Grass-fed goodness

This article was originally published in November 2014

Animals grazing on their natural diet of grass produce foods that are high in both nutrition and flavor. From lean, flavorful steaks and bright-yolked eggs to milk, cream, yogurt and cheese, PCC offers a variety of grass-fed products that may become essentials in your kitchen.

Meat

Grass-fed meats typically are leaner than grain-fed meats and contain much higher-quality fats. Grass-finished meats offer:

  • Higher levels of omega-3 fats
  • More CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, a unique fatty acid that seems to provide a wide range of benefits including a reduced cancer risk and improved cardiovascular outcomes
  • More vitamin E, beta-carotene and B-vitamins

Products to try:

  • Beef/pork: PCC has its own house brand of grass-fed beef, sourced from farms around the Northwest. Most stores also carry certified organic Eel River grass-fed beef from Hydesville, California. PCC Edmonds and Redmond sell award-winning, certified organic, grass-fed beef and pork from George and Eiko Voykovich’s Skagit River Ranch in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Skagit River Ranch’s sausages and bacon also are made from certified organic, grass-fed meats (but aren’t themselves certified).
  • Grass-fed hot dogs and pepperoni sticks from 3 Sisters family farm on Whidbey Island.
  • The New Primal’s grass-fed beef jerky, made without nitrates, preservatives or MSG — just grass-fed beef, marinated, smoked, sweetened with a touch of pineapple juice and honey, and infused with hints of onion, pepper and ginger.
  • Palouse Pastured Poultry from Rosalia, Washington, is certified organic chickens, pastured on certified organic grass and alfalfa clover fields. Available fresh May through September and frozen the rest of the year at select stores.
  • Grass-fed lamb — milder in flavor, higher in protein and lower in fat than grain-fed lamb. PCC’s comes from Umpquah Valley Lamb in southwest Oregon, where the lambs graze on pastures of fresh grass, sweet clover and alfalfa.

Pastured eggs

Farmers are allowed to provide some supplemental feed (grains) to pastured hens, but the majority of their diet comes from what they find in the field — insects, roots and grubs. In addition to the health benefits listed above for meat, pastured eggs also reportedly contain about a third less cholesterol than conventional eggs and have much more vitamin D. Pastured eggs are available in all stores from various family farms, including Helen the Hen, Stiebrs, Pasture Verde, Palouse Pastured Poultry, Misty Meadows Farm and Little Eorthe Farm.

Dairy

One of the many benefits of choosing organic milk is that the cows must have pasture access — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards require that organic dairy cows get a third of their diet from grasses rather than grains. This pasture access means organic milk contains less saturated fat and more omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic milk.

Products to try:

Milk and cream: Pure Éire Dairy in central Washington supplies PCC with cream-topped organic milk in glass bottles and whipping cream in plastic pints that come from 100-percent grass-fed cows.

Yogurt: Maple Hill Creamery makes certified organic, cream-top, 100-percent grass-fed yogurt with milk from farms in New York state. The milk isn’t homogenized, strained or skimmed, and only scant amounts of pure extracts, fruit puree, organic sugar and real maple syrup are used. No thickeners, colors or preservatives.

Cheese: PCC carries grass-fed cheeses from around the world: Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy, creamy Cablanca goat gouda from the Netherlands, Fonterra’s sharp cheddar from New Zealand, Kerrygold cheeses from Ireland, Emmenthaler and cave-aged Gruyère from Switzerland, Comté from France, and Bellweather Farms crème fraîche. Our U.S. grass-fed choices include mozzarella and other cheeses from Rumiano in California, and cheddar from Organic Valley.
Ice Cream: Steve’s Ice Cream from Brooklyn, New York, uses grass-fed milk and cream in its unusual flavors such as Salty Caramel and Southern Banana Pudding.

Grass-fed protein powder 

PCC offers two brands of grass-fed whey protein powder that mix well in yogurt, smoothies, juice, milk and water.

Reserveage Nutrition: Sourced with traceability from farmers who pasture-feed their cattle and don’t use synthetic hormones, this vanilla protein powder is sweetened lightly with stevia. One scoop provides 20 grams of protein.

Terra’s Whey: Certified organic, this unflavored, unsweetened protein powder is sourced from family-owned organic dairy farms. Each serving has at least 22 grams of protein.

Also in this issue

Carrageenan moratorium

PCC has implemented a moratorium on bringing in new organic foods containing the controversial ingredient, carrageenan.

Water quality and fish consumption

There's a battle at the state level over how much local fish we're supposed to be eating and it all hinges on the state's water quality standards. Big business is pushing to minimize water quality protection and allow the levels of pollution it believes are necessary to boost the economy.

Sustainable West Coast seafood

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program has upgraded the sustainability rating of several West Coast fish.