say 'wine is alive' and the taste reflects the land the grapes grew in and the people who tended them? Well, your steak may not have a living status, even if you order it rare. But, the raising and management of the cattle do make a difference in the flavor and texture.
What Is Organic Meat?
Simply put, organic meat brings us back to the past. Factory farms and immense processing establishments represent a relatively new phenomenon. Money embodies the motivation for the creation of the factory or corporate farm; the consumer pays less, and the corporation makes more. Unfortunately, this supposed win-win arrangement comes with a lot of compromises, including taste, quality, and the impact on Mother Earth.
The established guidelines for defining organic meat include the following:
- Superior soil quality
- No chemical usage for weed or pest control
- No usage of additives in the animal feed
- The animals must experience their natural behaviors in their raising and management
How Soil or Grass Impacts Your Steak
First of all, animals raised in corporate farms do not interact with soil or grass. So, to consider the soil and grass factor, by default you will want to stay away from purchasing that cheaper conventional pot roast.
Soil represents the largest land-based reservoir that has the potential to impact carbon emissions either positively or adversely. The soil reflects the decaying trees and vegetation that surround the landscape.
When we raise cattle or other animals in a natural-like habitat, the grass they eat and the way they digest it significantly affects the quality and taste of the meat. Cattle raised in confined areas and fed protein-based meal with various additives results in meat lacking the proper flavor and texture. No amount of marinade makes up for a cow raised on organic grass in the sunshine.
Through the process of photosynthesis, the sun penetrates the grass, soil, and the grazing cattle, resulting in more nutrients, and better flavor and texture.
Is It Worth It?
Admittedly, organic meat may seem pricey compared to some of the offerings at your local grocery store. Indeed, the decision to go organic represents a personal one, and if you need to feed a family of six, that may enter into your buying choices.
As the market demands it, however, organic meat will continue to become more reasonably priced. Other options exist to reduce the cost of your meat consumption and justify the purchase of the more expensive organic beef.
- Reduce your consumption of meat and opt for quality over quantity.
- Use the entire animal rather than just ordering steaks or chops from the butcher or selecting them from your supermarket. Even the bones offer incredible nutrition when made into soups and broths.
So, a review of the ways switching to organic meat may improve your dining experience while helping the health of the planet include:
Whether your dinner menu consists of steaks or hamburgers, you want your food to taste good. You can't expect your kids to clean their plates when each bite represents another boring experience. And, of course, you don't want to serve guests a tasteless rib-eye.
Health and Digestion
Not only does meat raised organically taste better; it also represents a much better nutritional choice. Animals that feed and graze in the grass where the soil receives proper care naturally result in a more healthful product. The Mayo Clinic sites several ways in which organic meat far exceeds the products coming from factory or corporate farms:
- Organic beef contains less total fat.
- Organic meat contains more Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids.
- Conjugated linoleic acid found in organic meat reduces the risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Organic meat contains far more antioxidants such as Vitamins A and C as well as Vitamin D. It also provides more calcium and other minerals.
Vegetarians and Vegans would argue the only way to truly protect the environment and prevent the cruelty of animals involves abstaining from consuming any animal flesh and in the case of a Vegan shunning all animal products. Those individuals deserve kudos for their conviction, but let's face it, human beings will continue to eat and enjoy meat. And, many other species also consume meat as a large part of their diet. So, the argument exists that meat-eating represents a natural, and some would say an essential part of our daily nutrition.
Starting with the management of the land or soil, choosing organic grass-fed meat represents an environmentally responsible choice. Clearing forests for raising cattle makes up the second-largest source of CO2 emissions second only to burning fossil fuels.
Limiting our meat consumption represents one way to control the amount of land clearing for the use of raising cattle. Even cutting meat and fowl out of your diet one day a week may result in sizable environmental contribution. However, special care and management should take place for the land in which cattle graze. Crop rotation and practices which encourage the growth and health of minerals in the soil needs to take place. Additionally, supporting a surrounding ecosystem of birds and other wildlife add to the environmental mission.
Healthy livestock management also includes provisions to manage water and including filtration and holding capacity. Factory farms, on the other hand, cause severe air and water pollution
Learn More About Soil/Grass Impact Meat's Nutrition
At Cleaver's Organic, our growth from a small farm to an international company does not mean a change in our mission and purpose. We believe in treating the land, the animals, and people well. The retaining of our principles allows us to provide delicious and nutritious meat to our customers while leaving behind a responsible environmental footprint.
For questions or concerns about meat consumption or eating organic meat, please contact us here.