Local Meat & Farm Products from Steven & Maya
As awareness grows, interest in our clean meat, eggs and bone broth continues to expand, as does membership in our Co-Op and special purchase programs . To fully appreciate this trend, one needs to understand how we raise our meat stock and the processes we follow to ensure that our customers receive the best products available… at any price!
All of our animals are Free Ranging or Pastured on grass, right here in Central Florida. No cages or barren pasture… EVER! Our Beef Cattle and Lambs are never fed Hay, because although hay is a convenient alternative to live natural grasses, it does not produce the higher quality product that we demans. The proof is not only in the flavor and nutraceutical value of the meat, but also in the humane and natural living environment afforded to the livestock. For us, the proof is in what we hear at the markets — again and again — EVERY weekend. The feedback always goes something like this: “Thank you for doing this. This is the best meat/steak/hamburger/chicken/lamb/pork I have ever had.” We agree. And you will, too!
Our Unique Methods & Processes Make the Difference
Okeechobee Farms’ Angus Beef Cattle feed on 100% Living Florida Grasses and Legumes. Nothing else! This simple, yet fundamental, fact makes us the only Authentic 100% Grass-Fed Beef provider in the country. Virtually every other grass fed beef producer in the usa uses hay and silage. All of their labels state: “Grass Fed Beef”, despite the fact that there are no live grasses in many of these locations for as much as 3-6 months each year. Our labeling states: “100% Grass Fed Beef”, and is approved as such by FSIS/USDA. This is, in part, because we never use hay, we manage closed herds, and because have no winter. We are fortunate to have green grass year-round. So it would be absurd for us to buy or make hay. Pretty hard to argue with. There is a picture on the website of a “Grass Fed Beef” operation (with whom we were formerly associated), showing the animals munching away on a huge pile of straw colored hay. We know our way is better, and we’re confident you’ll agree, once you’ve given it a try.
Our Aging Process
Our 100% Grass Fed Beef is always dry aged for 21 days. Dry Aging costs a lot more than wet aging so, only Premium Quality Meat is dry aged. Dry Aging for flavor and tenderness also reduces the moisture content of the meat and concentrates the robust, meaty flavor, for which dry-aged steaks are known. The aging process uses the natural enzymes in the meat to break down the fibers on a microscopic level, making for a more tender grass-fed beefsteak. Then the aged meat is butchered artfully, cryovac’d-vacuum sealed in BPA free plastic bags and immediately into the deep freeze at 10 degrees below zero!
Wet aging, which is done in plastic bags, does not provide the same gourmet results. Dry aging is a simple natural process requiring 3 weeks of “Hanging” in the meat locker. It reduces the weight of the meat by shrinkage due to water loss-evaporation-loosing around 7-8% of the starting weight. Our butchery and packaging facility is one of the very few remaining doing it correctly. We are the only ones we know of because in the profit-hungry beef industry, dry aging has become a lost art. No aging is the current paradigm for nearly 100% of commercial meat. At this writing, none of the Grass Fed Beef we see at Whole Foods or Fresh Market or Costco or Carmines is aged or 100% Grass Fed.
Recommendations for Preparation
Among the facts about Grass-Fed Beef; gastronomic, scientific, and nutritional, is that grass-fed beef is not as tender as grain-fed when cooked the same way. As most of us know, there is truth to that. Since Whole Life Pastured animals are lower in fat like wild animals (free ranging beef), grass-fed beef is different and can be overcooked much quicker than grain-fed beef. So we cook the steaks a bit differently. Since there’s less fat and moisture in dry-aged, grass-fed beef cuts, steaks will cook slightly faster than commercial meat. Do it by Feel on the Bar-B or have your meat thermometer handy (130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare). Slow Cooked in a crock pot or Braised, GFBeef roasts will take longer to become done, and it can be up to 100% more slow-cook time to become tender.
The key to cooking grass-fed beef is to keep the meat moist and use slightly lower heat. This will slow the cooking a bit to help control doneness. It’s also best to grease up your grill with coconut oil and use some butter or our Florida Grass Fed Beef Ghee (clarified butter) on the steaks for searing. There is no better steak than a properly bar-b-qued, dry aged 100% Grass-Fed Beefsteak.
Animal Selection and Care
Okeechobee Farms beef cattle are Black Angus a heritage breed perfectly suited for life on Florida pasture and our 100% grass-fed beef program. The in-bread characteristics (good Moms, good foragers, handles the Florida heat and bugs) of these beautiful animals produce the highest quality 100% Grass-Fed beef possible. Our aging for 21 days and butchering the beef ourselves, shows how we are unique. Our Florida Beef, our 100% Grass-Fed Beef, Florida Angus Beef, may be the Best Beef money Can Buy!
We feel it is NOT OK that the chemical cornucopia used in commercial meat production gets into our kids or ourselves. The animals in our 100% Grass-Fed program are born into a local, private, closed loop and stay in that loop through butchering all the way to your table. Their parents were privately grown on Grass as well. Their meat is protected from soul-free business interests and government-our precious animals will never be put into that system. America consumes and exports commercial beef which is raised on a GMO Soy and GMO Corn diet replete with growth hormones, steroids and low dose (prophylactic) antibiotics and animal bi-products. The animals are grown like a commodity, slaughtered and processed inhumanly and it’s not surprising that Europe and Russia et.al. had banned American beef. In our collective view of Managing Human Health, there are NO SAFE serum levels of growth hormones, anabolic steroids, herbicides, antibiotic residues, glyphosate or pink slime found in all commercial ground beef.
We use NO fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides on our “Organic Practices” managed pastures. We employ sustainable farming methods like sensible pasture rotation, pure rain water and diluted seawater for minerals. Healthier, free roaming beef stock and sensible pasture management equals a healthier environment, healthier Beef stock and better meat. This is how we do Whole Life Pasturing of our USDA Inspected 100% Grass Fed Beef.
Preservation Through Sustainable Practices
Properly managed grass farms get cattle and chickens to team-up and return to our Florida pasture land, that which they take out by natural fertilization and aeration. This practice is in tune with the soil’s natural cycle of nitrogen, minerals and water. Here, there is no need for fossil fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Our Grass Farms practice sustainable agriculture and are good for the environment. We use No Pesticides and No Fertilizers and very little fuel. Okeechobee Farms not only have a miniscule carbon footprint, but they really do help replenish and rejuvenate the local land for future generations. This is what sustainable farming means and what our members and customers support. This kind of land stewardship also supports local cowboys, and is at the Heart of our Community Composting Project now in its nascent stage in Poinciana Gardens, just north of Jupiter and South of Stuart.
Feeding Practices and Origin are Critical
Commercial beef cattle are fed a GM grain diet. It is the lowest cost feed available in this country. It only works to grow large animals fast when used in conjunction with aggressive protocols using Inputs, sub-therapeutic (prophylactic) doses of antibiotics and growth steroids/hormones. The fact is, the cheapest animal feed ration includes GM Corn, GM Soy, growth hormones, antibiotics, anabolic steroids and animal by-products. Knowing this, how can anyone allow themselves to buy meat at the supermarket!!??
Noteworthy here: “Feedlot Beef” — even the kind labeled USDA Certified Organic — will have lost any benefits of being grass-fed even if the animal was grass-fed most of its’ pre-feedlot life, as is the case for most beef cattle born on grassland in this country.
Beef which is fed HAY does not receive the high nutrient values or health benefits of a 100% grass diet. Hay is degraded, desiccated grass and is far inferior to living green grasses even if the hay or silage are not GMOs.
Beef cattle which are fed animal by-products, grains, soy and corn then simply “Finished” on grass ARE NOT GRASS FED BEEF. If beef cattle are not raised on living grass consuming only natural living forage and grasses, the health benefits from grass-fed beef are not available. Most of our animals are second generation of 100% free-roaming wild style, Florida Style.
Most cattle start out on grass, but feedlots are where the majority of the cattle in our country are finished. Feedlot beef is NEVER grass fed beef. Feedlots which are CAFOs (Concentrated Feeding Operation) feed tens of thousands of cows in order to get the greatest weight gain-fast (what commercial beef ops call Feed Conversion Rate) for the greatest and quickest profit.
Some commercially sold “grass fed beef” actually comes from older dairy cows, which are no longer productive. Such older cattle do not produce tender, flavorful beef. Our 100% Grass Fed Beef Stock is grown right here in the middle of South Florida and harvested between 18-29 months of age. This is the optimum window for efficiency and quality of the meat. We never use any beef stock not born and raised on the designated pastures of our 100% Grass-Fed Program.
Restrictive Processing Practices
We take a maximum of 2 head at a time to minimizing stress at harvest for optimal processing. Commercial beef cattle are usually transported by the thousands in semi-trucks over long distances creating days of high stress conditions for the animals and we consider that inhumane and unnecessary. Each of the animals we harvest are processed individually under USDA Inspection with the processing area sterilized continually by me and my staff of highly skilled lifetime professionals implementing, safe and humane, handling and processing protocols.
The wholesome meat we produce is ready for distribution to members after the meat is aged. Then each SHARE in our grass fed beef program is carefully butchered, packaged in small portions and vacuum sealed for members’ convenience and so it can be prepared quickly with minimum defrosting time and no wasted meat or prep time.
You may have Questions about meat and matters concerning the meat, from animal welfare to the environment. Nutritional analysis charts of various Grass Fed Beef Cuts and ground beef as well as answers to most of the questions we encounter weekly are found in either in FAQs, The Glossary, or in a simple Reference Document like “The 12 points of Grass Farming (Our Way)”. You might want to have a look at the actual “USDA Rules for Growing Organic Beef”. Adobe PDF files referencing this type of information is located in the “InfoGraphics” menu. Everything is visible and sorted A-Z, including the Recipes. So finding words of interest in the Article Titles themselves is fast &, easy using the search site feature.
OFarm’s CSA Co-Op
Our animals are always grown using NO Antibiotics or Hormones. Our Premium, Florida born & raised, 100% Grass Fed Beef and our Florida Pastured Lamb, Chicken & Pork, are available at a discount to Members of the OFarm’s CSA Co-Op. Local Members can pick up orders at one of our Green Markets, or have them delivered free to your home! (Certain restrictions like minimum order weights for free delivery may apply). Non-Members can join the group at any of the Green Markets we attend, or you can complete the membership application on-line. The $10 membership cost is lower than any other co-op membership we’ve seen. Drop in and see us at the Green Market of your choice.
We strive to empower others to assert the primary controls over their own health and wellbeing. In this effort, we continue our commitment to providing folks access to clean, Locally Grown, Pastured Pork, Pastured Chicken and 100% Grass Fed Beef & Lamb, grown using Organic Practices of land and Grass management, without the use of Inputs of any kind. Our Website is designed to providing the information you need to enhance your knowledge of clean, healthy eating and living.
This introduction has been an overview of what we do and how we accomplish it. All of what you’ve read here is made possible because of the support from people like yourself, interacting with us at the Green markets. We greatly appreciate that support, as it makes it possible to share the pristine meat that so many of our customers have grown to love. We thank you for the continued support and encouragement, provided since we began our operation in 2010, and for having the courage to help us change things a bit. Now we wish to encourage you to Jump In, peruse our website, and do some shopping. You’ll be glad you did!