With so many confusing and misleading labels on packages, pasture-raised is emerging as the best way to ensure optimal health and nutrition – and radical transparency is the best way for you to check those claims.
Labels like organic, free-range, cage free and grass-fed are everywhere, but sadly many of these claims mean very little and aren’t regulated.
Organic—when it comes to livestock, this refers to the feed provided. So animals can be factory-farmed indoors, in crowded conditions and still called ‘organic’.
Free-range and cage-free—when it comes to chickens this means they have access to the outdoors. So they can still be inside, in crowded conditions with a door or opening in the side of the wall and called free-range or cage-free.
Grass-fed—this can mean that factory-farmed beef can be fed grass at any point. It does not mean they only eat grass and may mean they are fed grains to fatten them up.
When animals are pasture-raised it means they are literally raised outdoors and moved daily to fresh pasture. Grass Roots are the first and currently the only meat company that offers radical transparency with blockchain technology allowing customers to track every step from pasture to plate. They also publish their livestock standards for all to see and have an open farm policy—with nothing to hide, they welcome visitors anytime.
So, with all of this pasture, what do the animals eat? At Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative it means cattle and sheep are only fed fresh grass—nothing else (they’re grass-fed and grass-finished). Grass Roots’ poultry (chickens and turkeys) are raised in micro-broods and moved every single day to fresh pasture. Chickens and turkeys are omnivores and need more than grass for their digestion. They do eat grass, but also eat seeds and bugs and are supplemented with non GMO local feed including oats, vitamins and minerals. Grass Roots pigs are forested—meaning they roam in and out of forested areas and eat a diverse diet of plants, seeds, nuts and acorns. They are also supplemented with local non-GMO feed with vitamins, minerals and probiotics.
So, what are the health benefits?
Pastured cattle that is grass-fed and grass finished, is the only kind of beef containing conjugated linoleic acid which helps prevent weight gain. It has more good fats—omega-3 and less bad fats. It has more antioxidants, including vitamin E. It also has much more vitamin K2 which is vital for getting calcium into your bones and away from your arteries where it causes plaque and heart attacks.
Pasture-raised and forested pigs who also consume acorns have higher levels of Omega-3 fats along with micronutrients like Vitamin E and iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
Pasture raised chicken contains 50% more vitamin A compared to conventionally raised chicken. Vitamin A is important for vision, immune system strength, skin health and cell division and growth.
Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative is a group of small-scale family farmers raising meat the right way—on 100% fresh pasture—and delivering to your door.