Q. What diet does an animal eat to qualify as Grass-fed?
A. At Langside Meats we refer to our animals as Veld Reared, meaning they graze on natural veld with very limited supplementation. Salt and Phosphate in the summer and Molasses, Urea, Phosphate and Salt in the winter. NO GRAINS OR STARCH IS FED TO OUR ANIMALS. The animals have 6 Hectares each per year to graze on per annum, equivalent to 12 rugby fields. We encourage animals to graze in herds like they were intended to when they were grazing in open plains with predators before industrialisation.
Q. Why is a grain-based diets bad?
A. Cattle is a ruminant, meaning it has four stomachs that is designed to digests rough plant materials. By adding a high energy diet with little roughage, the animals stomach needs to become more acidic to quicker digest the food as more quantities are consumed in stronger concentrations. The body of the animal then needs to level the PH in the stomach so the flesh becomes more alkaline. This then negatively effects health properties like omega 3 and CLA and changes the normal composition of the meat.
Q. What makes grass-fed beef healthier?
· Less overall fat and unhealthy fat
· Lower levels of dietary cholesterol
· Higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
· More CLA (conjugated linoleic acid)
· More heart disease-fighting antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin E
Q. Is Grass-fed Beef tougher?
A. In short, yes. It takes an animal longer to round off on a natural diet, so animals are older. This is not negative as the superior taste and health benefits out way the more bity texture. Animals on natural veld and open spaces tend to develop more muscles and reserve energy inside the muscle, that is named marbling. We do dry aging to help tenderise the meat. Flavour do outweigh texture by miles.
Q. What is dry aging and does it taste mouldy?
A. Dry age is a process where the beef is hanged on the bone in a controlled environment. We hang our beef for at least 21 days, the moisture evaporates and enzymes break down the tissue at a slow pace to promote flavour and tenderness. It is not a rotting process as the internal temperature is kept below 4 degrees Celsius, this encourages positive bacteria to do wonders. The flavour profile definitely has a “nutty” taste to it, but not mouldy at all.
Q. Why is there a strong smell when opening packages?
A. As we do not use any preservatives in our beef and the animals are totally produced on wide open natural veld, the beef has a much more prominent natural taste, it also depends on the season, what food is available for the cattle and when they are slaughtered. We work with nature and unlike feedlots where animals are fed a consistent diet, our cattle get to choose what they eat. There will be a prominent beef smell and a strong aroma when the packet is open, once you get use to it, you will learn to love it. That is the way real beef smells and in our modern society with factory farms, most people have lost the privilege of having untampered meat on their table. The richer fat and more omega 3 contributes to the natural smell and it is nothing to be worried about.
Q. Is there any antibiotics in the Beef?
A. In our area, we are very fortunate to have cold and dry winters, so parasites die off in the winter. We do not have to use any routine antibiotics and only dip our cattle three times a year. When an animal does get sick and is treated with antibiotics, we take that animal out of the production system. Therefore our beef is 100% free of antibiotic.
Q. Are there any MSG or gluten in your products?
A. No, all our spices and herbs used in products are hand mixed, it is recipes we have trailed and tested and we do not use any commercial batch packs. We keep the product as natural as possible to do justice to the beef. No stabilizers, flavour enhancers or starches are used.
Q. Are the animals traceable?
A. Every packet of meat is traceable to the source, where it grazed, when it was slaughtered and how old the animal was.
Q. What breed of animal do you farm with.
A. We do not farm with a specific breed, but rather with well adapted animals. Mostly we refer to our cattle as Beefmaster types. The ideal animal is 1/3 Indicus (Brahman or Boran cattle that is adapted to harsh climate and is hardy to resist disease) and 2/3 Taurus (mostly European breeds like Angus, Sussex and Hereford that have great meat to bone ratio and helps with tenderness and marbling). So, in essence we farm with “cattle”.