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Why “Grass-Fed” Doesn’t Cut It When It Comes to Beef Labels

grass fed cattle

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘grass-fed’? Or when you think about how organic beef is raised? If you imagine rolling green pastures and long, lazy days grazing, then this one’s for you. It turns out, you can’t always take a label at face value. We think everyone has the right to know what their label means. That’s why we’ve detailed why  “grass-fed” doesn’t always cut it. 

Why reading labels matters 

When the organic food label got its start in 1990, organic farmers wanted to differentiate their practices and products. But the “variations in the definition of organic from state to state” made it difficult to regulate. This lack of regulation led to any company being able to claim organic on its label whether it meets the rigorous standards or not. That means that beef and other ‘organic’ products you find in the store could say they’re all-natural, organic, certified, or any number of things and they’re only telling the partial truth. 

Some ways you can interpret the label is by understanding organic certifications and reading the fine print. And look for terms like 100% grass-fed and finished, third-party verified, GAP4 certified, and USDA certified organic. 

The difference between grass-fed and grass-finished

For now, let’s focus on the first part. Specifically, the difference between a label that says “grass-fed” and one that says “100% grass-fed and finished.” 

Grass (and grain) fed

An animal doesn’t need to eat grass its entire life to have the “grass-fed” label. Due to a lack of regulation, “as long as the cow was fed greenery at one point in its life, it can be labeled as grass-fed beef.” At one point in its life. That could be as little as one day spent grazing. More often, these animals started with a grass diet but ate grains for the remainder of their lives. So the label should technically include “grain-finished beef.” 

100% grass-fed and finished 

When the label gives not only the percentage but also says “finished” it means that from birth to butcher block, that animal ate a purely grass diet. With this diet, the meat “is ultimately the most nutrient-dense beef you can buy, and ideally what to look for when you purchase beef.” 

Oreganic’s process

At Oreganic™, we are proud of our process and stand by every label and certification we’ve earned. We meet the rigorous protocols and yearly audits to bear the USDA certified organic label. And we follow strict standards for our animals’ diets and welfare. Our animals live up to their 100% grass-fed and finished label and eat only certified organic grasses in open pastures their entire lives. Unlike many commercial animals, our animals never spend time in stressful, cramped feedlots.

We ensure the top care of our animals and top quality for our customers. And we raise our beef in the most natural way possible because we know stress-free, happy cattle produce better tasting meat (that’s better for you, too). 

Making a healthier choice 

The next time you see an organic label, make sure you understand what it’s saying––especially with subtleties like the animal’s diet. And the next time you’re craving a burger or prime rib, know that Oreganic™ stands by our labels and processes. 

Why Essential Fatty Acids Are…Well, Essential

essential fatty acids organic beef patty

There’s a lot of information out there regarding nutrition. Especially essential nutrients and how to get more of them into our diets. At the top of the list? Essential fatty acids. They’re touted for their many positive benefits, including preventing heart disease, breaking down cholesterol, and regulating hormone production. And did you know you can get them from your organic, 100% grass-fed beef? Just one more reason why choosing Oreganic™ means beef that’s better for you.  

What are essential fatty acids?

You might have heard the term “good fat” tossed around a time or two and thought, how can fat be good? Ultimately it depends on the type and source. Essential fatty acids are part of the fat molecules necessary to the human diet. The two types that exist in nature are Omega-3 and Omega-6. Terms you might have read on a supplement bottle.

Why we need them

Although the human body naturally converts other fats into essential fatty acids, it can’t produce Omega-3 on its own. To maintain optimal health, we must get this from a food source. Part of what makes them so essential is that they’re “an integral part of cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors in these membranes.” In plain English, that means essential fatty acids are building blocks to more efficient body functions.

Let’s break that down by benefits:

Regulate blood clotting: The hormones these fatty acids create can regulate blood clotting, the contraction and relaxation of artery walls, and inflammation. All things that prevent excess bleeding and damage to tissue.

Aid healthy hormone production: Hormone production has far-reaching benefits for the human body. Including proper thyroid and adrenal function. Quick refresher: your adrenal glands have a big impact on things like your immune system and blood pressure.

Breakdown of cholesterol: We all hear how high cholesterol is a bad thing. Essential fatty acids are responsible, in part, for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol. And when it comes to cardiovascular health, proper cholesterol breakdown is crucial.

Prevent heart disease and stroke: Studies have shown that these fatty acids can prevent heart disease and stroke because of the above benefits. They also “may help control lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis.”

What does all of this have to do with beef?

You might agree that essential fatty acids seem like a great addition to your diet, but we lost you when it comes to beef. The type of beef that you might pick up on a grocery run most likely is not going to cut it. Organic, 100% grass-fed beef specifically contains a ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 that’s “well within the 4:1 guidelines of a standard healthy diet.” For reference, most conventional beef has a ratio of 20:1. Far outside the guidelines.

Because our animals are 100% grass-fed and finished, our Oreganic Beef™ products contain up to six times the amount of these fatty acids when compared to grain-fed beef. They also contain two to three times the Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). Which is a strong nutritional defense against cancer and has the potential to decrease heart disease risk.

Choosing Oreganic™

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we’re in the business of beef that’s better for you. When you buy from Oreganic™, you can expect a product that tastes better and contains more of the essential fatty acids that are crucial to your overall health. Steak for dinner, anyone?

“Local” to Who? And Other Questions You Should Be Asking About Your Organic Beef

organic beef, cattle on Rocker 3 Ranch

The term “organic beef” might seem strange at first. How can beef be organic? But when you start digging into where your food comes from, it’s obvious you should be asking more questions than “how much is this per pound?” We’ve detailed some questions that you should always ask about your organic beef. 

Why asking questions about your organic beef is the way to go 

Take a quick mental inventory of your freezer right now. Can you honestly say you know where your meat comes from, how it was processed, or what the animal’s life was like? If you answered no, you’re not alone. According to Alliance for Science, “48 percent of Americans say they never or rarely seek information about where their food was grown or how it was produced.”

Questioning your food means you “bridge the gap between farm and fork” and that you take an active role in health and sustainability. Questioning also keeps food companies accountable and ultimately will change labels and processes in the future. 

What do you mean by “local”? 

The first question to ask of organic beef is what the company means when they say “local.” Many labels say “ranch-raised” or “local farm,” but local to who? For example, there are organic ranches in Australia touting their product as local in the stores, but unless you live there it can’t possibly be. The company should say what particular ranch, in what state, and even in what country. At Oreganic™, our beef is local if you’re in Central Oregon, but we don’t use the term on our site because we’re shipping to consumers all across the West Coast. 

How did the animal live its life?

When bridging the farm to fork gap, you should question the animal welfare of the farm. Just by opening this conversation, you can be more informed about and involved in your food. Start by asking: “How do the animals graze? How much time do they spend indoors and outdoors?” Do they spend time in a feedlot? If so, how much? How are the animals handled? And how are sickness and disease prevented and/or treated? 

The Rocker 3 Ranch animals of Oreganic™ are 100% grass-fed and finished, are free to roam our organic pastures, and are raised as humanely and naturally as possible. As a consumer, this means the beef you’re getting with us tastes better, has increased health benefits (like less total fat), and comes from a ranch that genuinely cares. 

What is the quality assurance process? 

True quality assurance is present in everything from production to processing. For organic beef, there should be a quality assurance process from birth to harvesting. When purchasing a product, the company should disclose things like sanitation, food traceability, presence of hormones or pesticides, and certifications. Truly transparent ranches and farms should offer the answers to these questions upfront.  

For Oreganic™, our quality assurances come in the form of our USDA certification and third-party verifications (via ICS and IMI Global). We undergo one yearly audit minimum, with random spot audits as the agencies see fit. Whereas other food providers can make any claim on their food label––such as organic, anti-hormone, non-GMO––we have the verification and paperwork to prove it. Giving you the peace of mind that our beef is truly what we say it is. 

Take ownership of your food 

It takes a little extra effort, but questioning your food pays off in the long run. It not only leads to healthier, more sustainable food options, but it also gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for what you consume. At Oreganic, we’re all about appreciating the process. 

Traceability & Transparency: the Pillars of Oreganic™ Beef’s Business

traceability, animals at Rocker 3 Ranch

At Oreganic Beef Company™, we believe in producing quality, sustainable beef with integrity. The commercial food industry is a lot of smoke and mirrors. We like to rise above with full traceability and transparency. 

Beef traceability

Food traceability is a hot topic for a reason. It refers to the ability to track the food supply chain. This includes the raw materials used, certifications achieved, processes, and control systems. Traceability boils down to providing consumers knowledge about what they’re eating and where it came from. In other words, the entire process from A to Z. For Oreganic™, our beef traceability means the following: 

Animal welfare

We’re committed to our animals. Not only because we genuinely believe that stress-free cattle produce better tasting meat. But because we know that these animals deserve to be well-treated and well-fed. For any cut of meat you choose, we could tell you everything about the animal. Where it was born, where and what it grazed, and even who its mother was. Part of our humane treatment includes our animals grazing the thousands of acres of organic grasses at Rocker 3 Ranch. 

Processing 

Traceability doesn’t stop once the animals leave the ranch. That’s why we have a long-term partnership with Mark’s Meat Co. in Canby, OR. They are one of seven butcher shops in Oregon that are certified organic and inspected by the USDA. In keeping with our standards, the shop is also Animal Welfare approved and GAP certified. 

Packaging and shipping

Every time you order with Oreganic™, we vacuum pack and quick-freeze the product. We also guarantee delivery within 72 hours of the shipment date. Currently, all of our shipments go out on Tuesdays. As of now, we’re shipping to California, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. 

 

Tracking your food origins—from the animal’s upbringing to the type of processing and packaging it went through—means you truly know what you’re eating. Plus, traceable processes and informed consumption ultimately lead to healthier eating habits. When everyone’s accountable, everyone wins.  

Company transparency 

The food transparency movement is something we take very seriously at Oreganic™. It helps consumers rest easy knowing that the food they’re purchasing is safe, traceable, and focused on sustainability and animal welfare. We address this in the following ways: 

GAP4 certified 

Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step-4 Rating refers to what conditions we raise our animals under. To meet this certification, third-party farm audits verify and ensure our animals graze in open pastures and are never in feedlots. On top of receiving proper handling, feed, water, and care throughout their lives. This certification lets our consumers know that we raise our animals in humane conditions and as naturally as possible.

USDA certified organic 

To be USDA certified organic, we have to keep up with rigorous standards from birth to harvest. Including that the “animals are raised without the use of antibiotics, added hormones, or animal by-products.” Taking great care of the animals and providing them with stress-free lives is a family value that stemmed long before the USDA organic protocols. And something we pass down through each generation. They are free to roam, feed on organic grasses, and live as naturally as possible. 

Family owned and operated 

Beef is our business. And the Rocker 3 Ranch is our legacy. As a family-owned business, we believe in being fully transparent as individuals and as a company. We strive to be upfront about the extra costs and time it takes to raise 100% grass-fed, USDA certified organic beef. You can even schedule a tour by appointment to see for yourself. 

Trust Oreganic™ 

Purchasing from Oreganic™ means that you’re getting the guarantee of healthier, more sustainable beef. Our commitment to total traceability and transparency extends from our ranch to your table. By choosing Oreganic™ Beef, you are encouraging the change to a healthier, happier lifestyle for animals across America.

Grass-Fed and Finished Organic Beef Startup, Oreganic Beef Company, Delivers to Your Doorstep from Family-Owned Ranch in Madras, OR

oreganic beef company, little boy and dog near cows

Oreganic Beef Company, which raises fully traceable organic beef from the Rocker 3 Ranch in Madras, Oregon, is announcing the debut of their direct-to-consumer beef delivery. 

Third-generation rancher Darrell Ceciliani first launched Oreganic Beef in 2019. The company stands on the premise that traceability is a fundamental right for today’s consumers.  The family-owned ranch is one of Central Oregon’s only third-party verified, 100% grass-fed and finished, GAP4-certified, and USDA certified organic operations. 

Direct-to-consumer beef was the Ceciliani family’s dream for over 30 years. After time spent in the commercial food industry, they wanted to pursue a process that would ultimately ensure better health for their cattle and customers. Oreganic Beef is a fully traceable product backed by third-party certifications that audit the ranch annually for quality. The end results are animals that lead happier lives and better-tasting meat that contains more essential nutrients. From the animal’s birth and humane raising to their dry-aging process and equally certified processing facility, Oreganic ensures quality control at every stage. 

Each order is securely vacuum-packed and individually quick frozen to seal in freshness. Then it’s shipped directly to consumer’s doors. As of 2020, the company ships exclusively to Oregon, California, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado to maintain the highest quality product. 

About Oreganic Beef Company: 

Darrell Ceciliani Jr. launched Oreganic Beef Company in 2019 with his three sons and a passion for organic ranching and land stewardship. The Ceciliani’s are third and fourth generation ranchers and have an appreciation for animal welfare, sustainable ranching, and traceable products. Oreganic Beef Company is the result of 30 years of planning, building partnerships in the community, and becoming third-party verified to deliver beef consumers can trust.