When you raise and sell beef like we do, you get asked a lot of questions. The questions range from how to buy good beef at the store to where did the hamburger make its debut. So, we decided to compile some facts about beef.
Here are 19 random facts about beef that usually surprise people:
- “Grass fed” and “natural” are marketing terms, and they aren’t regulated by the USDA. All cows (even those on feedlots) eat grass at some point of their life, so technically, all cows could be called “grass fed.” This is why it’s important to know where your beef comes from and to know the farmer’s definition of these terms before you buy. Here’s how we define those terms.
- The term “organic” is a certified term by the USDA.
- Organic beef may be grain finished, not grass fed. Are you wondering how? If the cow eats organic grain and is raised on an organic farm, it can be labeled as organic. (In case you’re curious, Clover Meadows Beef products aren’t organic. There are many reasons for this, but one of the best examples we can give is that to have an organic farm, you have to use non-treated wood. We have hundreds of acres and they’re surrounded by fences that have been built over years, so that our cows stay in our fields. If we were certified organic, we would have to replace all of our wood fence posts with non-treated posts. This may not seem too bad, but stop for a moment and think of the deck on your home. Do you treat the wood on your deck so that it won’t rot? You probably do. That’s the same reason we treat our fence posts. If we were an organic beef farm, we couldn’t treat our fence posts with the same stuff that you treat your deck with. That would cause our fence posts to rot quickly, and our cows would get out of the field. Since we’d rather spend our time raising quality beef than replacing fence posts, we’re not organic. That’s just one of many examples we could give. Let us know if you’d like more!)
- Grain finished beef is “finished” on a diet of grains and natural supplements like molasses. These supplements are similar to what an athlete would eat before a big event.
- Grass fed beef and grain finished beef taste slightly different. We recommend trying them both before you buy a large quantity of either.
- Grass fed beef has less marbling than grain finished beef.
- Calorie for calorie, beef has 10 essential nutrients and is one of the world’s most nutrient rich foods. It’s the #1 food source for Protein, Vitamin B12, and Zinc.
A 3 oz serving of beef, which is only about 150 calories, has 10 essential nutrients. (image courtesy of “Beef – It’s what’s for dinner.”)
- Grass fed beef has more Omega 3 fatty acids than grain-finished beef (3 times as much), but it’s also higher in saturated and transfat (2g more).
- Grass fed beef has about twice as much CLA, which is a type of naturally occurring trans-fatty acid that improves brain function, causes weight loss and reduces your risk of cancer.
- Research shows that cholesterol levels improve when adding lean beef to a diet.
- Protein has been shown to assist in weight management during sleep.
- A 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study showed that by consuming nearly a third of daily calories as lean protein, a person’s metabolism increases during the day, as well as when sleeping.
- Americans consume about 40% of their total beef intake as ground beef. That’s why we sell grass fed ground beef for those that only want ground beef and not the other cuts.
- The average American consumes approximately 58 pounds of beef per year. That’s 2.6 ounces per day.
- The U.S.’s cattle herd size is shrinking. The total cows in the US are at their lowest level since 1952, which is one of the many reasons beef prices are rising.
- 12 cuts of beef are leaner than a skinless chicken thigh and meet the USDA’s Labeling Guidelines for lean or extra lean.
- If you ever see beef labeling that says its “vegetarian fed”, please stop and question it. Cows don’t eat meat — ever. This can also be said about chickens, pigs and goats.
- The hamburger debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis.
- Almost 1,000 quarter pound hamburgers can be made from the ground beef in one cow.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Let us know in the comments if you have a question about beef!