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What is the difference between dairy cattle and beef cattle?Beef cattle breeds are born and raised for meat and often steers (castrated males), chosen for their ability to put on weight quickly and in large amounts. They are generally processed at 1-2 years of age. Alternatively, dairy cattle are all female, and bred for milk quality and yield above ability to put on carcass weight. Depending on the production-level of a dairy, a dairy cow may be retired at anywhere from 4-10 years of age. Reasons a dairy cow might be retired are if her milk yield is decreasing or if she is unable to be bred again, which is required for a cow to keep procuring milk. In America, after dairy cattle are retired they are generally sent into the beef market and used as ground beef.
Why is the fat on dairy beef yellow?Dairy beef fat is a rich yellow color and has a buttery taste and texture - which comes from the vitamin-packed diet the cow had throughout its life. The specific yellow color actually comes from the high concentration of beta carotene (you know, the carrot vitamin!) found in the rich plant diet the cow consumed.
Where do your cows come from?Our cows come from local dairies, all within a 2 hour radius of Portland, Oregon. Many are from Organic-certified farms or farms that use mainly organic practices. Each dairy that we source from is chosen because of its high standards of ethics, animal husbandry and the diets that they feed their cows. It’s simple—the better you treat and feed your animals, the better the meat quality.
What is life like for your cows?As a dairy cow, our cows may have been on the milking line their whole life, or some may have been used first for human milk production and then used as ‘nurse cows”. Nurse cows are used to raise calves, and often have decreased milk production that makes them less suitable for profitable human-production. However, they’re producing plenty of milk to feed a calf. The dairies that our cows come from have a combination of living in an open-air barn year-round, and in spring, summer and fall they have access to large, open pastures. Keeping them off pasture in winter is key for soil and pasture health with all the rain we get in Oregon. When the time comes for Vorfreude cattle to move on to their next life, 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, humane and far more kind than the traditional slaughterhouse - which is a highly stressful environment. We then dry age our prime cuts for 4-8 weeks so that they come to you in your beef share deliciously rich and tender.
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