Some may say we are mad to ask people to eat less meat, seeing as we are a butchers, however, here at Pipers Farm we are just as passionate about educating people about making sustainable lifestyle decisions, as we are about the quality of our meat.
In an overfed Nation, the importance of asking people to eat less, but better meat has never been so vital.
For anyone who has spoken to any of the staff here at Pipers, or who has been out to visit the farm, will know that sustainable farming and producing the highest quality meat runs through our veins. This is why I would love to share with you why we believe our animals being grass fed is of the utmost importance.
Firstly lets talk about plain old common sense; factory farming animals for food is grossly inefficient, because while they are being fed large quantities of grain, soy beans, and corn, they only produce comparatively small amounts of meat. Figures ranging from 7 to 13 pounds of grain fed will produce only 1 pound of meat depending on each beast.
What makes far more sense is to make essential use of an abundant natural resource; turning something we can’t eat (grass), into something we can (meat).
Taking affluence out of the UK by purchasing astonishing volumes of soy beans and grain from America and South America, and then enduring the environmental impacts of the use of finite fuels to grow, harvest, and transport these imports makes no sense from an environmental prospective at all. Grazing animals on pasture is an effective use of areas which would not be suitable for use for anything else. For instance, our Red Ruby cattle are perfectly adapted for life on Exmoor, and thrive on the rough vegetation there.
Cattle and sheep are natural ruminants, meaning they are able to digest the cellulose in grass because of their multi-chambered digestive tracts. I think there is little coincidence that these animals are biologically equipped to do this while a huge proportion of our island is covered in grass. It is a simple notion that when a child is asked ‘what do cows eat?’ they will almost certainly say ‘grass’, however the sad fact is that in this day and age the truth in this is reducing.
Being grass fed is also better for the animals welfare, firstly because being grass fed goes hand in hand with them being free to roam, forage, and just generally being normal happy animals. But also because growing purely on grass means they take longer to grow, and therefore have a longer life. They need no antibiotics as they are free from a disease ridden, movement restricting environment and they endure no hormone application; used to stimulate unnatural excessive growth rates.
We love rearing our animals on grass, as we not only enjoy seeing them roaming the hills, being very contented, but also, the flavour and texture of the meat is second to none. Accompanied by the nutritional value of grass fed meat being higher in Omega 3, vitamins and minerals.
Feeding grass is the way people would have farmed 3 or 4 generations ago. Without meat distributors like Pipers Farm, family run farms today would not have the support to farm traditionally, and grow animals slowly; as their grandparents did. Enabling them to honour their heritage and continue using traditional farming skills they would have been taught growing up.
We give them the freedom to farm as slowly as they need to to produce beautiful animals that are happy, and simply superb to eat. This is in great contrast to those farming for supermarkets, who are overruled by a monopolistic market with no support, fluctuating prices, and no concern for traceability.
We would love to encourage everyone to look in to where their meat has come from, what sort of life it has had, buy from a traceable source who support sustainable farming methods, and just think about the fact you are eating what that animal has eaten.
It is a no brainer for us to choose a slightly smaller yet tastier and more textured piece of meat that has lived on grass, than one who has been forced to grow at an excessive rate through hormone application and being fed an unnatural diet of imported goods, with unnecessary environmental impacts and via a process that is just not sustainable.
With more value given to the meat and eating less of it as part of a balanced diet then it would become clearer that the way to a truly sustainable future for food production would be more closely allied to traditional systems of livestock production, working in harmony with nature and local resources not industrialised systems based on unsustainable resources producing animals in unhealthy environments.
If you would like any advice or would like to know more about the importance of animals being grass fed, about our ethos or about any of our meat, then please do call or email.
If you liked this blog, you may also like this one about ‘Eating Well‘.