Why Does Our Meat Department Buy Whole Cows?

How do we buy beef in the most humane, sustainable way while supporting local ranchers? By buying the whole (grass-fed) cow! Every week, Kaitlyn and Sasha, our Seattle store Meat & Seafood Manager and Coordinator, respectively, receive the meat and bones of an entire cow provided by North Cascade Meats.

North Cascade Meats is a farmer cooperative, and all their animals are 100% grass-fed throughout their life cycle. According to a study co-authored by Jason Rowntree, Associated Professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University, properly grazing cattle throughout their lifespan helps fight climate change because pasture sequesters carbon in the soil. Rowntree also emphasizes the benefit the cows receive, "Managing cattle on pasture in a grass-finishing system, to me, epitomizes animal welfare."

Grass-fed beef is better for the consumer as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, grass-fed beef has less fat, more antioxidant vitamins, and more fatty acids that are linked to heart health than conventional, grain-fed beef.

Sourcing the whole cow is good for the farmer because it doesn’t leave them with extra inventory of less popular cuts. It also has an environmental benefit. According to Kaitlyn, “It’s definitely the most sustainable way to work any animal. It forces you to use the entire carcass, so there’s no waste product.” With food waste now recognized as a driver of climate change, this is no small thing.

“There’s hundreds of pounds of trim [smaller pieces of beef muscle that are left after steaks, roasts and other cuts are removed].,” Sasha relates, “We get the most usable portion of the trim.” This trim turns into the 100% grass-fed ground beef you find in our coolers.

Kaitlyn tells us, “We get the bones from the animal for stock making because there’s a lot of people interested in bones, especially at this time of year.”

Kaitlyn and Sasha would love to sell more of the parts of the cow they usually do not receive.  “We have the organ meat available: tongue, heart, liver, kidneys,” says Sasha, “We, for the most part, let North Cascades Meat keep it. But let people know they can get by special order.” Consider that an invitation to do some beef experimentation!

With the growing awareness of the negative impact of large-scale corporate animal agriculture, we are proud to use practices that are best for the farmer, the cow, the earth and your health.

Here are some recipes to help you use more of the cow in tasty ways:


Date: Thursday November 14, 2019

Category: Washington Food

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