Our goal at Crowd Cow is to help people find fantastic beef from the very best farms, raising happy cows and producing healthy meat. Within that we think there’s room for a great deal of variety. We work with farms with 100% grass-fed beef, ranches raising genetically pure Wagyu beef, and now we are also introducing farms with cattle raised on the pasture but finished with grain.
Ultimately, flavor is a personal preference, and can span a wide spectrum. Everyone has their own sweet spot, and many love the flavor of grain-finished beef. Grains like corn or barley are energy-dense, and cattle raised with grain in their diet generally yield more marbled beef with a milder flavor than beef raised on grass alone. And we hear it all the time -- from customers, friends and family -- “bring us grain-finished beef, but not factory-farmed beef!”
We’ve learned too that for some cattle ranches, grass-finishing doesn’t make a lot of sense. In dry or cold climates where grass doesn’t grow well all year round, grass-finishing is neither sustainable nor natural.
However, auctioning off calves to industrial buyers who aggregate cattle from many sources into concentrated industrial feedlots designed to squeeze out every possible efficiency in the pursuit of profit -- what often ends up in your grocery store -- is out of tune with what people want.
In our travels and meetings with farmers around the country, we’ve identified ranches that are deeply committed to the health and well-being of their herd, the quality of their soil, the sustainability of their local ecosystem and the taste of their beef.
We’ve found farms tending cattle on open pasture, grazing on the range in rotation and herded on horseback by the same families in the same manner for multiple generations, whose cattle spend their entire lives on the family farm. They are cared for, spend most of the lives on grass and are fed grain during the cold, dry winter months, or as a supplement during the finishing. Corn and hay that’s grown on the ranch, and fertilized using manure from the herd.
These farms avoid antibiotics and growth hormones not so they can qualify for some label or certification -- they avoid them because damaging their ecosystem is tantamount to ruining their farm -- the place where they and their families have lived for generations.
When you’re in the grocery store walking down the beer and wine aisle, you are presented with amazing variety and choice. But when you reach the meat counter you are faced with generic packages and a complete lack of information. Suddenly it’s just price-per-pound and a label that means nothing because nobody behind the counter knows anything about the farm, their practices, the breed of cattle or the nuances. It all matters.
It’s a joy to meet farmers, walk the fields and learn how they raise and care for their herds and why they do things a certain way. We aim to share that with you, and bring some transparency about the people and practices behind quality beef. We also want to share the amazing variety of beef available.
We showcase farms that are doing things right, and celebrate their history and diversity to bring more transparency so you can make better choices and explore all that beef has to offer.