While all cows are grass-fed up to a point, most cattle are sent to a feedlot to be fattened on grain before they are slaughtered. American Grassfed Association standards dictate that cattle are fed only grass and their mother’s milk. Look for “grass-fed” or “grass-finished” on the package. Much of the grass-fed beef in North America is produced on small farms and sold directly to consumers. A good place to find it is at your local farmers’ market. A number of websites, including americangrassfed.org, eatwild.com, eatwellguide.org and localharvest.org, offer useful directories for locating grass-fed beef near you. To save money, consider purchasing a share, a half or whole animal, or a box of assorted cuts. Natural-foods stores and specialty meat markets also often sell grass-fed beef.
Mail-order: If you can’t find grass-fed beef locally, look to the Web. Sources include: Hardwick Beef, hardwickbeef.com; La Cense Beef, lacensebeef.com; Lasater Grasslands Beef, lasatergrasslandsbeef.com; Tallgrass Beef, tallgrassbeef.com.
So how does it taste? The EatingWell Test Kitchen did a blind taste test of conventional versus grass-fed beef. We found that when it comes to beef, taste and texture are a matter of personal preference. Our recommendation? Try your own taste test at home and see what you prefer.