What’s the difference?
Recently, there’s been a lot of hype surrounding the organic lifestyle in the world. People are learning to eat healthy and really doing what’s right for their bodies these days. But, with hype comes confusion. So today, we’re answering one of those difficult questions that every new organic eater has- what’s the difference between pasture raised and organic beef?
Pasture Raised Beef
When beef is labelled as pasture raised, it means that the animal has been allowed to graze pasture, having access to fresh grasses. It’s also important to note that not all farmers who produce pasture-raised products are completely organic. In fact, at the time of writing, we do not have the USDA Organic certification, even though Little Cow Mountain Farm raises our cattle on fresh green pastures.
We do our best to follow sustainable and organic principles in everything we do though, and we believe access to properly maintained pasture is important to both product quality as well as the welfare of the animals. If you’d like to learn more and see our operation for yourself, schedule a farm tour! For the rest of you, let’s take a look at organic beef.
Organic beef, on the other hand, is beef grown according to organic food principles. In case I lost you there, the organic food principles are principles that guide organic farming so that organic products are produced free from implemented hormones and pesticides, etc. Some farmers use them to make production more efficient and large-scale but to meet USDA guidelines for organic, these products cannot be used. Oh and for the record, we never use hormones on our farm.
According to Psychology Today, Organic means the animal was not given hormones, antibiotics or man-made pesticides in its feed. The feed, however, is not necessarily grass, but may include corn and soy. It’s important to know the difference and also to understand that some farms actually follow the principles of organic farming without necessarily investing the time and money it takes to keep up with certification programs.
So, Which is Better?
There is no truly objective answer to this question. There is more than just organic and pasture raised to consider. For example, there is also grass fed, grass finished and all natural. Even more terms with vague definitions! What makes it complicated is the fact that most of these labels can be compounded with one another to confuse consumers. You can have grass-fed organic products or pasture-raised all-natural products. Or, the fact that grass-fed often is organic, but organic is not necessarily grass-fed. It’s a mouth full right?
Many produce sellers use this confusion to justify unreasonable prices, and the beef industry is known to do the same at times. Hence, why we’re writing this article. We personally, at the Little Cow Mountain Farm, use a pasture based system because it provides a quality and healthy life for our animals. Along with that, it helps give back resources to the land and adds to the biomass in a healthy, natural way to benefit everyone for generations to come.
So, your personal best bet is to try a variety of different products and see which one best fits your lifestyle and needs. And if that means you shop from our farm, then it’s all the better! It’s already amazing you’ve made the conscious decision to eat healthier, don’t stress too much about which is the absolute best. Take small steps to better health each day and keep yourself accountable. You got this!
Thanks for reading with us!