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

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.