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Our Top 8
In this weeks blog, I've put together a list from most to least important criteria for buying meat and why we think it matters.
Today’s world of marketing claims is murky at best so it’s super easy to lose sight of what matters most. Our now 25+ years in the meat industry have really opened our eyes to things we never would have guessed are actually going on... I’ve put together this comprehensive list from most important to least important criteria in how to shop for meat. Many of these criteria can, and often do, overlap but if the preceding criteria is not in place, the sub criteria becomes far less valuable. Before you hit 'Buy', be sure you’re not majoring in the minors.
Humanely Harvested may surprise you as being our #1. We view this criteria as the most important aspect because no matter how it was raised, every animal deserves dignity and our utmost respect. A life well lived can be quickly forgotten with anything less than a graceful harvest. Zero-Stress Field harvest would be the most preferable option.
Regenerative is the holy grail of the natural world. You can’t be regenerating soil and landscapes using chemicals, overstocking, overgrazing, or short-sighted practices that rob resources. We view everything we do through, “Are we giving back?”
100% Grass Fed and Finished
100% Grass-fed and Finished is a huge accolade. You can be regenerative and still feed grains. A natural, grass fed diet leads to the healthiest animals and ultimately the healthiest, most nutrient dense meat.
You can technically be 100% Grass Fed and Finished while feeding animals hay in a continual confined space similar to a feedlot setting. Pasture Raised animals raised grazing on the land is a key component to healthy animals and healthy ecosystems.
Organic methods are very valuable, but in and of themselves, they leave wiggle room for undesirable traits. Grain feeding, as long as it’s certified organic grain, is completely acceptable under the organic claim. Organic is a good sub-layer to look for.
Non-GMO is similar to organic but doesn’t come with a certification that the grains are 100% glyphosate (herbicide) free. This is another good “sub-layer” to be looking for but shouldn’t be the top criteria.
All Natural actually has nothing to do with how the animal was raised. Rather, it refers to how the meat is handled during processing, also known as minimally processed. All Natural simply means no artificial or synthetic colors added. To us, it means we do as little as absolutely possible. Every time the meat touches a person or a machine, the risk of contamination goes up. Also, we believe nature does it best so we want to let nature shine. Keep it simple.
Heritage Breed, often also referred to as an 'old-world breed', tends to grow slower, creating a more natural, nutritionally dense protein. Genetic selection done in many domestic species such as cattle or pigs have expedited the time it takes that animal to grow big enough to harvest. Diet has far more to do with this than the breed but it genetic selection provides the capacity to grow fast. Though a good 'icing on the cake', heritage breed attributes are always trumped by how it was raised.
Shop based upon these principles in order and you’ll absolutely taste and feel the difference!
Live Well This Week,
- Sean & the Northstar Tribe