Georgia Magazine - November 2011 - (Page 32)

Going for grass Georgia’s got great grass-fed and pasture-raised meat BY JANE F GARVEY . CATHY STRONG & TARA ADCOCK Above: Avondale Estates-based Pine Street Market’s pancetta is Italian bacon cured with black pepper, thyme, and a hint of nutmeg and clove. Left: Happy HogsTM from Double Hill Farms in Gay are pastureraised, without the use of antibiotics or steroids. Grass-fed beef is available from Country Gardens Farm in Newnan, where their animals are raised on pasture without antibiotics or hormones. 32 food—the body can’t produce them. Omega 3s, which beef cattle derive from clover-rich pastures, may ameliorate inflammation. Omega 3s also may combat cancer and arthritis. Most forage-raised meat advocates insist that finishing animals on grain negates the benefits of grass feeding, and only 100-percent grass-fed meat attains the health benefits. Despite the many health benefits claimed for 100-percent grass-fed beef, the downside of it, for many consumers, is that the rich flavor and tenderness they’re accustomed to in corn-finished beef is lacking, especially in the steaks. This issue is less evident in pasture-raised pork and chicken, which tend to have great flavor. Grass-fed beef all over the Southern hemisphere and in Europe seems both tender and amazingly flavorful, so why does American grass-fed beef seem to have satisfaction issues for many consumers? Carroll County rancher Bill Hodge says he believes it has to do with the intersection of breed and feed. At his Hodge Ranch, he has More online at developed pasture-based genetics because, he says, “You can’t ask an animal that has been bred to feed on corn to produce a high-quality eating experience when it’s fed on pasture.” Thinking along similar lines, Steve Peskoe at Double AJ Farms in Davisboro, near Milledgeville, has a mixed herd of Angus, Hereford and a French breed, Maine-Anjou. “These are classic sized [cattle],” he says, “and finish well on grass.” Recently, Peskoe attended a class at the University of Georgia in Athens taught by Dennis Hancock, a forage extension specialist. “It was packed,” says Peskoe of this first class on forage-fed food animals. “But we’re still learning by trial and error,” he says, adding that spring-finished animals should yield better flavor because of the grasses that are planted for a winter pasture. What the animal eats the last 60 days before it’s processed is critical to flavor, he notes. While steaks may vary in taste and tenderness, braising cuts of beef— chuck roast, shank, beef cheeks—in GEORGIA MAGAZINE COURTESY COUNTRY GARDENS FARM AMY HERR PHOTOGRAPHY G rass-fed beef. Pasture-raised pork and lamb. Goats, too. Bison herds. Farmers markets throughout the state have broadened the availability of such meats and, despite their higher cost, helped make them more popular. Although not all Georgia meat production is headed in this direction, a great many more producers are devoting themselves to sustainable, organic, all-natural meat production. Advocates of forage-raised meat (grass-fed beef and pastureraised pork) hold that higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids in meat from grass-fed animals could result in lowered risk of heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids must be obtained through

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November 2011

Georgia Magazine - November 2011
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Special Energy Report
Generations of Growing
A Productive State
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Cooks
Bonus Snapshot Submissions
Gardens Plant of the Month: Liberty Notes
Energy-Efficiency Tips
Second Helping: More Great Recipes

Georgia Magazine - November 2011