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Why dairy beef?
Dairy cattle have missed the American beef market, and we’re here to change that.
For too long, dairy cows have been wrongfully labeled as being only good for ground beef. The idea for Vorfreude Dairy Beef originally stemmed from a place of seeking a higher level of sustainability in the beef market. Rather than breeding new cows to produce beef, why not work with the cows that are already out there? While “old dairy cows” doesn't exactly sound glamorous, further research and taste-testing proved it to be some of the best beef around. By serving a life of milking and then becoming a premium meat product, these cows serve as “dual-purpose beef”.
Dairy beef has a delicious complex flavor, beautiful marbleization and vitamin-rich fat. Much like a fine red wine or whiskey, dairy cattle meat develops a deep, rich flavor with age, and is highly sought after in other countries, especially Europe. Dairy beef fat is a rich yellow color and has a sweet buttery taste and texture - which comes from a life of eating alfalfa, grass, and other high quality forage, as well as a reflection of the rich cream content in the milk they produce. Cow breeds with higher cream content in their milk have a better flavor and darker color in their fat and meat.
In the United States we have become used to eating very young animals (usually around 18 months old): typically Angus, with white fat. Most mainstream American steaks are the result of mutating animals to meet our expectations of how big a steak should be. In order to get these large steaks, a thick outer fat layer is created in the cattle. However, this thick layer of fat isn’t profitable in our market, so we import lean beef from other countries to mix with our leftover fat. This process of bringing beef to our table has become incredibly unsustainable. By not eating older dairy cows we are missing out on so many opportunities and flavor profiles!
Traditionally, once a dairy cow’s milk production starts tapering, she is auctioned off and becomes ground beef. Sending cattle to auction requires unnecessary fuel costs for transportation, stress on the animal, and no guarantees of how they are treated during or after auction.
At Vorfreude Dairy Beef we want to give them a bit of well-deserved R&R and tell their story before they go onto their next highest purpose.
When the time comes for Vorfreude cattle to be processed, we use a mobile slaughterman to process their meat. Mobile slaughter means the butcher comes to the farm and it means the animal is never stressed with the process of travel. The dispatch is quick and humane. The whole carcass is then sent to hang fora minimum of 2 week. We then dry age our premium cuts for 30-60 days so that they come to you in your beef share deliciously rich and tender.
Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page
Meet your farmer
Rachel has had a lifelong love of cows and ranching. As a young Oregon kid growing up on the edge of city limits, she would build cattle ranches with her Texas Longhorn play sets, read Little House on the Prairie and dream of living in the country with her cows. She solidified her dream of running a cattle operation after high school, when she deferred admission to college and worked on an Australian cattle station in the Outback.
Over time, Rachel became more environmentally conscious and interested in the ethical sourcing of her food. As she began to think more critically, she noticed how many marketing lies and loopholes were out there, confusing consumers. Words like “sustainable”, “free range”, “grass fed”, were used on meat labels, when the product was anything but.
Frustrated and feeling like she was unable to trust meat from anywhere, she decided to try the process herself. She did a couple ride-alongs with a mobile slaughter man, and quickly decided she wanted to learn more about processing and butchering. Over the course of several years she learned how to raise, process and butcher her own cows, from start to finish. After butchering, the beef aged in her neighbor’s walk-in cooler until it was time to cut them in his home shop.
Throughout the process she was able to learn from experts like Marena, manager of custom processing at The Meating Place, where Rachel also spent a game season wrapping custom meat. It was only a matter of time before she was collecting more cows to care for and folks were expressing interest in Rachel selling her own beef - and so Vorfreude Dairy Beef was born! Now, just about every minute of the day is spent thinking about cows.
In addition to producing choice cuts of dairy beef, Rachel has a sustainable body product and soap business that includes products made from beef tallow. She also practices acupuncture, is an avid hiker and cyclist, and loves cooking- especially with her beef products.
“I've never tasted beef like this before. It’s the best I’ve ever had. It’s like you can taste the minerals in the meat, and the sweetness in the fat is incredible.”
© Vorfreude Dairy Beef 2022
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