Over the years I’ve enjoyed hearing different perspectives in the food community. One thought-provoking documentary from 2005 called, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of a Low Price, exposed Wal-Mart’s questionable business practices. A few years later, in 2009, another interesting documentary, Food, Inc., made its debut, exposing the business practices of factory-farmed animals.
Both documentaries made me take pause.
However, one part of Food, Inc. has stuck with me all these years. It’s a quote from Stonyfield Organics (now former) CEO, Gary Hirshberg. People gave him a hard time about bringing his organic yogurts to Wal-Mart, what many consider to be “selling out” to a cruel, corporate giant.
His response was, “For me, when a Wal-Mart enters the organic space, I’m thrilled. It’s absolutely one of the most exciting things. I have dreamed of the day when I could sit with corporate titans and have conversations about organics and sustainability.”
This made me realize that just because the Wal-Mart of the past may not have been open to supporting sustainable products, the Wal-Mart of today is.
Enter Jones Creek Beef.
A friend and Denver blogger told me about this company. She met someone from Jones Creek and heard that they were seeking a few good bloggers to review their grass-fed, grass-finished beef. The kicker is that the beef is available in – you guessed it – Wal-Mart!
Please note that Jones Creek provided me with a gift card to Wal-Mart to purchase the beef cuts for this post. All opinions are my own.
The reason I wanted to do this review is that I am so impressed that Wal-Mart has welcomed this awesome company into its stores. Like Hirshberg said long ago, it’s “exciting” when companies like Wal-Mart want to talk about sustainable practices.
About Jones Creek Beef
Jones Creek cattle are grass-fed (the way nature intended cows to eat) and grass-finished. This means cows aren’t stuffed with grains during or at the end of their lives for the sake of fattening them up for our consumption. They are fed grass and only grass, the food they are meant to eat.
Just a quick whirl around the Jones Creek website makes you realize just how much this company takes much pride in how it raises cattle. Cows are given constant access to grass pasture, and they have safe, clean living conditions that include plenty of fresh air, direct sunlight, open grazing, exercise and freedom to roam the fields. Jones Creek cattle never see the inside of the a cage nor synthetic growth hormones or steroids of any kind.
Additionally, Jones Creek is a good steward of the land. Instead of producing grain for feeding cattle, which takes a lot of resources such as fertilizer, pest control and large equipment, pasture-farming is very ecological. The cows do the work – they feed themselves, fertilize the land and, because Jones Creek practices good land management, the cattle rotate from grassy field to grassy field.
What Happens When You Eat “Happy” Animals?
Here’s some food for thought… is it possible that you take on the constitution of an animal you eat? I think so.
When you eat a happy, stress-free animal product, you are naturally happier and free from stress too. Now the opposite could be quite true too. Think of all the sick, overweight and completely stressed out people you know. They are probably eating factory farmed meat where cattle are constantly sick and therefore fed antibiotics. The cattle are stuffed with grains (75% of Americans are overweight or obese – making them “stuffed” too), and so many people are completely stressed out like factory farmed animals are stressed out.
Where’s the [Grass-Fed] Beef?
OK, so I’ve spent a lot of time telling you about this company and why you should eat only happy cows… but now I want to get to the “meat” of the story and share my culinary experiences with Jones Creek products.
Last week I went to Wal-Mart to purchase four steaks. I really wanted filets, but there was only one left and no extra inventory in the back (I had the clerk check for me). Low stock meant many people were buying this meat – thumbs up!
I added a little salt and pepper to each side of the beef, then placed them in a hot frying pan with sizzling butter to sear them and lock in the flavor. After a minute on each side, I put them in the oven to finish baking. (I removed the NY strip steak well before the sirloin and filet, which were larger cuts of meat and required a longer baking time.)
Now the taste-test.
Yep, these were some delicious steaks! I found the NY strip and sirloin cuts to be much tougher than the filet, but the filet was as tender and delicious as ever! I wish I had waited and purchased all four steaks as filets – but live and learn!
By nature, grass-fed beef is a bit tougher due to its low saturated fat content (cattle aren’t fattened up with grains), so that could have been why the meat was a bit tougher than I was personally used to. (Please note grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 fats – good fats!) I also may have cooked the steaks too fast, as grass-fed beef requires slower cooking. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will cook the steaks a bit slower so I can enjoy every bite a bit more. Jones Creek offers some great cooking tips and recipes too – so be sure to read up before you take a spin cooking grass-fed beef.
Overall, I am so happy with my Jones Creek beef experience… they have impressed me with their sustainable farming practices and with the fact that people who shop at Wal-Mart can now have access to grass-fed, sustainably raised beef.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with grass-fed, grass-finished beef by Jones Creek in your [gluten-free] culinary adventures. Happy cooking and grilling!