We do NOT:
Why Grass Fed?
It's good for you!
Meat, eggs, and dairy products from grass-pastured animals are ideal for your health. Compared with commercial products, they offer you more "good fats" (Omega 3) and fewer "bad" fats (Omega 6). They are richer in antioxidants, including vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Our beef is great for folks looking to go paleo or to focus on a high protein, high quality fat diet. Since our family switched to eating this way we have collectively lost over 100 pounds!
It's good for the animals!
Cattle are highly specialized animals who have evolved to eat grass. Feeding cattle grain changes the pH of their stomach acid, which can make them very sick. This can lead to the increased use of antibiotics, which in turn leads to more antibiotic resistant bacteria. The rumen of grass fed beef has also been found to contain significantly less of the strain of the E. coli virus that is deadly to humans.
It's good for the environment!
Using a process called planned grazing, we put animals at the right place, at the right time, for the right reasons, mimicking natural processes. Grasslands developed in symbiosis with large herds of ruminants, and in nature, the moisture and bacteria that exist in the rumen of grazing animals is essential to the breakdown and cycling of nutrients. By timing when are where our herd is, we build topsoil and invigorate grass growth, which sequesters carbon. We have tripled our organic soil carbon since 1996. If we could raise soil carbon by 1% on one billion hectares of the world's grasslands, we could actually return to pre-industrial levels of atmospheric carbon. This is the focus of our work as the learning site for Roots of Resilience, a Hub of the Savory Institute.
Holistic Management is much more than just a grazing system. It is a values-based decision-making process that helps producers (and anyone else) work towards achieving their desired quality of life and future resource base/landscape. We have been using the Holistic Management decision-making process since the mid-90s and it has dramatically transformed both our land and our quality of life as a family.
Holistic Management is based on four key insights:
1. Nature functions in wholes. We cannot understand, let along manage, the complexity of nature simply by studying individual ecosystem processes or species. We must look at natural systems as wholes in order to begin to respond to the nuance and complexity presented by ecosystems.
2. All environments are different. Management must be extremely adaptable and responsive to on-the-ground conditions.
3. Time is more important than numbers. The number of animals present on a landscape are not nearly as impactful as the amount of time those animals remain in a particular place. Overgrazing occurs not when too many animals are present, but when they are allowed to stay for too long and regraze recovering plants.
4. Livestock, properly managed, can heal the land. By mimicking the natural symbiotic relationship between grasslands and large herds of ruminants, we can restore ecosystems and reverse desertification.
We use Holistic Management to ensure that we are always maximizing the health of our animals, the health of the land, the health of our family, and the health of our community. To learn more about Holistic Management, visit our organization, Roots of Resilience, a Savory Institute Hub.
How much does it cost and how do I pay?
Our beef costs $3.25/lb for a whole beef, $3.40/lb for a half, and $3.55/lb for a quarter. This is based on the hanging weight. You can expect a 20%-30% shrink between your hanging weight and the final amount you take home. This will vary based on how you have your beef cut. Our hanging weight for a whole is 400-500 lbs, 200-250 lbs for a half, and 100-125 lbs for a quarter. Additionally, you need to pay a cut and wrap fee that goes directly to our butcher. That costs around $.71/lb plus a processing fee that works out to about $25/quarter. Call our butcher, Quadra-K, for complete information on pricing. Their number is (509) 624-9760. You pay the cut and wrap fee directly to the butcher when you pick up your order. You pay us directly for the beef. You can send us a check, or, if you prefer, we can set up a Paypal listing for you and you can pay with your credit card.
We require a $250 deposit for first time customers. You can pay online here. You can place a deposit any time after the first of the year for the season you want to purchase beef in. The earlier you can place your deposit, the better, to ensure that we have beef left. Once you place your order, we will schedule you on a butcher date. Our harvest season runs from July to October. When your beef is ready, we will contact you with the final balance.
What the heck do I get when i buy a side/half beef?
Am I getting a hindquarter or a forequarter?
We sell mixed quarters, so you will be getting a mix of front and back cuts. For this reason we do not offer custom cuts on quarters! You will receive a standard cut and wrap package.
What does grass fed mean? Is that different from grass finished?
Grass finished means that the animal was brought to butcher weight only by eating grass. This used to be synonymous with grass fed, but some producers now advertise their product as grass fed, even if they are finishing their animals on grain. You may also see beef advertised as "corn free" that is finished on other grains. Lazy R Beef is 100% grass fed and finished and is never fed any grain.
What do your cows do in the winter?
Our cows are on pasture 365 days a year. They are very hardy animals, and we have developed our herd to be especially resilient and suited for range conditions. If conditions are especially bad, the herd will huddle together for warmth under the trees. We feed hay from December to May, and we also plan our grazing so that the cattle have winter forage from pasture as well.
Isn't eating beef bad for the environment?
Many environmentalists would tell you yes. However, the statistics about the environmental impacts of beef production are all based on industrialized grain fed operations. At the Lazy R we strive to grow beef that will actually shrink your carbon footprint by sequestering more carbon per head through our progressive grazing techniques than we are releasing through production. We've done a baseline carbon analysis and since implementing holistic management we have tripled our soil organic carbon. We are also participating in WSU's OFoot carbon footprint calculator pilot and we currently have the lowest carbon footprint of any of the farms participating. We are continuously working to gather data to support our claim that Lazy R Beef customers have smaller carbon footprints than most vegetarians!
Do you use growth hormones or antibiotics?
We do not give our animals any growth hormones and antibiotics will only be given in a life-or-death situation. This sort of situation comes up maybe once every five years or so. We do take the health and well-being of our animals very seriously, and for this reason, when antibiotics are absolutely necessary, we will use them. 99.99999% of the time antibiotics are not necessary and very, very rarely do we have any health problems in our herd. If an animal slated for butcher falls ill, they will be treated and then removed from our herd. Our butcher beef is 100% hormone and antibiotic free.
I don't know how to cook grass fed beef. Help!
It is important to understand that cooking grass fed beef is different from cooking corn fed. There are many resources online to provide a good overview of some techniques that can be employed. This cookbook is a favorite around our kitchen. We are a big fan of using the sous-vide method for our steaks. You can buy a $400 machine that does this, or use this low-cost sous-vide hack. Here are written instructions. The most important thing to remember is you generally want to go for low and slow cooking methods. Grass fed beef has less fat in it, which makes the protein a little more delicate. If you're still stumped, contact us, and we'll be happy to give you a cooking lesson.
What is "custom meat?"
"Custom" beef is butchered exactly the way you want it. You can contact our butcher, Quadra-K, to give them instructions. If you don't have a specific preference, or if you are ordering a quarter, they will use their standard cut and wrap package, which is what our family personally uses.
What kind of cows do you have? Will I get a steer or a heifer or a cow?
We raise a black angus/lowline angus cross. Lowlines are an Australian breed that come from the traditional angus bloodlines. In the US, angus have been bred up in size to perform well in feedlots. Lowlines were kept smaller in frame in order to perform well in pasture-based conditions. Our mother cows are standard angus and we have one full blood Lowline bull named Maka and one half blood Lowline bull named Patron.
We butcher both steers and heifers at two years of age. There is no difference in flavor between a steer and a heifer. A cow is a female that has had at least one calf. As animals age, the meat becomes less tender. We do not butcher cows, as a rule, unless they are being ground up for burger, when the tenderness factor is not an issue.
Can I come visit?
Yes! We are always happy to have our customers out for tours. We do keep very full schedules, so allow us at least a week to schedule tours.
Can I come work for you?
We currently have one paid apprentice, and he's pretty swell, so we're keeping him as long as we can! We have shorter term unpaid internship opportunities available. Contact us if you're interested!