Label confusion can cause a mental stall-out in front of the meat counter. Organic? Natural? Hormone-free, grass-fed, flash-frozen, dry-aged? Mark Maynard of Roxbury, Connecticut grass-fed beef farm Greyledge, breaks it down for the Hungry Beast.

Maynard’s a fan of the benefits of grass-fed beef for its better nutritional profile than corn-fed: “the herd is content, healthy, and the beef is high in Vitamin E, Omega-3s, and conjugated linoleic acid, which some studies have shown has cancer-fighting properties and could lower cholesterol. What’s more, pasture-raised beef is usually free of hormones and antibiotics.”

But shouldn’t it be organic as well? Nah, says Maynard: “Often, small, local farmers do not have the capacity to undergo organic certification.” More important, says Maynard, is that you know where your meat’s coming from. Is it flown from the steppes of Argentina? Or is it from friendly Farmer Fred up the road? “The best farms and purveyors employ a source verification process, in which the record keeping of livestock includes health records, feed records, and genetic history,” says Maynard.

Hey, maybe you can look for said great beef at our favorite butchers.

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