FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING OUR BEEF

 

What does All-Natural mean?

The USDA definition of natural is a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product.

 

 

At Willow Farms, LLC,  we go beyond the USDA definition of natural.  We do not administer any growth hormones to our cattle – EVER. We do not administer low levels of anti-biotic through our feed – EVER.  And during processing, there are no additional fillers or by-products added to our beef – EVER.

 

We feed our pasture raised cattle an all vegetarian diet of grass and grain. We NEVER use any animal by-products in our feed. You are ensured that you are buying a truly All-Natural product and it’s 100% Beef.

 

For more information on terms used in labeling of products, click here.

If an animal is injured or gets sick on your farm and needs anti-biotic would you administer it?

Absolutely. At Willow Farms, LLC,  we take multiple steps to ensure our animals do not get injured and do not become sick. We administer preventative vaccines on schedule every year. We use rotational grazing to keep the pasture environment clean. We never over-crowd our pastures.

 

We are a family and a company that cares for the land and for the animals. In all aspects animal welfare is our top priority. If an animal were injured or became sick and we deem it necessary to use anti-biotic to aid in the animals recovery, we identify that animal at the time of administration and remove the animal from the beef program if necessary.

The Value of Dry Aging

The time honored dry aging process has long been considered the best among seasoned steak connoisseurs. Dry aging was big in the 50’s and 60’s, and then the market moved to less-costly boxed beef and vacuum packages. In the 80’s, dry aging regained popularity, but it is only available through niche and upscale markets.

 

Even though dry aging is more expensive due to storage time, refrigerator space, and labor, beef producers have never strayed from the taste and tenderness of dry-aged beef for their families.

Quality dry aging makes beef not only more tender, but concentrates the beef flavor and produces meat that is superb in taste and texture. It’s been decades since butchers first discovered that beef carcasses, left hanging for 14 to 28 days, produced beef cuts that were more tender and palatable as natural enzymes in the meat broke down proteins and connective tissue in the muscle. Personal preference for the aged beef flavor strongly dictates how long beef should be aged.

A distinct dry age beef flavor is evident after 7 days of aging with a majority of the tenderizing activity and enhancement of beef flavor occurring in the first 14 days. During the process of dry aging meat mellows, and the rich, beefy taste is accentuated. Many describe dry aged beef flavor as rich and nutty, tender, and “beefier” than non-aged beef. Chefs and other food enthusiasts often prefer its flavor intensity and tenderness. For most consumers, aging beef for 14 days will result in a tender product, desirable flavor and modest weight loss of the carcass.

Regardless of aging time, the aging process needs to be performed under the careful supervision of a professional to be flavorful and safe, and should not be tried at home.

While dry aging is the method preferred by beef lovers, wet aging is the predominant method of aging used in the food service and retail markets today. Less expensive and distribution-friendly boxed beef took advantage of wet aging technologies and displaced dry aging except in a few niche markets. Beef that is wet aged is sealed with its juices in a vacuum package, stored under controlled temperatures and approved safety standards in a professional refrigerator to tenderize the meat and prevent moisture loss. Wet aging does little to increase beef flavor intensity.

Why do we choose to finish our beef using grain?

We are often asked what the difference in grass fed and grain fed beef is. Willow Farms LLC beef is not a true representative of either traditional model.

 

We found that society has begun to shy away from the commercially raised “feed lot” beef. This is for quite a number of reasons. In commercially produced beef growth hormones are commonly used to improve growth rates, low level anti-biotic are feed to all cattle to maintain health in over-crowded situations, feed efficiency additives are used in the feed to make cattle more efficient and cost effective on grain.

 

Many people seeking a safer food source decided to seek out a healthier alternative to a commercially produced beef. The trend for “100% grass fed” beef has been very popular. However, we found customers were seeking a wholesome product for their family, but they often dissatisfied with a purely grass fed beef product. They said that “100% grass fed” beef was too lean and did not offer the rich, full flavor and marbling that they were used to in fine steak houses.

 

So, Willow Farms LLC uses a hybrid model utilizing all of the old-time methods of raising cattle on open grassland and pasture and adding a finish phase of fine grains. This combination produces a well-marbled beef with rich, full flavor that fulfills all the health aspects that our customers demand. All of these factors combined with the ability for our customers to buy local. You can visit the farm to see the environment our cattle are raised in and how your food is produced.

I’m interested in buying in bulk. Could you explain the pricing and the process?

We offer a substantial discount when purchasing our beef in quantity (quarter, half, or whole beef).  Our pricing structure is based on carcass weight or it is often referred to as “hanging weight”.   The carcass weight is determined at the processor and we have found it to be the most accurate way of pricing.  Every beef that is processed is unique and will have a slightly different cut ratio due to the bone size of that individual.  Below is simply an average example of what you can expect.  This means all cuts of beef, including the most expensive cuts of New York Strip or Prime Rib would be less than half  the cost of the lower quality product at the grocery store.

 

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE MOST CURRENT APPROXIMATE PRICE OF PURCHASING A WHOLE, HALF, OR QUARTER COW.

 

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© 2015 Willow City Farm, The Farmstand, and Willow C. Farms, LLC.

info@willowcityfarm.com / 217-899-4562

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