Monday, August 31, 2009

Grass-fed beef - I have seen the light, and it is tasty!

As you can probably tell from my recipes, I'm not a big meat eater - especially beef. I don't have any ethical issues with meat (well, except for lamb and veal, which I think are too cute to eat), it's just not something I crave. There are so many other flavors and textures that I'd much rather have. But Mr. ValleyWriter doesn't consider a meal (other than pasta or pizza) complete unless some kind of meat is served with it - so we eat a lot of chicken around here.

I noticed lately, however, that a lot of foodies out there were espousing the wonders of grass-fed beef. My friend The Leftover Queen has told me several times that it's a totally different taste from grain-fed beef - so I decided this week it was well-past time to give it a try.

I tried 2 stores near my home that have butcher shops, thinking they might have it - to no avail. Luckily, the Pioneer Valley has many, many shopping options - so I finally found it at the River Valley Market Coop in Northampton. That particular day, they had fresh grass-fed ground beef from nearby River Rock Farm. Not only is their beef grass-fed, it's also aged to enhance the flavor. At $7.99/lb, I thought it was still pretty dear for ground beef... but after grilling up some hamburger patties for dinner - I am sold!

Wow oh wow! These burgers were juicy and flavorful and incredibly tender. Unlike far too many hockey-puck hamburgers I've had, this was one that I wanted to savor every bite of - and *not* load up with ketchup or relish. If you live in the Western MA or Boston area - check out River Rock Farm. They deliver for a reasonable fee, and they sell at several local stores and farmer's markets.


Tasty Eats At Home said...

I am a total convert when it comes to grass-fed beef. There is nothing like it. One day, you should graduate to a nice ribeye....mmmm, melt-in-your-mouth, eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head delicious.

Wandering Allyn said...

My husband and I do steak night once a week, and since we've moved here we've found the best steaks at Pure Food in Southampton. I'll have to check out that market in Northampton, and the grass-fed beef!

ValleyWriter said...

Wandering - I like Pure Foods, too - but this is even better! Def. give it a try!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

YAY!!! I can't tell you how happy I am to see this post! There is nothing like supporting your local economy AND getting awesome meat in return! So happy you have seen the light! LOL!

Carrie Oliver said...

That's great that you found a source of grass-fed beef that suits your palate, especially after your very first try! I specialize in artisan steak and burger tastings and know that there are a lot of different flavors and textures of beef depending on the farm and not everyone has the same taste buds.

One thing in particular I'd note is the fact that the beef was aged, good for the farmers and butcher. This is absolutely critical to tenderness (though that's not as important in ground beef as it is steaks and roasts). It has a huge influence on flavor, too, esp. if the beef was dry-aged as this process concentrates flavors (for better or worse).

Thanks for the great post.

Kelly said...

I'm not a huge meat eater myself but if I am eating meat I'm a big fan of getting it through a CSA share. It's a little more affordable than getting grass fed meats at the grocery store and it gives me more access to information about the husbandry practices.