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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman



I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat


Great Soil Makes Great Meat and Great Vegetables

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat and Tender Grassfed Barbecue

Rich grass on John Wood's farm.

Rich, nutrient-dense grass on John Wood's farm—the perfect food for cattle.

I was in a hurry Saturday afternoon. I had to make a pot roast, but I had very little time. So I decided that we would settle for a meal that was good and nutritious, but simple and easy to prepare. I browned the grassfed roast in grassfed beef suet, took it out of the pan, and browned an onion and some shallots in the drippings. I returned the roast to the pan, added some water, salt and pepper, covered it, and stuck it in a low oven. The whole procedure took about ten minutes. Several hours later, we ate what I thought would be a mediocre but acceptable pot roast. I was wrong.

The roast was absolutely delicious, with a wonderful rich flavor, and a great texture. We all remarked on how wonderful it was. I was shocked that it tasted so good. After thinking about it, I realized what made the meal so wonderful—the quality of the ingredients.

But why were the ingredients so good? After all, all the meat we eat is grassfed, and all the vegetables we eat are organic. After some thought, I realized that all the ingredients came from farms that had particularly great soil, from farmers who really cared about the quality of their food The lesson I learned is that even in the world of real food, some food is exceptional.

The Importance of Soil

Every plant and grass gets its nutrition from the soil—the richer the soil, the more nutritious the plant. Grassfed cattle get their nutrition from the grass. Grass growing in rich soil makes great feed for cattle, resulting in great flavor and nutrition, and fatter cattle, which are more tender and flavorful. Factory agriculture depletes the soil, relying on chemicals and artificial fertilizer to produce plants that are far inferior to plants grown on rich soil. Yet even good soil is not as desirable as great soil.

The Wonderful Meat

The roast came from U.S. Wellness Meats. I have been ordering grassfed beef from U.S. Wellness Meats regularly since August 2006. They sold me the first grassfed meat I successfully cooked. Their meat was excellent then. The business has grown a great deal since 2006, and the quality of the meat has changed. It has become steadily better, more tender, more flavorful, more energizing. While the quality of most companies’ products suffer as they grow bigger, U.S. Wellness Meats is an exception to the rule. I credit the fact that their meat is getting steadily better to their founder, John Wood, who constantly takes measures to improve the quality of the soil on his farm, and to raise even better meat. This blog post I did on how John is improving the soil on his farm shows how he did it:  Grassfed Farmer Renews the Land. The improving quality and terrific flavor of his already superb meat show the results. The wonderful natural flavor of the meat was a huge factor in producing this easy, yet delicious roast.

The Amazing Onion and Shallots

There is a farm at our local farmers market. A couple months ago, I passed their stand and was struck by the beautiful vibrant color of their organic Italian peppers. We already bought our produce from another organic farm in the market, and were very happy with their produce, but these peppers looked so wonderful, I bought a few. After sautéing the peppers simply, we were completely blown away with their incredible flavor and pleasing texture. And we felt good after eating them, a feeling I usually get only when eating grassfed meat.

Next week, we stopped at the stand, and bought all kinds of gorgeous produce. I talked to the farmer, and told him how much I enjoyed the peppers. He said, “This is the food I feed my family.” He said it seriously, with pride and satisfaction, as if feeding his family was the most important thing in the world, and it was his duty to do it well, and he knew he was doing his duty. We talked a bit more, and he spoke about the natural measures he took to improve his soil, which he did every single year. No chemical fertilizer or pesticides for his family! No wonder his produce was so wonderful.

The onion and shallots came from his farm, and their rich complex flavor blended perfectly with the fantastic meat from U.S. Wellness Meats.

All factory foods taste pretty much the same. Factory beef has the same flavor, no matter where it comes from. All factory vegetables taste pretty much the same as well. But grassfed beef had a wide variety of tastes, and grassfed beef from cattle raised on healthy grass growing on rich soil has incredible flavor and tenderness. Organic or the equivalent vegetables also vary widely in flavor, but the very best comes from those wise farmers who improve their soil. When you eat food of this very high quality, even a simple, easy recipe can result in a magnificent meal.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Becoming a Grassfed Farmer

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grassfed lambs grazing at Broad River Pastures, a sustainable farm.

Grassfed sheep grazing at Broad River Pastures.

Good food starts with good farmers. The knowledge of how to raise healthy animals on grass is priceless. Good farmers know their land, their animals, their plants, and how to manage them so that everything thrives.

Factory farming relies on “one size fits all” formulas and schedules to do everything. Factory animals are given drugs, antibiotics, and supplements on a particular schedule that is usually the same for all of them. They are fed on grass for the same amount of time, given supplemental feed containing the same ingredients, shipped to the feedlot at a precise age, and kept in the feedlot for a time that does not vary from cow to cow. No wonder their meat all tastes the same—bland, greasy, and dull.

Grassfed farming depends on the actual conditions on the farm, and knowledge of how to use those conditions to produce healthy animals with enough fat to be tender. Often the knowledge of how to do this is passed on from parents to the next generation of farmers.

But what if someone who did not grow up on a farm tries to learn how to raise grassfed meat?

Jon and Cathy Payne had successful careers in urban America. Jon had been in the security business for 35 years. Cathy had spent 38 years in elementary education. Instead of retiring to a life of comfortable idleness, Jon and Cathy decided to become farmers, producing real food on good soil, food of the highest quality.

Jon and Cathy recently bought some sheep, and plan to raise grassfed lamb. I had the pleasure of interviewing Cathy today.

Neither Jon nor Cathy came from farm families, and neither one of them knew anything about farming. They have learned a great deal by talking to local farmers, attending farm conferences, talking to people at buying clubs, and using Internet resources such as Yahoo Groups and various farming forums—and their own constantly increasing experience.

The motto of their farm, Broad River Pastures, is “promoting nutrient dense food and preserving heritage breeds.”

Heritage breeds are animals that are particularly good for specific purposes, which have been developed by careful breeding over hundreds, if not thousands of years. They are an important part of the human heritage. Yet many of these breeds are in danger of dying out as they are replaced by new industrial breeds that serve the purposes of the large industrial agriculture companies.

Jon and Cathy are preserving heritage breeds by raising them at Broad River Pastures. One of the breeds they are preserving is known as the Gulf Coast Sheep, or the “Gulf Coast Native Sheep.” These sheep are descendents of the sheep brought to the Gulf Coast by the Spaniards hundreds of years ago. They were allowed to roam the forests, and have completely adapted to the sandy soil, local forage, and heat and humidity of the region. They are immune to the local parasites, which will kill other breeds of sheep when they are still lambs. This hardy animal produces rich milk, tasty meat, and wool. These sheep need no assistance with lambing, and are able to deliver their own lambs right in the pasture. The Gulf Coast Sheep is in danger of extinction, but Jon and Cathy are raising some of them at Broad River Pastures. These sheep, purchased in June, are thriving at the farm. They will breed, and lambs will be born, and, if all goes well, some wonderful grassfed lamb will be available next year.

Raising grassfed sheep is much harder than the industrial version. The sheep get almost all their nourishment from the grass and meadow plants on the farm. Cathy told me that you need healthy soil to have healthy meadow plants, and you need healthy meadow plants to have healthy lambs, and you need healthy lambs to have healthy, delicious grassfed meat.

This means that Jon and Cathy, like all grassfed farmers, must monitor the condition of their soil, and enrich it with the minerals and manure and other substances that make the soil healthy. This can be a huge amount of work, and very expensive in buying the materials required. Jon and Cathy have fenced their pastures, so they will be able to practice rotational grazing, which will enrich the soil, but that takes time and a sizable herd, so they have had to invest a lot of time and money into soil enrichment. This time and money will ultimately be worth it, because the rich soil will support healthy grass and meadow plants that will feed healthy lambs.

Jon and Cathy have obtained an English Shepherd, yet another endangered heritage breed, to herd and act as general farm dog. Jon and Cathy are using another heritage breed of dog, a Great Pyrenees, to protect their herds from predators.

Jon and Cathy are raising other heritage breeds of other animals, and are planning to raise all kinds of fruit and crops along with the grassfed lamb. If you would like to support them in their endeavors, you can purchase some very healthy liver treats from them for your dogs. Here is the link to their farm, Broad River Pastures, where there is a contact page.

I am grateful to Jon and Cathy for becoming sustainable farmers, for saving heritage breeds, and for raising grassfed lamb.

This post is part of Monday Mania,  Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Rich Pasture Means Delicious, Fragrant, Grassfed Meat

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Rich grass on John Wood's farm.

Rich grass on John Wood's farm.

Recently the issue arose on Facebook as to why some grassfed meat might have a strong, almost fishy smell. The opinion was expressed that the steer might have eaten wild onion or wild garlic, which are known to give a bad taste and smell to milk. Should a good grassfed farmer remove wild onion and wild garlic from their pastures?

As I do not raise grassfed meat, (though I certainly cook it and eat it), I posed the question to two of the best grassfed ranchers I know: John Wood of U.S. Wellness Meats, and Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards.

John qualifies because his meat is always delicious, and smells great while it is cooking and even better when it is done.

Chris qualifies because his meat is also always delicious, and also smells great at all stages of cooking and eating.

John has never had an issue with wild garlic or wild onions, and has not noticed them on his land. John is of the opinion that a good stand of grass usually chokes out wild garlic and wild onion. John’s pastures have some of the richest, greenest, most beautiful grass I have ever seen. John has substantially increased the density and richness of his grass by rotational grazing techniques, and by enriching the soil with ancient vegetable matter. Meat from his farm, raised on that wonderful grass, is in a class of its own, in my opinion. I have eaten a lot of John’s beef over the last six years.

Chris said that what the animal eats has a huge effect on flavor. Eating a lot of wild garlic and wild onion will have a big effect on the taste and smell of the meat However, Chris is opposed to removing wild garlic and wild onion from grazing land. As Chris pointed out, removing any natural plant from a pasture will affect the natural balance, and something else will take its place. Chris stated that cattle will not eat pungent plants like wild garlic and wild onion in normal conditions. They prefer sweet grasses. Cattle will eat pungent plants for medicinal purposes, and Chris has observed his cattle treating themselves by eating certain pungent plants and grasses when they have a need. However, this is only done on a short-term basis. Also, the amount of pungent plants they eat for this purpose is in small quantities, not enough to interfere with the flavor or smell of the meat. The other situation where cattle will eat wild garlic and wild onion is when they do not have enough other suitable feed (like grass) to eat, and will eat anything out of hunger. This could certainly affect the taste and smell of the meat. I have visited Chris’s farm, and seen the beautiful rich, green grass the cattle graze on. Grazing is rotated to enrich the soil and the grass. The soil on Chris’s farm is particularly rich, and has never been sprayed with chemicals. It provides dense, sweet, green grass that the cattle love. The grass gives the cattle a deep, beefy flavor that I love.

It is clear that having plenty of good sweet grass, and providing adequate pasture prevents the problem.

You can buy John’s meat at U.S. Wellness Meats.

Chaffin Family Orchards does not sell its meat over the Internet, but you can buy it directly from the ranch or at the farmer’s markets where Chaffin sells meat, or some buying clubs. Chaffin does sell its magnificent olive oil over the Internet. This olive oil is my absolute favorite, and my first choice for marinating meat.

While John’s Missouri grassfed beef tastes different from the California grassfed beef raised by Chris, both tastes are wonderful, and I love to eat both of them.

This post is part of Monday Mania and  Real Food Wednesday blog carnivals.

Food Freedom Is a Basic Human Right

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

We the People
Creative Commons License photo credit: Chuck “Caveman” Coker

The recent premiere of the movie Farmageddon, which details the ruthless persecution of small family farmers by various government agencies, inspired this post.

We have the right to free speech. We have the right to freedom of religion. We have the right to freedom of association. We have the right to privacy. The government recognizes these rights. But there is a vital right that is just as crucial, just as fundamental, just as personal as these other rights—the right to choose the food we eat.

There is no human activity as important as eating. If we do not eat, we die. If we do not eat the foods needed by our bodies, we suffer from nutritional deficiencies. If we eat foods that are toxic to us, we get sick or even die. Everyone is an individual with different needs. Each of us has the right to make the decision as to what we eat for ourselves. There are any number of conflicting theories on what people should eat or should not eat—and many of the theories are based on greed more than anything else. But the point is this—the choice as to what to eat belongs to each individual, and to nobody else.

The government denies this basic human right, citing “safety.”

Safety is often inconsistent with freedom.

We can skydive. We can drive cars on dangerous freeways, though tens of thousands are killed in accidents every year. We can drink known poisons such as alcoholic beverages, though alcohol contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year. We can hunt, though many die in hunting accidents. We can bungee jump. We can ride motorcycles. We can fly small planes. We can take part in a huge number of dangerous activities, all allowed by our government. But we are not allowed to drink a glass of raw milk, or eat a slice of raw cheese.

Government agencies are trying to prevent us from eating these foods by destroying the farms that produce them.

The freedom to choose what food we put in our mouths is a basic human right. If we do not have the freedom to control what goes into our bodies, what we choose to eat and drink, what freedom do we have? Who could possibly deny us that basic human right?

The government agencies can. The FDA has actually stated, in court documents, that we have no right to choose our food, and that we have no right to obtain the food we choose to eat. Is this the United States of America? The land of the free?

The freedom to choose our food is a basic human right, which no government agency should interfere with. The freedom to have access to the food of our choice is a necessary part of the right to choose our food, which is why the freedom of farmers to raise real food must be protected.

We must convince our elected representatives that the freedom to choose our food is a right just as important as freedom of speech, or any other fundamental right.

Freedom is basic to this country, and that includes the freedom to make our own choices about food.

This post is part of Save Farm Freedom Friday blog carnival.

I Am Grateful for Grassfed Meat and Real Food

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Roast Spring Grassfed Lamb with Asperagus and Potatoes--Recipe by Stanley A. Fishman

Roast grassfed Spring lamb with organic asparagus and potatoes.

I am grateful for grassfed meat and real food. Thanks to the ranchers and farmers who raise real food. Thanks to those who spread the truth about food.

I was sitting quietly last night, thinking about my life. The life that was supposed to have ended eight years ago. The life that is free of pain and illness. The life that is drug-free, medication-free, doctor-free, and symptom-free. The life that is full of joy and love and purpose. The life that is full of wonderful, delicious, nourishing food, the food that made life itself possible.

And I thought about the people who spread the word, giving me the knowledge that saved my life and made the health and joy I experience every day possible.

I am deeply grateful to those who raise the food, and to those who spread the word.

From There to Here

As discussed in detail in the “About” section on this website, I was very ill for most of my life. After getting a medical death sentence in 1998, and being told I had no more than five years left, I realized that the medical profession could not help me. I searched for another way, and found the teachings of Dr. Weston A. Price, as demonstrated and presented by the Weston A. Price Foundation.

My path to health was nothing more or less than eating the right food, and avoiding the wrong food. The right food is the unmodified food eaten by our ancestors, designed by nature to make us strong and keep us healthy. The wrong food is modern factory food and artificial ingredients, designed by greedy men to make money.

The right food includes the meat and fat of grassfed animals, pastured animals, wild fish, and vegetables grown in good soil, without chemicals. The right food also includes traditional foods like butter, full fat cheese, pastured eggs, unmodified and unprocessed milk, fermented foods like sauerkraut and other lacto-fermented vegetables, organ meats from grassfed or pastured or wild animals, and many other traditional foods. The right food is demonized by the government, the media, the medical profession, the drug industry, industry, the educational system, and big agriculture.

Why do they demonize the food we need to thrive and be healthy? Because people who eat the right food and avoid the wrong food have little or no need for doctors, drugs, or industrial agriculture.

When I avoided the wrong food and ate the right food: my health returned, as did my eyesight, sense of smell, energy, joy of life, enthusiasm, and many other qualities associated with youth. Last night, I enjoyed a wonderful feeling of total well-being, health, and contentment—at age 59.

None of this would have been possible without two very wonderful groups of people. Those who spread the word and those who raise the food.

Thanks to Those Who Spread the Word

My first thanks goes, with all my heart, to Dr. Weston A. Price. Dr. Price spent 10 years traveling around the world to learn the truth about nutrition. He succeeded, and recorded his findings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, a book that explains and documents this truth. I am a living example of the truth of his teachings, as are many others. The last words of Dr. Price were not about himself, but his calling – “You teach, you teach, you teach!”

My second thanks goes to Sally Fallon Morell, the founder and President of the Weston A. Price Foundation. Nobody has heeded the call of Dr. Price better than her. She made the teachings of Dr. Price far more understandable and accessible, posting a free library of nutritional truth at the Foundation’s website, writing a magnificent cookbook and nutrition resource entitled Nourishing Traditions, and selflessly spreading the teachings of Dr. Price throughout the world through the Foundation and her own travels. The website of the Weston A. Price Foundation gave me the knowledge I needed.

My third thanks goes to the many others who spread the teachings of Dr. Price, and/or other nutritional wisdom, often through blogging, writing books and articles, and giving seminars and lectures. The list of these people is just too long to include by name.

My fourth thanks goes to everybody who had the courage and wisdom to actually try real food, and to share their experience with their families, neighbors, and friends.

Thanks to the Ranchers and Farmers

Knowing what to eat is not enough. You have to be able to find the food. Raising real food is much more difficult and requires far more knowledge than raising factory food. My deep gratitude to all who raise grassfed meat and other real food, without chemicals, in accordance with the laws of nature.

I will thank those wonderful farmers and ranchers who raise the food eaten by my family, including John Wood and all the folks at U.S. Wellness, Glenn and Caryl Elzinga of Alderspring Ranch, Ed Wimble and his partners at Homestead Natural Foods, Reed Anderson of Anderson Ranches, Lee and Mary Graese of Northstar Bison, Leland Mora of Humboldt Grassfed Beef, Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards, the farmers at the Danville and Walnut Creek Farmers’ Markets, and everybody else who has had a part in raising the wonderful food we are so lucky to eat.

I owe my good health to two magnificent groups of people—those who spread the truth, and those who raise real food.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Earth Day, Grassfed Meat, and Dr. Weston A. Price

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Chest high ice cream grass at US Wellness gives superior grassfed meat.

Happy cows grazing on rich grass grown on soil restored by John Wood of U.S. Wellness Meats.

Earth Day was created to appreciate and encourage the preservation of the natural blessings of our planet. Perhaps the greatest threat to our planet and ourselves is the massive loss of good soil that has been going on since the last century. Without good soil, most life cannot ultimately survive. The attack on our soil has been led by the chemical industry, and factory farmers who abuse the land, killing the very life in the soil, causing erosion, and a reduction in usable water. Massive soil erosion leads to deserts. Yet it is not too late to save and restore our soil.

Conventional science, with its incomplete knowledge and obsessive focus on grants and profits, is not going to save us. In fact, it is the products of conventional science, such as pesticides, artificial fertilizers, modified plants and germs, and massive chemical pollution from artificial chemicals that are the greatest cause of the problem. But nature itself can save us, if we have the humility and wisdom to follow nature’s laws.

Nature itself has left a blueprint on how to make good soil, and tens of millions of desert acres have been turned into fertile grasslands, with long-dead rivers and streams coming back to life as part of the process. This was accomplished by following nature’s laws.

Dr. Weston A. Price, the pioneer who discovered the truth about nutrition, said it this way:

“Life in all its fullness is nature’s laws obeyed.”

Why Good Soil is Crucial for Life

Soil that will nourish healthy life is much more than just dirt. It is a magnificent combination of minerals, bacteria, insects, microbes, and many nutrients (including unknown substances), all coming together to form the very source of life.

Plants need soil to grow, and soil needs plants to hold it in place against wind and rain, or it just erodes away. The nutrients in the soil grow the plants that keep the soil in place.

These nutrients nourish the plants that grow in this good soil, and the nutrients go into the plants, which pass these nutrients on to the people and animals who eat them. Food plants grown in good soil contain many vital nutrients that we all need to be fully healthy. Animals grazing on these rich plants develop nutrients in their flesh, fat and organs which are crucial for human health, and which are only there if the animals get all the nutrients they require.

It is crucial to understand that science has not identified all of these nutrients, and does not know everything about how they work together. But our bodies know, and expect all these nutrients to be there in the food we eat.

Dr. Weston A. Price discovered that traditional peoples eating the diets of their ancestors, foods from animals grazing on rich soil, plants grown in rich soil, or seafood taken from the rich ocean, were immune to tooth decay. This immunity went far beyond tooth decay, as these people did not have cancer, heart disease, asthma, allergies, birth defects, mental problems, or any of the host of chronic diseases that torment modern humanity. Dr. Price understood that good soil was the mother of good food, and included a chapter on the vital importance of soil in his magnificent work, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

How the Soil is Lost

Growing and harvesting certain crops depletes the soil of nutrients. Farming the same soil year after year could lead to erosion. The traditional solution was to rotate fields, to let the land rest and renew, or plant certain crops that would restore nutrients to the soil. Natural fertilizers like animal manure were also used. These solutions worked, but part of the land could not be used for food crops while it rested. Science supposedly “solved” this problem by using artificial fertilizers. These fertilizers enabled crops to grow in depleted soil. The same land could be used for crop after crop, without rest. But these fertilizers only provided some minerals and nutrients, not all of them. In fact, some of these fertilizers interfered with the ability of the plants to absorb nutrients. The plants that grew from the depleted soil were weak and far less able to resist pests, so artificial pesticides were introduced. Pesticides are poisons that kill plants and insects. The introduction of these poisonous artificial chemicals into the soil changed it, having a dramatic effect on the life in the soil, and killing much of that life. Soil is also damaged and changed by artificial chemicals created by industry, which are not part of the natural cycle.

Soil is also damaged and contaminated by the huge amounts of manure and liquid created by CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). The miserable animals in CAFOs are crammed together in a small space and not allowed to graze. They are fed grains and other species-inappropriate feeds. This cruel and unnatural practice creates huge lagoons of manure and urine that greatly exceed the ability of the land to absorb them.

The result of this artificial tampering with the soil was less nutrients. Plants cannot have nutrients that are not in the soil. Food animals cannot have nutrients that are not in the plants. People cannot get nutrients that are not in the plants and animal foods we eat. Our bodies cannot function properly without all the nutrients we have evolved to need.

Artificial agriculture has caused a huge loss of useable soil, a serious loss that is continuing. And the soil that remains has far less nutrients. Even in the 1940s, studies showed that fruits and vegetables had far less vitamins and minerals than vegetables grown in the 1920s. The situation is much worse today. For example, researchers have tested commercial oranges that contained hardly any vitamin C.

How Nature Makes Good Soil

We can restore the health of the soil by following nature’s laws. The Great Plains of the United States were some of the richest land ever known on earth. Before the plains were fenced and farmed, more than 60 million bison roamed the plains. The bison traveled in tightly packed herds, so they could defend each other against predators. The herd would travel into an area, eating all the grass, and breaking up the earth with their hooves and concentrated numbers, using their hooves to expose more grass. As they ate the grass, seeds would fall off and get trampled into the earth by the hooves of the massed bison. They would deposit their manure on the soil, returning the nutrients to it.

In effect, the bison actually farmed the land. They harvested the grass by eating it. They plowed the land by breaking it up with their hooves. They planted the new grass by trampling the seeds into the earth. They fertilized the land with their manure.

Then they would move on, leaving the land to rest and grow. By the time the herd returned, they would be greeted with a new crop of rich green grass, and the cycle would begin again.

All of the great grasslands in the world were created in this manner, with different types of animals and herd sizes.

But the blueprint remained the same—the animals were concentrated into tight herds, the herd grazed in a concentrated manner, then moved on, allowing the land to rest, recover, and regrow.

Many grassfed ranchers follow these methods, concentrating their herds, doing intensive grazing, then moving the herds so the land can recover. Some of these ranchers add additional natural nutrients to their soil as well. (See Grassfed Farmer Renews the Land.) Every time I buy grassfed meat, I am supporting these ranchers who are restoring the soil with their herds. Every time I eat the meat and fat from animals raised on rich grass, I am blessed by receiving a full natural range of nutrients, giving my body exactly what it needs to function properly.

These methods have been adapted and used to literally change millions of acres of desert into grassland. Even long-dead streams have come back.

We can restore our good soil to the earth, by following nature’s laws.

This post is part of Monday Mania,  Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Grassfed Ranchers Renew the Land by Raising Wild Bison

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Creative Commons License photo credit: brooklyn Bison at Yellowstone

If you have eaten bison recently, you probably think it tastes just like conventional beef. That is because 95% of the bison sold in the U.S. has been fed the same horrid corn-soy diet that is given to factory beef. But real bison, grassfed bison, tastes nothing like that.

Real bison has a mild, distinct, slightly sweet taste of its own. A primal flavor, that is unique and wonderful. A fresh, compelling taste that tells your body to keep eating, something incredibly nourishing and satisfying is happening. Eating real bison makes me very happy, on many levels. And the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment I experience when I have eaten enough real bison is something special. There is something in real bison that refreshes, renews, revitalizes, and satisfies. I do not know what it is, but it is definitely there, but only in real bison eating its natural diet of grass and meadow plants.

One of the very few places you can get bison of this quality is Northstar Bison, a ranch where they raise wild bison with no artificial feed. How do they raise something that is wild? Well, the bison mostly raise themselves.

The ranchers only manage the grazing, using techniques that renew and enrich the land, following the patterns established by the bison themselves.

How the Great Plains Became Great Soil

Nature has developed its own way of creating great soil. A prime example is the Great Plains of the United States of America, which were some of the richest land on Earth.

Once, the Great Plains were roamed by huge herds of bison. The number of bison has been estimated at over sixty million. These bison roamed the plains in immense herds. Witnesses to these herds in the nineteenth century wrote that it took days for these herds to pass a particular spot. These herds would literally break up the land they grazed on with their hooves, eating the older growth, trampling the seeds deep into the earth, and enriching the soil with their manure. This enabled microorganisms in the soil to thrive, to fill the earth with life. Because the bison herds were so concentrated, they literally changed the land they grazed on. This was nature’s way of harvesting, plowing, fertilizing, and planting the earth.

The bison would then move on, allowing the land to rest for months before they returned. The land would use this time to grow rich new grass, in soil that was even more fertile than it had been. The roots set down by the grasses would hold moisture in the soil, helping the growth of the microorganisms that filled the soil with life and nutrients. Then the bison would return, to thrive on the rich new grass and start the whole cycle over again.

Northstar Bison Renews the Soil

Northstar Bison was founded by Lee and Mary Graese, on the site of an old dairy farm. Lee Graese had been fascinated by bison since he was a small boy, and always wanted to have some. The ranch is a fulfillment of his dream. The Graeses are devoted to raising real bison, in the most natural way possible. They have studied natural grazing practices, and put them into effect on their ranch. The method used is called intensive grazing and rest, and follows nature’s ways. The bison are concentrated in a particular pasture, and then moved to a new pasture when the time is right. Just like their ancestors, they enrich the land they graze on. Once the bison have left the pasture, the land is allowed to rest, renewing itself with the resources contributed by the bison. The new grass is allowed to grow. When the bison return, the grass is richer than ever.

This method of ranching enriches and restores the soil, rather than depleting it.

How the Bison Raise Themselves

The bison eat grass and meadow plants, selecting their own feed from what grows in the pasture. They can do this even in winter. The bison are able to smell grass under two feet of snow, and they actually dig through the snow to reach the grass. There is only one time when the bison are given supplementary feed, which consists of sun-dried hay from the ranch. When there is a thaw in the winter, the snow can melt. When the weather gets down to freezing again, ice forms that can make it difficult for the bison to reach the grass. The sun-dried hay is made available to the bison at these times.

The ranch is home to various predators, including bears, coyotes, and wolves. The bison are so good at protecting themselves and their young that the Graeses have never lost a calf to a predator.

The bison are healthy, robust animals that rarely, if ever get ill. Sometimes they do get injured when they fight among themselves. When they are sick or injured, they have a way of hiding their weakness so a predator will not target them.

The bison deliver their own young without aid. These healthy, unmodified animals do not need human help to reproduce or give birth.

In fact, the main way the Graeses manage their herd is to move them to new pastures. For bison, the grass is truly greener on the other side of the fence. The bison know when it is time to move to new pasture, and it is routine for them to gather at the gate when they want the Graeses to open it.

The Field Kill Method Is Merciful and Results in Sweet, Flavorful Meat

The Graeses use the field kill method. Every hunter knows that the meat of an animal which is killed by surprise will taste much better than the meat of an animal which is chased. This is because adrenalin and other hormones are released into the bloodstream when an animal gets scared or angry. These hormones give a very gamy, bitter taste to the meat. Since the dawn of time, hunters have always tried to kill the animal instantly, by surprise, to avoid the meat being ruined by these stress hormones. Another benefit is that an animal killed this way does not suffer.

The field kill method consists of shooting the animal from behind, without warning. A steel-jacketed bullet is shot into the bison’s head just behind the ear, which results in immediate death, without suffering. Because there is no suffering, none of the stress hormones are released into the meat, which remains sweet and is not even slightly gamy.

Since a steel-jacketed bullet is used, there are no lead fragments in the animal from the shooting.

The Blessings of Wild Bison

The meat sold by Northstar Bison is as real and natural as meat can get. No added hormones. No antibiotics. No feedlots. No species-inappropriate feed. No chemicals.

What you get is meat that is the equivalent of wild game, with all the natural nutrients. This meat is particularly rich in nutrients because the animals graze on grass growing in rich soil, soil which is full of minerals and other nutrients. Bison is naturally lean, but the fat is full of omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and other beneficial nutrients.

There is also what I call the “y factor.” There is something in grassfed bison that makes me feel better and satisfied. I do not know what it is, but nothing else has it. My hunger is also satisfied with a smaller amount of bison meat. It is so dense with nutrients that my body is satisfied with less. When you are satisfied, the desire to eat is over.

Grassfed bison must be cooked properly, or it will be tough and not taste good. Tender Grassfed Meat has many bison recipes that result in delicious bison.

Buying Great Bison

I am very grateful that the Graeses have made their terrific meat available over the Internet. I have been a happy customer for many years.

Northstar Bison also owns the facility where their meat is processed. This means that they can easily custom cut your meat. It is important that you know what you want and describe it in detail, but they can get it for you. I have taken full advantage of this flexibility to order cuts that are not on their regular price list. This is a great way to get really thick steaks and bone-in roasts. The regular selection of cuts at their online store is huge, but you can ask them to custom cut additional selections. One of my favorite custom orders is bison suet, which you can order separately, and is actually a very popular item.

Wild bison meat, from animals that have been fed only grass and hay, is one of the tastiest and best meats you can eat. My thanks to the Graeses for making this healthy and delicious meat available.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Grassfed Beef Ending in Argentina—But Reborn in the U.S.

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Grass landscape
Creative Commons License photo credit: lrargerich\

The Pampas of Argentina were once the finest cattle-grazing country on Earth. The lush grasses grew so high that they could cover a rider on a horse. This noble green grass was full of nutrients from the rich soil. Nutrients that sustained vast herds of some of the most magnificent grassfed cattle the world has ever seen. Grassfed beef was the most popular food in Argentina, often eaten daily. Grassfed beef became Argentina’s largest export.

The Pampas are no longer green. Much of these once magnificent grasslands have been plowed under, and the land is brown with GMO soy. Soy is more profitable than cattle, and soy has become Argentina’s largest export. Nearly all Argentine cattle are destined for the feedlot, where they are fed GMO corn and GMO soy. Most of the remaining grassfed beef is exported to Europe.

One of the healthiest food traditions on Earth is dying with the Pampas, as it is now very difficult for Argentines to find the grassfed beef that was once their heritage.

The land of rich grasslands has become the land of soy, to the loss of all humanity.

Yet in the United States, a small but growing band of intrepid ranchers are bringing back the grasslands, using rotational grazing methods to restore the soil, and producing wonderful grassfed beef.

Death of a Dream

Ever since I was a small boy, I was fascinated by the Pampas, which were an extensive area of rich, lush grasslands, located mostly in Argentina but partly in Uruguay. These grasslands were the home of huge herds of cattle that thrived on the tall, lush grasses. A sea of rich, green grass. Grass so tall that a mounted rider could hide in it. Grass that grew lush on some of the richest soil Earth has ever known. Grass eaten by cattle that provided some of the finest beef the world has ever produced. I read of the colorful gauchos, the Argentine equivalent of the American cowboys, fearless men who raised cattle in the Pampas. As I grew older, I read about the magnificence of Argentine beef and barbecue, and decided that I would go there someday to enjoy it. As a cook and cookbook writer specializing in grassfed meat, I was inspired by the Argentine tradition of fine grassfed beef, and was impatient to go there and learn about cooking grassfed beef at the source.

Much of the Pampas is now plowed under and brown with GMO soy. Those grasslands are gone forever, the soil stained with pesticides.

It took nature thousands and thousands of years to create the grasslands. Herds of migrating animals would graze in an area, breaking up the soil with their hooves, trampling seeds deep into the soil, fertilizing the earth with their manure. Then, the herd would move on, leaving the soil alone, to recover and renew. The seeds grew into grass, set down roots that held water in the soil, water that helped the grass grow, and nourished the microorganisms that filled the earth with life and nutrients. When the herd returned, they were greeted with rich green grass that nourished them, increasing their numbers, as they broke up the earth with their hooves, eating the older growth, depositing their manure, and continuing the cycle before they moved on. The earth and the grasslands rested and grew even richer grass. This cycle, repeated time after time, built the good soil and the grasslands. The herds renewed the soil and the grass fed the herds. The Pampas were one of the finest examples of this process, and the grasslands grew even richer when large herds of cattle were introduced.

The herds nourished the earth, the grass fed the herds, and the herds fed the people.

This glorious, sustainable cycle is being destroyed in the Pampas, replaced with GMO soy and pesticides.

It took nature untold thousands of years to create the Pampas—it took humans only a few years to destroy them.

My dream is dead.

The End of Grassfed Meat in Argentina

I would never have believed it. Argentina, whose very cuisine was based on the finest grassfed beef, is now dominated by the feedlot. Writer after writer has reported that it is now almost impossible to find grassfed beef in Argentina, even at the finest restaurants. The land of the gaucho has become the land of the feedlot, and the grassfed tradition looks dead.

How did this tragedy happen?

One of the problems was the introduction of GMO soy to the Pampas. Much of the grasslands were plowed under and ruined for cattle. This reduced the meat supply.

Another problem was the worldwide demand for cattle. The profits from exporting beef grew and grew. Argentine ranchers increasingly preferred to export their beef because of the higher prices. For the first time, the price of beef in Argentina itself became so high that many people were having trouble affording it. This led to great political unrest, as Argentines were outraged by the high price of domestic beef. The President of Argentina responded to the outrage by reducing exports and imposing price controls. The government also subsidized grain feeding of cattle to keep the price down. This had two terrible consequences. Even more ranchers converted their land to GMO soy production, because they could make considerably more money raising soy than cattle. More and more ranchers switched to the feedlot, so they could take advantage of the subsidies. By the end of 2010, almost all the beef available in Argentina came from the feedlot.

Grassfed Meat Is Reborn in the United States

The use of feedlots and grain feeding was developed in the United States, which resulted in the horrible factory beef that dominates the market. Yet the grassfed movement is growing. An increasing number of innovative ranchers are learning to raise and finish cattle, bison, and lamb on grass, and to avoid the feedlot. Many of these pioneers have studied Holistic Resource Management, and are using rotational grazing practices to rebuild the richness of the soil and grass. Some of them are enjoying great success, and the quality of grassfed American beef is getting better every year. This grassfed meat is so much more nourishing and so much tastier than the factory meat, there is no comparison. Once you have eaten properly cooked grassfed meat, there is no going back.

I am blessed to be living in a time when I can support these noble ranchers and thrive by eating their wonderful meat. I no longer desire to go to Argentina. I can learn everything I need to know right here in the United States, thanks to these great ranchers.

I have had the joy and privilege of eating wonderful grassfed meat from U.S. Wellness Meats, Northstar Bison, Humboldt Natural Beef, Chaffin Family Orchards, Homestead Natural Foods, Alderspring Ranch, Anderson Ranches, Bison Ridge Meats, Foxfire Farms, and others.

My deepest thanks to each and every one of them.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday, Fight Back Friday and Monday Mania blog carnivals.

Corn Shortage? Let Them Eat Grass

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Cows on a hillside eating green grass.

Grass—the ideal food for cattle

A meat shortage is coming. I hear this a lot from butchers and ranchers. The price of meat is already rising. The demand for meat is much greater than the supply, and the supply will not increase because of the rising price of corn. You would think that corn is necessary to raise livestock.

Corn is not a vital part of the diet of cattle, bison, or sheep. In fact, corn is an unnatural food for all of these species, which were designed to thrive on grass. My solution to the corn shortage is simple—let them eat grass.

The Price of Corn

The price of corn has been rising steadily in recent years. This has resulted in record corn crops, but the increased supply has not lowered prices. Why?

The answer is ethanol. The United States government supports the production of ethanol as an alternative fuel. Many other countries also favor the use of ethanol. While ethanol could theoretically be made from any plant matter, the U.S. has decided to support ethanol made from corn. Many farmers and large agricultural operations now grow corn solely for the purpose of making ethanol. These farmers invariably use massive amounts of artificial fertilizer, which requires substantial amounts of oil to produce and transport. The profitability of making ethanol has led to huge profits. It has also caused the cost of corn for animal feed to skyrocket. The use of corn for ethanol is blamed for a substantial increase in food prices all over the world.

The increase in the price of corn has made it much more expensive to raise animals in feedlots.

The Feedlot System Depends on Cheap Corn

Corn is an important component of the feed given to animals in feedlots, along with soy. The whole feedlot process is dependent on corn. The feedlot system was developed to make it much cheaper to raise and fatten meat animals. Cheap corn raised on artificial fertilizer was the basis of the whole system.

The feedlot system came about as a result of World War II. The war caused a huge demand for explosives, which created a number of large companies to fill the demand. These large and wealthy companies faced ruin when the war ended, because the demand for their product was greatly reduced. A plan was devised to use explosive products as artificial fertilizer. Farmers were sold on the idea that artificial fertilizer would enable them to grow huge amounts of corn. Of course, a market had to be found for all that corn. The feedlot system was the answer, as it was found that cattle could be fattened much faster if they were confined to a pen and fed huge amounts of corn. The U.S. government supported the new system with subsidies, and nearly all meat production in the U.S. was quickly switched to the feedlot system. Meat became cheaper and more abundant, and profits became higher.

But there was a hidden price—grass eating animals like cattle and sheep were not designed to be stuffed in a stall for six months, eating corn. They were designed to graze on grass and meadow plants. Large amounts of antibiotics were used to keep them somewhat healthy. The corn growers used massive amounts of pesticides and weed killers. These poisons, along with the artificial fertilizers, killed much of the life in the soil, depleting its mineral value.

Corn feeding in feedlots, later supplemented with soy and other unnatural feeds, greatly reduces the nutritional value of the meat. Eatwild.com has an excellent description of this process: Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products. The taste and texture of the meat were also affected, as feedlot meat lacked flavor, was watery, and had a mushy texture.

The industry dealt with this problem by an intense marketing campaign designed to convince the public that corn feeding resulted in better meat. This campaign succeeded, and it became almost impossible to find beef that was not finished in a feedlot. Cooking techniques were invented to deal with the watery, flavorless meat. The very knowledge of how to cook grassfed meat was lost to most Americans, and most ranchers lost the knowledge of how to raise tender grassfed meat.

The traditional ways of raising grassfed meat used by humanity, developed and perfected over thousands of years, were almost completely abandoned in the rush for profit.

Now the very heart of the feedlot system—cheap feed—is being threatened by the high price of corn.

In the long run, this may be a blessing in disguise, as grassfed meat is a far superior food, and proper grassfed ranching restores the land, rather than depleting it.

The Grassfed Solution

Grassfed beef, grassfed bison, and grassfed lamb have the proper balance of nutrients that our bodies expect. Grassfed meat shrinks much less in cooking, has much more flavor, satisfies the appetite, and can be very tender if properly cooked.

Raising and finishing grassfed meat requires no corn. It requires grasslands and skill. Many ranchers have rediscovered how to raise terrific grassfed meat. There are huge amounts of unused grasslands in this country that can be used for grazing. In fact, proper rotational grazing actually restores and enriches the land. Innovative ranchers in this country have been successful in increasing the richness of their soil. See Grassfed Farmer Renews the Land.

Cooking grassfed meat also requires knowledge and skill. That is why I wrote Tender Grassfed Meat. Cooking tender and delicious grassfed meat is actually simple, and it tastes so much better than the feedlot variety.

I call on all ranchers to learn how to raise grassfed meat, drop the feedlots, and free themselves from their dependence on corn.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday and Monday Mania blog carnivals.

Why S510 Will Not Make Food Safer

By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

I have written several posts about the many problems with S510.

I have described how S510 will, among other things, drive small farms out of business by imposing a crushing burden of paperwork and regulations.

I have described how S510 gives complete control over how crops are raised and stored to the FDA, an organization that favors pesticides, chemicals, GMOs, and irradiation, and would be able to force the use of those industrial methods on every farmer, thus destroying real food.

I have described how S510 would give the FDA the power to destroy the availability of raw milk and cheese.

But I have not described how S510 would improve food safety. Because S510 does not improve food safety.

Have you ever wondered why all the big agricultural organizations and corporations support a food safety bill?

The answer is very simple.

Because S510 does nothing to improve the safety of the food we eat. Nothing. Nothing at all.

Does S510 require inspectors to be stationed at all large food processing plants, which would force them to clean up the plants?

No, it does not.

Does S510 ban Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which crowd animals together so tightly that they cannot even turn around, while producing huge lakes of manure from sick animals that pollute the soil and contaminate the water supply with concentrated pathogens?

No, it does not.

Does S510 ban the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides that contaminate our food, causing much illness and causing harm to farmers and farmworkers?

No, it does not.

Does S510 require the inspection of all imported food, to protect us from the poisons and pathogens that have sickened huge numbers of Americans?

No, it does not.

Instead of taking steps to make food safer, S510 relies on—paperwork.

Passage of the bill will give the illusion that something has been done to make food safer, when nothing has been done to make food safer.

Paperwork does not make food safer.

S510 relies on written safety plans, that are supposed to describe in great detail every point at which food can be contaminated, and provide a written plan for dealing with the risk of contamination. This system, called HARCP, is practically identical to the HACCP system introduced for meat packing plants.

Meat is no safer, but the big agricultural corporations love HACCP, because it allows them to avoid actual inspections at their huge meat packing plants. HACCP also resulted in most small food processors being forced out of business because the government would not approve their HACCP plans.

Paperwork never made any food safer.

Suppose you had a roof full of leaks. Would you:

A. Find the leaks, and fix them, either by patching or replacing the roof?


B. Write a detailed plan describing every possible cause of the roof leaking, and what you could do to prevent it, including a plan for how to prevent every possible cause of the leaks?

Any sane person would choose plan A, which fixes the problem.

S510 chooses the equivalent of alternative B, which fixes nothing.

Please, contact your representatives and ask them to vote against this worthless, dangerous bill.

Here is a link to an easy way to contact your representatives.

Stop S. 510! Take Action. Sign Petitions.

This post is part of Monday Mania blog carnival.

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