Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Grass is Always Greener....

Okay, at risk of losing half the people that read my blog, I'm going to talk a little more about the farmer's market. But with a new twist this time, and really, you'll see it's actually NOT about the market as much as it is about grass. Okay, grass-fed beef.

Today, we went again to the farmer's market. See, in this neck of the woods, the farmer's market runs 4 days a week. Slightly different locations, but basically the same folks. Nice, nice people. If, say, on Tuesday, I ask a vendor when they're going to have lima beans, she'll say "maybe by Thursday - you going to be here on Thursday?" It's so neat when they recognize you.

Today I ran into someone new. This gal Amanda was selling grass-fed beef from her organic farm. Since 1942, her family has been raising first dairy, and now beef cattle. I was intrigued. See, a package of ground beef has not entered my household in, oh, I don't know, about 8 years. We just don't eat all that much beef at all, and ground beef is definitely on the no-no list. Very occasionally, at a restaurant, I will order a big, juicy burger. Sometimes, you just need it! But I haven't even done that in almost a year. Ground beef just has had too many knocks lately. It's scary. Now steaks - not so bad. A couple times a year, I pick out some thick juicy NY strips and grill them up for special occasions - someone's birthday, Father's Day, etc...but I digress.

So Amanda and I chatted, and I learned a lot. First of all, these black angus guys they raise never eat a thing but grass their whole life. Never grain. They never see an antibiotic, never see a hormone. They are allowed to roam in the pasture. And to what does this translate? To me, it says safety. To everyone else out there, it means flavor and nutrition. Add it all up, and you've got a yummy burger, with minimal chance of e.coli, lower fat, lower cholesterol, no hormones or antibiotics in what you're eating, and increased nutrition in the form of Omega 3's and vitamins and nutrients. I'm sold. I came home with two one-pound packages of ground beef. For $3 a pound. And for dinner, we had burgers. Burgers on the grill. With cheddar cheese.

If you can eat something and hear angels singing, this is it, people. The last time I tasted anything like it was in Cortez, Colorado in September of 2005. We had stopped in this town near Mesa Verde National Park during our Road Trip 2005 and ate at a local restaurant that specialized in home brewed beer and grass-fed beef. Divine. Trust me, a burger from McDonalds' doesn't taste anything like this, and that's just scary.

So I'm letting my guard down a little. I'm letting a little beef back into our lives. Happily, the people that raise these happy little steers live right up the road in Mt. Savage, Maryland - and if some day, I'm REALLY feeling bold, I can buy a whole beef if I want it. But that's a lot, and I'm starting small, and going to see what happens. Might try a few steaks next time.

If anyone is really interested in some of this, and interested in more than just flavor and safety, check out

And by the way, next time you make burgers on the grill, try this recipe:
1 lb. ground beef or turkey (if turkey, use 93 or 85% lean, not that gross 99% lean stuff)
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 egg, beaten
handful of seasoned bread crumbs if mixture's a little wet

Shape into 4 patties (1/4 pounders). Just before grilling, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a little kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Now we all know about grilling burgers on the grill, right? Don't flip until you're sure they're done on the one side, otherwise they'll fall apart. Have fun! And find some grass-fed beef where you live - trust me, you won't be disappointed!


fishface said...

I found a place in Austin, which is only about 45 minutes from us. I had never heard of this type of beef before - can't wait to try it on my family. Thanks!

Rebecca said...

Awesome! If I can get just one more family away from feed-lot beef, I will have succeeded! Let me know what you think!