You may think the key word in “grass-fed beef” is the latter, but as it turns out, grass is an equally important part of the equation – especially when it comes to when you can find quality steaks in your grocery store.
If grass is seasonal it should be safe to assume grass-fed beef is also seasonal. In the US, grass reaches its peak quality in spring and early summer and typically the harvest of the animals correlates. With the increased demand for grass-fed beef however, farmers are pressured to find ways to supply it year round. As Mother Jones reports, “In order to sell their product all year long, farmers finish their grass-fed animals with hay and dry forage in the winter months. Those stored feeds are lower in fatty acids and precursors for antioxidants such as omega-3s—which make grass-fed beef healthier in the first place.”
There are other creative ways to extend the season of grass fed beef. Take a look at Hearst Ranch, which was established in 1865 and where cattle live a completely natural existence as foragers and grazers. The vast grasslands of the Hearst ranches host an unusually complex mosaic of vegetation. They rotate their cattle through various pastures throughout the year allowing the cattle to seek out the richest and most suitable feed. Additionally, a small percentage of Hearst Ranch beef is produced year-round by cattle grazing on permanent pastures.
Grass-fed beef may not be the most seasonal – and therefore easy to find – meat to serve at your holiday dinner table, but for those of you who can’t imagine this time of year without a roast or a perfectly cooked steak, there is good news! Hearst Ranch has flash-frozen grass-fed beef steaks, ground beef, and assorted cuts at the following retail locations in California:
- Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Rooms – at Sebastian’s Store, Old San Simeon – 442 SLO San Simeon Road, San Simeon, CA 93452; at The Jack Ranch Cafe - 19215 Hwy 46 East Cholame, CA 93461
- Hearst Ranch Beef Kiosk – at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center – 750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452
Learn more about Hearst Ranch at hearstranch.com.