Add Blue Valley Meats from Walla Walla to the list of Washington farms that we love and frequent. We use their neighborhood pickup service and it’s worked out great; choose a participating delivery spot near you when placing your order online, then pick it up on the assigned date and time. Very convenient for those of us west of the Cascades. I highly recommend Blue Valley if you are interested in consuming more pastured meat since their livestock is 100% grass fed. One tip: the fat in grass-fed meat melts out more easily while cooking, so use care and don’t overcook it so your meat stays nice and juicy.
Is grass-fed meat better for us? Yes, it is. It’s also better for the livestock. If you’ve read any of Michael Pollan’s books, then you already know that grass and leafy vegetation is what cattle eat naturally; their stomachs are made to digest all those tough fibers. Grain diets are not natural for cattle. They weaken their immune system which, combined with overly crowded conditions of most grain feedlots, leads to livestock illness more often than anyone wants to think about. That’s why so many antibiotics are used in livestock, which contributes to why we are seeing more antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are difficult to wipe out with conventional treatment methods. Allowing livestock to forage in a pasture keeps them healthy and happy. From a human health perspective, certain strains of E. coli are dangerous to us, but the risks are greatly reduced when we eat grass fed meats. How so? First, E. coli lives in manure. Cattle roaming happily in the pasture aren’t covered in manure like cattle trapped in a feedlot. Second, farms like Blue Valley slaughter and process livestock one at a time, which ensures a thorough job of cleaning the carcasses. And third, naturally occurring E. coli bacteria live in our guts all the time but dangerous levels and strains are usually controlled by our stomach acid. However, corn-fed diets lower the pH levels of cattle stomachs, thus allowing E. coli to adapt to a more human-like stomach environment. This evolved, adapted E. coli is what is so dangerous to humans nowadays. Continue reading