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This issue: The Seasonality of Meat and the Extraordinary 2009 Beef Vintage

Previous issue: Sustainable Seafood Part 2 - The Salmon Debate
Upcoming issues:  Olive Oil, Bread, Spices, and more


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VOLUME 30 ... THE SEASONALITY OF MEAT

and The Extraordinary 2009 Beef Vintage

An abridged version of this article also appeared in

Tonic Magazine October 2009 Issue.

 

 

Anyone who enjoys a fine wine knows, or has easy access to the knowledge, that 2005 produced extraordinary Bordeaux and Burgandy wines. It is a fact well documented in the hundreds of vintage charts within a short google reach, and is a fact that should be known by all LCBO Vintages employees. Yet, we just entered one of the best years on record for 100% grassfed beef and it seems this knowledge is untold and uncelebrated. It was a dismal year for numerous crops in the Southern Ontario agricultural industry, but boy oh boy, a lot of a rain and limited heat does wonders for grass (a fact easily appreciated if you own a patch of grass and a lawnmower).

 

 


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Calling all
PUMPKIN CARVING CHAMPIONS
(and wanna-be champions)
The 1st Annual Healthy Butcher
PUMPKING CARVING COMPETITON

Do you have what it takes to out-carve The Healthy Butcher's butchers and chefs? 

Prove it on Saturday, October 18.  Free to participate but only a limited number of contestants will be selected for each HB location.

Click here for details and to apply to be one of the competitors.  Grand prize: $100 gift certificate, all contestants will win at least a $25 gift certificate.

 

Pumpkin Carving
Turkey

ORDER YOUR THANKSGIVING FEASTS - LAST CALL

Few turkeys remain before we sell out and only a few days left before Thanksgiving.

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THANKSGIVING MENU AND RESERVATION FORM 

 

To print out our Turkey Roasting guide, click here.

The STOP Cookbook - Good Food For All

SUPPORT THE STOP

We are selling The Stop's new cookbook "Good Food For All".  Great recipes for all four seasons by Chef Joshna Maharaj. The Stop Community Food Centre strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds community and challenges inequality.

Available at all Healthy Butcher locations - only $20. 

All $20 goes to the STOP. 

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VOLUME 28 ... THE SEASONALITY OF MEAT

and The Extraordinary 2009 Beef Vintage

continued

Purchasing Certified Organic or for that matter, any meat that is organically-raised assures you that the beef have been treated humanely, not been confined, and have not been fed industry bi-products and antibiotics. However, “organic beef” does not equate to “100% Grassfed” as the feed of most organic beef have been supplemented with grains to gain what has become mandatory in the industry – marbling. In The Healthy Butcher’s case, all the beef is pasture raised and never shipped to a feedlot, but other than the beef labeled “100% Grassfed,” the mainly grass diet has been supplemented with grains.

Let me get this point out of the way for all those foodie bloggers out there who seek nothing but fatty meat… My wife Tara and I own HB and we love fat. We practically drink olive oil, we eat full fat yogurt, the creamier the cheese the better, and of course and most importantly in our business, good marbling in a cut of meat is essential to ultimate enjoyment.  HOWEVER, we must keep in mind that moderation is the key to health. To demand AAA and Prime marbling year round is a direct route to a bad heart and a meal of cholesterol pills.


Autumn is the optimum time of the year to forego Prime marbling without foregoing flavour by selecting a cut of 100% grassfed beef. Sure, you can get grassfed beef in February, but unfortunately Ontario doesn’t offer grass in February… and let me tell you, there is a huge difference between hay and live grass. Right now you can taste beef that have grazed on green Ontario pastures since March and the taste and health benefits of their meat are at their peak. As much as I love good marbling, and I really do, nothing compares to that pure Earthy taste of a beef that has grazed as Mother Nature intended.
The Healthy Butcher - 100% Grassfed Ribeyes
The Healthy Butcher'a 100% Grassfed Ribeyes from earlier this year.
Red Devon Beef Grassfed
Above and below, Red Devon beef grazing on plentiful grass
Red Devon Beef
Usually, the fat content of grassfed beef is extremely low – it would be safe to say that they grade, at most, single A.  2009 is an extraordinary year however; we are currently dry ageing some grassfed Red Devon beef to be released later this week that would easily grade a AA and might tip the scales at AAA. As an aside, Devon is one of the oldest breeds in existence today and well-known for it’s grazing superiority.  It has once again become popularized by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (of the acclaimed River Cottage cooking shows and author of The River Cottage Meat Book) who raises Devon on his own farm and describes the beef as “ambrosia for the meat-eating gods”.

From a health perspective, grassfed beef offers fewer calories than grain fed beef and is rich in antioxidants including vitamins E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. It also offers as much omega-3 fatty acid and conjugated linoleic acid (the stuff attributed to healthy hearts and brains, and reduced risks of cancer) as fish! And furthermore, grassfed beef farmers don’t treat their animals with hormones, antibiotics or other drugs because the beef stay naturally healthy and don’t need them.

Although our generation has become used to eating all types of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat year round, I encourage you to consider the seasonality of all your food. In the case of beef, without question, don’t miss out on the Ontario grassfed beef available October-through-December, 2009, it will be no doubt be a record-setting tasty year.

FURTHER READING

For more information on the health benefits of 100% grassfed beef, refer to:

Clancy, Kate. “How Grassfed Beef and Milk Contribute to Healthy Eating.” Union of Concerned Scientists. March 2006 < http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/food_and_agriculture/greener-pastures.pdf>. Click here for direct link.

Enser, M., Hallett, K.G., Hewett, B., Fursey, A.J., Wood, J.D., & Harrington, G. “Fatty Acid Content and Composition of UK Beef and Lamb Muscle in Relation to Production System and Implications for Human Nutrition.” Meat Science, Vol. 49, No. 3, 329-341 (1998).

Cordain, L., Watkins, B.A., Florant, G.L., Kelher, M., Rogers, L., Li, Y. “Fatty acid analysis of wild ruminant tissues: evolutionary implications for reducing diet-related chronic disease.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56, 181-191 (2002).

Eatwild Website: http://eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

 

To access past issues of live to eat, click here.

 

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