Eat More Beef Save the Planet?
Of course this saying may run counter to the current fad of plant based meats on supermarket shelves. These products claim to be better for the environment. But the main ingredient in most highly processed imitation meat is soy, which comes with it’s own health and environmental concerns. Is this really a better option than beef?
Getting back to beef, it may not be the cow that is the problem, it may be the how, as in how they are raised. About 95% of all beef in the US is raised on a feed lot either its entire life or at least at some point. If you’ve driven up the 5 freeway near Visalia, you can’t miss the huge beef feed lot operation. These animals don’t roam green pastures. They eat a diet largely consisting of corn and soy, which cows are not designed to eat. This diet causes many heath issues which lead to antibiotic use on the animals. What are consumers supposed to do?
Enter regenerative agriculture. This is a method of raising animals as part of a biodiverse environment. I like to think of it as raising them the old fashioned way. Animals roam large pastures eating grass as they are intended to. They are managed to mimic natural herding movements. At one point in our country’s history, we had in excess of 60 million buffalo roaming the prairies. There were no environmental concerns and these lands had some of the richest soils ever seen.
While research continues, studies suggest that animals raised in this manner more than offset their carbon footprint. They also help build healthy and rich soil. Animals raised in this manner are also better for us, with higher levels of healthy omega 3’s. So why isn’t all beef raised this way?
The simple answer is cost. It costs more to raise an animal like this. Currently, most of the grass fed beef in the US is imported from other countries. But, change here is happening and there are farmers and ranchers around the US adopting regenerative agriculture.
In 2018, the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market welcomed Harvest Gathering Farm to our market. They sell pasture raised beef, pork, chicken and lamb and have steadily gained a cult following in Santa Clarita. Owner and Rancher Wendy Marchant Kammermann fulfills her lifelong dream of raising animals the old fashioned way and bringing her high quality pasture raised meats to Southern California from her headquarters in Ventura County.
The beef and lamb are raised outside of San Luis Obispo. The chicken and pork are raised on orchards in Ojai. She raises turkeys seasonally for the holidays and they sell out every year.
As we head into fall, we present one of our favorite recipes that has been in our family for 45 years. We love using this recipe with her beef. Though we simply call the recipe ‘skirt steak,’ it is an easy Asian inspired homemade marinade that works exceptionally well on skirt steak, flank steak or flap meat.
About 3 lbs. skirt steak, flap meat or flank steak
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
¾ Cup Soy Sauce
1 tsp Powdered Ginger
Dried minced garlic.
Combine all ingredients except garlic. Liberally sprinkle garlic all over the meat. Marinate overnight ensuring meat is submerged (a gallon ziplock bag works well for this). Grill meat over high heat. Skirt steak cooks fast, we do not recommend cooking this cut of beef beyond medium, we prefer medium rare. After cooking to desired doneness, let meat sit for a few minutes before slicing with the grain into ½ inch wide strips.
The meat pairs exceptionally well with both Asian side dishes or more traditional side dishes like potatoes and corn. The flavors in the meat pair well with a syrah.
The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market is a certified farmers market bringing Santa Clarita true farm direct produce and the finest food products available in Santa Clarita. It operates year round, every Saturday from 8:30am until 1:00pm rain or shine. It is located in the parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library at 24500 Main Street in Newhall. For more information, visit www.newhallfarmersmarket.com.
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