Grass-fed Beef

Full disclosure, I no longer buy conventionally raised meat. I’m mainly talking about beef from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). Let’s just say that it ain’t pretty … nor is it healthy for the animals, for the people who eat it or for the environment. Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or watch Food, Inc. for full, gory details.

The biggest obstacle to overcome when switching from conventionally raised meat to grass-fed is the price. It is true that factory farmed beef is cheaper. My thinking on meat is to buy local, grass-fed beef and just eat less of it. Your overall meat costs will be close to the same and you’ll be healthier for it, especially if you use the extra room on your plate for vegetables.

In my search for local meat, I came across Jimmy Bulich of Pathfinder Farms in Catskill. He gave my husband and me a tour of his farm.

Jimmy has a small herd of Hereford and Black Baldies beef cattle. Here’s how his farm works: Jimmy uses an electric fence to section off his pasture into football field-sized quadrants, plenty of space for his 14-cow herd. The cows stay in an area for about a day and they eat the grass. Once they have given that area a nice mow, they are moved to another area.

Cows, of course, leave behind manure. This does a few things. First, it is an excellent fertilizer. Jimmy never needs to add chemicals to his fields. Second, it provides food for wildlife. Wild turkeys and birds come in and eat the bugs that are attracted to the manure. The wildlife does its part by spreading the manure when digging for the protein-rich bugs.

In the winter, Jimmy feeds the cows hay (a.k.a. dried grass) grown on a nearby farm.

I love the simplicity of the process. Grass and cows form a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Cows eat the grass and, in turn, feed the grass with what they leave behind. How can you not love that?

The cows on Jimmy’s farm look healthy and happy. We ate his delicious nitrate-free hot dogs twice last week. Normally I would feel like a hot dog dinner is skimpy in the health department, but I think ones made from grass-fed beef are down right healthy for you.

Meat from cows raised on grass has more omega-3s, more vitamin E and more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acids) than meat from animals fed conventional diets. CLA is purported to lower risk of cancer and heart disease and improve immune systems. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and are excellent “brain” food. Vitamin E has strong antioxidant properties. All of this sounds good to me!

Grass-fed beef is leaner and requires less cooking time than conventional meat. Kinderhook Farms has great tips for cooking grass-fed beef on its Web site,

They recommended these cooking temperatures: 120 degrees, rare; 125 degrees, medium rare; 130 degrees, medium; 135 degrees, medium well; and 140 degrees, well.

I found this list of Columbia and Greene county grass-fed farms on If I missed your farm, please let me know.

Pathfinder Farms, 2433 Old Kings Road, Catskill, 12414. 518-943-7096. E-mail: Web site:

Kinderhook Farm, 1958 County Route 21, Ghent [mailing address: 1958 County Route 21, Valatie, 12184]. 518-929-3076. E-mail: Web site:

Gansvoort Farm, 1830 Route 9, Germantown, 12526. 518-537-4668. E-mail:

Fox Hill Farm, 887 E. Ancram Road, Ancramdale, 12503. 518-329-2405. E-mail: Web site:

Grazin’ Angus Acres, Route 66 (between Hudson and Chatham) on Bartel Road in Ghent, New York. (518) 392-3620. Web site:

Heather Ridge Farm, 989 Broome Center Road, Preston Hollow, 12469. 518-239-6045. E-mail: Web site:

Herondale Farm, 90 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancramdale, 12503. 518-329-3769. E-mail: Web site: ttp://

8 Responses to “Grass-fed Beef”

  1. Suzanne says:

    Kara– Thank you so much for promoting this way of life– life, quite literally. I hope you were able to see my recent post about eating less meat, especially since I linked to your fantastic Chana Saag recipe!

  2. Lisa Wilcox says:

    Just a quick note to thank you for promoting grass fed beef.

    Lisa Wilcox
    Owner, Wilcox Angus Beef
    100% Natural Grass Fed Beef from your Local & Sustainable Farmer

  3. Susan Donckers says:

    Kara, wonder if there are any farms like this near us in Virginia? How would I find out?? I’ll bet someone in Floyd has one!!

  4. kara says:

    There are places in Virginia, go to:
    Yes, Floyd for sure, but also Christianburg, Moneta and Rocky Mount.
    Let me know if you try any of them!

  5. kristi spessard says:

    I think everyone should see Food Inc. It really opened my eyes (although I wanted to close them often) to how I need to make changes in my own eating ways. Thanks for all the amazing information in this article.

  6. kara says:

    Thanks, Mark. I’ll add Gazin’ Angus Acres to my list.

  7. Linda says:

    I agree with Krisi, if you haven’t yet check out Food Inc. It’s a little scary actually. Where I’m at (in Canada) we’re lucky enough to have a farm about 20 minutes from where we live that sells in bulk quantity grass fed beef. It’s amazing, we order about twice a year and it’s our supply for 4-6 months.

  8. Billy says:

    A lot of people find grass fed meats but they are fed grass that have pesticides n them. Make sure the grass fed meat you get is organic grass and hay. Do the research it’s your health.

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