I went to a store that gets all its meat from local farmers in VA/MD area. I asked the lady who works there if the meat is 100% grass-fed. She said yes for beef, but not for pork and lamb or chickens. She said that for lambs they can't be 100% pastured on grass because in the winter there is no grass (makes sense) so the farmers feed them grain. She said that the animals are raised humanely and they have seen the farms and farmers which is good. So I am wondering, whats the deal with lamb that is 100% grass-fed? How do they feed the sheep in winter when there is no grass? Or do these lamb all come from warmer climates? Should I be worried about eating lamb that isn't 100% grass-fed, or will it still be better than lamb that is never out in pasture?
asked byJoy (1368)
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on January 23, 2012
at 05:10 PM
Yeah, my family has a farm and we hired a farm manager who had owned his own conventional farm before he worked for us, so he wasn't really up to speed with grass-fed. He insisted that the cows needed grains in the winter and I was like "nope" and I hired a grass-fed consultant to tell him that there is something called hay which is dried grass. D'oh. He never would have listened to me though since I'm not a farmer. In the winter you feed animals you want to keep grass-fed dried forage like hay with some supplements like alfalfa.
However, PUFA content is so low in ruminant meat that I personally don't worry about eating animals that had a little grain. I think it's suboptimal for them and us though.
on October 10, 2012
at 04:55 AM
I live in Ohio and raise 100% grass-fed lamb. There is no reason that lamb can't be 100% grass-fed. Most farms that raise grass-fed lamb coordinate the breeding of the animals so that the lambs are born in the spring out in the pasture. This gives the lambs a good six months to grow to butchering size, without having to feed grain. The lambs are taken to the butcher when the grass growth slows down in late fall. If, for some reason, the lambs are held over through the winter, they will continue to grow or, at minimum, maintain their weight on high quality hay.
on January 23, 2012
at 07:06 PM
I'm in northern Virginia, too, and I'm pretty sure there are farms in Loudoun county other than the one I go to (which doesn't sell at the farmers markets) that are pastured. I can think of a few off the top of my head. In the winter I believe they rely more heavily on hay, but I still see some green grass out in Purcellville so I know there is plenty of stuff to eat.