It seems like the more popular local, wholesome food becomes, the more confusing all of the terms become. All natural, grass-fed, organic. The list goes on and on.
One that is rather confusing to a lot of people is grass-fed vs. grass-finished. What is the difference? Which one is best?
I have the answer for you here!
First I need to define a couple of terms.
First, grass. Grass, in this case, refers to plants such as grass, clover, weeds, etc. It can also mean stored forage like hay, which is simply a dried and preserved version of the above.
The second term is finishing. This is the process of fattening an animal prior to slaughter in order to create a more tender, and flavorful cut of meat.
So with that said, here are the differences:
Grass-fed means the animal has been fed grass, but it can mean that the animal is fed grain during the finishing period.
Grass-finished means the animal is not fed grain during the finishing period, though it could potentially mean that some grain was fed earlier in the life of the animal.
So which one is better?
What I produce on my farm, and what I most definitely recommend is grass-finished beef.
The damaging effects of grain in the meat is largely found in the fat, so, what the animal is fed during the finishing period has a big impact on the final product.
A little grain fed earlier in the animals life is not as big of a deal, as any negative effects will be gone by the time.
Unfortunately, terms are always changing so who knows what they will mean in the years to come. That’s why buying straight from a farmer you know and trust is so important!
I hope this helps!
And if you want some tips on how to cook grass-fed beef, or other meats, on a busy schedule, click here to receive a FREE guide with 3 easy tips!