Category Archives: Grass-Fed Meat

All articles that deal with the cooking, preparing, obtaining, healthy benefits of, and great taste of any Grass-fed Meat.

Local, Grass-Fed Beef (and other meat) in Astoria, Queens

So I was walking down Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens on my way to a coffee shop to meet some friends, and I glance inside a store front called “Natures Taste” which had lots of words such as “Organic,” “Grass-Fed,” and other words/phrases of interest to a guy like me.

I stop inside and ask a few questions, all of whose answers made me very happy.  This store has lots of frozen meats, and traditional Greek food such as Gyro’s, souvlakia and sheftalia (traditional Cypriot sausage).  They told me that all of their meat comes from their farm which is out in Long Island.  I asked them what the name of the farm is and they said “L.I. Ranch.”  I told them I would google it and come back after Greek Easter to try some of their excellent food.

Now, Greek’s celebrate Easter this year on Sunday, April 12th (2015), so tomorrow or some time next week I will stop in, take some pictures and buy some excellent meat and report on the quality!

In the meantime, see how they are listed on LocalHarvest:

http://www.localharvest.org/l-i-ranch-corp-M59300

and take a look at their Satellite photo on Google Maps here:

Now from that photo this place looks like an actual farm and not one of those CAFO operations.  For the newly educated people on health food, CAFO stands for Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operation.  Notice how the Google satellite has some animals clearly shown walking around and grazing.  Also notice how the grass is not a “perfect green” that happens because animals actual walk around on graze on that grass.  Contrast this to Industrial Farms where the animals aren’t allowed to graze on the grass, but instead are kept inside a big hen house.

I honestly don’t know if this Bell & Evans video is intended to make one want to buy their food or not, but take a look at this video, although Bell & Evans is doing a much better job than the conventional Chicken farm, watching this video should serve as a warning as to what happens in places worse than Bell & Evans!

 

American Meat – Film Review

When you watch a Kurosawa you don’t expect the shock and awe of a Michael Moore.  Like the increasing sugar levels in many foods, we are expecting more shock and awe from our movies including food documentaries such as Food Inc. and Super Size Me.   Unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t get this from the film American Meat, a solutions-oriented documentary directed by Graham Meriwether.

American Meat is subtle, tells several real stories from the U.S. meat industry, points to some solutions as well as things that haven’t worked [yet], but doesn’t freak you out.  It builds on the body of work of existing food documentaries and has a focus.  It assumes we already know about industrial farming's methods from Food Inc or that eating too much McDonalds is bad for you as told by Super Size Me.  American Meat could go into how Americans eat too much meat but it assumes that’s a constant limiting the fronts it takes on.

Key points that we liked in the film:

  1. We need more people to go into farming, it is an industry where the average age is over 50 where a healthy average age for an industry is around 35.
  2. Many animal farmers do not own the animals they raise.  The big food companies such as Tyson and Perdue make the farmers take the risks of owning the equipment and land but keep ownership of the animals which leaves less money in the hands of the farmers.
  3. While technology can be demonized in places such as industrial farming, people like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms has built contraptions such as eggmobiles and pigaerators.  This is technology which enables him to efficiently replicate the natural ecosystem of land rotation so that poultry, cattle, and pigs can use the same land in a way that nature intended.
  4. Transparanecy is important.  Joel at Polyface Farms has an open door policy and is not afraid of being inspected, visited, or asked any questions.  Good luck getting that from companies like Monsanto.
  5. Food subsidies from the US Government help keep industrial farming cheaper for people who do not have the luxury to buy the higher priced grass fed or organic meats.
  6. Some farmers have tried to move to grass-fed farming but have not been able to get customers to sustain their business.  These farmers do prefer the taste of grass-fed meats over the industrially farmed meats.
  7. Vote with your dollar.  Everytime you buy something, you are making a statement.  Farmers get as little as 10 cents for every dollar you spend at a supermarket.  Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) gets more of that money directly to the farmers which means [in theory] that they can make a healthier product.  We are joining the CSA in Flushing, New York.

We attended the screening at New York University on March 26, 2013 hosted by the NYU Earth Matters group.  According to the IMDB page of the film, it will premier on April 12, 2013 in New York City.

 

Eggs on the Table

We’re big fans of Bare Burger.  One of the first places we saw with Hunts Ketchup with no High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) on the guest tables; this made John a fan!  Getting people to think in terms of organic, local, and sustainable foods is a great thing.  We need more of this.

I’ve had brunch and lunch and dinner, many times.  Always going for a burger as I thought anything else would be like getting salmon at a steakhouse.  Today, while having brunch at the Bayside Bare Burger, I ordered one of the Mexican Egg sandwich (not exact name on the menu).  I ordered them over easy.  The plate came and looked good but then I noticed the egg yolks.  Not the orange we’ve come to expect from places like Queens Farm but pale yellow that we’ve been warned about.

I’ll be back but not to order eggs and Bare Burger, please put your eggs on the table!

 

Trip to the Butcher Bar

Seeking good BBQ in New York City for the well traveled may seem ridiculous; why not go for Italian, Asian, or French?  I could just wait until my next trip.  But even then, the so called really good BBQ places in places like Texas, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Oklahoma [many of which I’ve been to] may not always be keen on having grass fed meats.  It’s either good sauces or grass fed, but rarely both.  I’ll never forget some of the BBQ places in Kansas City, which as good as it tasted, was advertised as “corn fed.”  Really?  Was this menu printed in the 90s?

Enter Butcher Bar located on 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens.  Half butcher, half BBQ, fully fresh, locally sourced, grass-fed meats, this is our new favorite place!  While our food was being prepared we were given a tour of the kitchen and the patio in the back.  No freezers or deep-fryers guarantees that food isn’t frozen forever to be eaten whenever.  Reasonably priced and open for a little over a year, this is one of the top rated BBQ places in New York City.  They’ve been in the NY Times and other newspapers.  They are Michelin recommended in case the opinion of a French tire company is important to you.  But take our word for it and go in for the burnt ends, the brisket, pork belly, or some of the cane-sugar sodas!  And right now it’s a BYOB so bring in your favorite IPA or wine…

Grass-Fed Philly Cheesesteak

Last weekend I went to Philadelphia, good raw milk was the only food product that I enjoyed.  What was I to do, since all I wanted to eat was a never-before eaten cheesesteak? Well this Sunday I went to Queens Farm (aka Queens County Farm Museum) and purchased a dozen of real cage-free chicken eggs for $6 per dozen and some okra for $4 per pound.  The eggs were from truly cage-free chickens that live on the farm and produce a limited supply.  These eggs are bright orange and have the strongset egg whtie and yolk that you have ever seen in your entire life.  No, these chickens do not take hormones or antibiotics, their bodies are too strong to require such poisonous medicines.  The okra was also grown on the farm and on my way home I decided to stop in at Whole Foods in Manhasset of Nassau County, NY.  I also shy away from the produce section of Whole Foods, which usually carries “fresh” and “organic” produce from South America.  Now I seriously doubt that they flew in those bananas from Ecuador, or the “organic” garlic from China.  And those tomatoes, wow, how can organic tomatoes have such a perfect shape and color?  Anyway, I skipped through that section and went straight to the meat section.  I skipped the “organic” farm-raised seafood, and grabbed some “Local” Sirloin Steak Tips.

 

After, I grabbed some Irish Kerrygold Butter, and some milk from Ronnybrook Farms. Whenever I am low on raw goats milk, the only milk that I trust is from Ronnybrook Farms, which pasteurizes its milk at the lowest possible temperature. Now speaking of pasteurization, do you heat your tangeray and tonic to 270 degrees Fahrenheit and then quickly cool it before drinking it? Do you shake your wine vigorously before pouring it into a glass? No… that’s right, well, guess what ultra-pasteurization is? And guess what homogenization is? Heat the milk to 270 for 30 seconds and then cool it as quickly as possible, and when you are finished, shake the milk vigorously, so that all of the fat globules lose their final natural properties and distribute evenly throughout the rest of the milk.

Now, when I was a student in Philadelphia, I loved eating my cheesesteak with mushrooms and fried onions. Surely they fried those in vegetable oil that was processed heavily before it came to Philadelphia. And I love garlic and onions, so I took 7 shittake mushrooms, 3 red onions, 2 shallots, and 3 garlic heads, peeled, chopped and grinded them in the food processor, otherwise known in Greek as the “diabolaki”

I poured from Greek Olive Oil into the pan, some Celtic Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper along with the mixture from the prior paragraph and turned on the heat. I always turn the heat on to a low temperature, because I do not want to burn the items on the bottom of the pan and because I believe that cooking at lower temperatures is more in line with nature, and subsequently better and healthier for you.

After the onions/shallots/garlic/mushrooms started to caramelize, I threw in the meat, here is what it looks like, nothing close to the grill in the back of a Philadelphia Pizzeria:

Now, what about the cheese? for the cheese I decided to grab some raw milk aged for a minimum of 60-days from Wisconsin.

After I took the meat out of the pot, I put some of this raw milk cheese, thinly sliced on top of the meat and waited for it to melt a little bit.

Now that was a tasty Philly Cheesesteak!

Where is the bread you may ask… Well, I avoid bread and grains unless they are prepared in a special way, to make sure that the phytates have not been destroyed, read more about this here:

http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid