Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Yesterday was a red-letter day!  We celebrated Jenny's graduation from JASOC (Air Force JAG training) by grilling New York strip steaks--our very first taste of our own grass-fed Dexter beef.

This photo of T-Bone was taken in the summer when I despaired of him as a beef animal.  We had bought him from a breeder at about 6 months of age, and he had been grass-fed ever since.  He was 2 in November (we took him to be butchered Nov. 19), so he'd been living on grass and hay for the past 18 months.

We had plenty of rain both in July and August, and by the time this photo was taken in late October, T-Bone had "beefed up" quite a bit.  We had debated about the best time to butcher him, but finally settled on our butcher's advice that if we held him over the winter to wait until he was 30 months old, he would have lost so much condition that it would take all spring and much of the summer for him to get it back.

Being our first time to send a steer to the butcher, we wondered if we had made the right choice.  Our first indication came when Cory (Jeff's assistant) told us that T-Bone had quite a bit of fat on him.  The amount of fat determines how long the beef can be dry-aged; the less fat, the shorter the time or else the beef would get too dry.  When Herb picked up the beef about a week ago, Cory told him those were the nicest beef steaks he's seen.

I must say, we had to agree!  We were astonished at the deep red color of the meat and also the yellow fat.  I had forgotten that yellow fat is a a hallmark of grass-fed beef; the yellow comes from the beta-carotene in the grass--healthiness that is passed from pasture to plate.

And, grassfed beef has twice the beta-carotene as grainfed beef.  You’ll notice grassfed beef has a more yellow fat because of the extra beta-carotene.

Here's an excerpt from another website, Beyond Organic Grass Fed Beef, about the benefits of grass-fed beef:

  • Lower in Fat & Calories - Switching to grass fed beef from conventional feedlot beef can save you 17,733 calories per year-without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits.
  • Higher in Omega 3 - These are good fats that play a vital role in every cell in your body; essential for brain function too.
  • Higher in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)- Another good fat,
    a good defense against many types of cancer. One serving of grass fed beef may reduce your chance of cancer by 60 percent.
  • Higher in Vitamin A -The meat from grass fed animals has more Vitamin A than feedlot raised animals. Rather than taking a supplement that you would have to try to absorb, as your body rejects it by flushing it out of your system. Your body readily absorbs the Vitamin A that it retrieves from the delicious cuts of grass fed beef. Sometimes when you receive your grass fed beef in the spring, you will see the evidence of this in the yellow color of the fat. Now you will also know that the yellow color of the fat is actually good for you.
  • Higher in Vitamin E - The meat from grass fed cattle has been shown to be as much as four times higher in Vitamin E than feedlot cattle. This antioxidant is very important because it can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. With grass fed beef the Vitamin E is readily absorbed, unlike some supplements that are just flushed out of the system.
  • No Antibiotics are Used - Cattle were not meant to eat a diet of grain; therefore they are given antibiotics in the feedlots to treat subacute acidosis”.  After eating this type of meat for a period of time, your body becomes susceptible to the bacteria that these medications were meant to treat.
  • No Growth Hormones or Steroids Used - We believe it is important for our cattle to grow at their own rate, as nature intended. Some grow faster than others and that’s okay, we watch them everyday to see that they are healthy and stress free. We choose not to go back to the conventional way of growing cattle. We feel that our family’s health and your health is worth much more than the extra pounds that some cancer causing growth hormone could produce.
  • Never Fed Animal By-Products - According to some studies, it has been shown that some conventional producers have done many things to further cut costs of feeding out cattle. Some producers have fed what is called “by-product feedstuff” such as restaurant garbage, stale bread, poultry feathers, and snack foods. According to Jo Robinson of Eat Wild, it seems until 1997, U.S. cattle were also being fed meat that had been trimmed from other cattle, in effect turning “herbivores into carnivores”.This unnatural practice is believed to be the underlying cause of BSE or “mad cow” disease. We feed grass, plain and simple, just the way nature intended.

Totally aside from the health benefits of grass-fed beef, the five of us who ate our Dexter New York strip steaks last night all agreed that the taste was absolutely amazing!  It was delicious (the best way to describe it is "it tastes like real beef"), juicy and totally tender!

This weekend has been a big celebration weekend between Jenny's graduation from JASOC and Kara (our youngest) celebrating her 25th birthday today.  We ate at one of the best local (non-chain) restaurants in the Chattanooga area, and Herb and Jean-Marc both ordered the New York strip steak.  They shared with the rest of us, and all of us agreed:  our beef was more tender!

We are pretty much walking on air (since we've been raising Dexters for two years now without ever tasting Dexter beef!) to find that we made the right choice choosing Dexters and choosing grass-fed!  There's nothing to beat that feeling of accomplishment!


  1. Those steaks look excellent! Well done. I mean, rare for the steak but well done for the farmers.

  2. Great job, those steaks look great. We can't wait until we can grow our own.

  3. Thanks, Brent! I know you know the thrill of tasting your first beef. And yes, we ate them medium rare--something we learned in France. No more killing the cow twice like so many Americans do! :)

    May this encourage you, Gordon; it's worth every bit of the work and the wait!

  4. Eating the rewards of your labor! Now, you've made me hungry so I better go eat lunch (it's been a busy day!) I know you all are delighted with T-bone's t-bones! Barbara

  5. Lol. I just found your blog through the SeeJamie blog, but your post caught my eye. We just bought our first cow this fall. We didn't raise it ourselves, but it's our first experience with grassfed beef this way. It's sooo delicious and I love having our freezer stocked with so much meat! The steak part is fantastic because we don't normally buy steak :). My husband is definitely enjoying it!

  6. Mine, too, Annie! The first thing he wanted to try was the steak! :) Now I have to learn how to make roasts some other way besides in a crock pot! I guess I have plenty to practice on! :D

  7. I know! We have lots of that! I'm sure there are some awesome roast recipes out there! Thanks for visiting my blog. I did see that you left a comment, but I had made some changes to the article and apparently it wouldn't let me publish the comments from before I changed it, but thanks so much!!


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