~warning this story is meant to entertain adults not children. The information in this story is what I learned during my Farm to Fork Tour with #SundaySupper
One day on a ranch in Northern Florida a heifer was born to Cow. Cow gave birth in the grass field with Rancher Bo watching over her. Rancher Bo has a cow/calf operation where he weans and preconditions the beef. Cow watched as Heifer was given her vaccines just like the Ranchers children. She hoped one day her Heifer would grow up to be nutritious beef as a part of a families mealtime.
Heifer spent her days in the field munching on the yummy grass. As she grew bigger in size she also grew in her desire to someday be a scrumptious steak at Winn Dixie. Heifer also dreamed of staying on the farm and being a cow like her mom and one day give birth to the BEST beef ever seen in the Winn Dixie’s meat case.
One humid summer morning Rancher Bo came riding up on his horse and found Cow hovering over Heifer, who was lying down. Rancher quickly took Heifer over to the shade and began to investigate. Poor Cow was worried sick about her Heifer but had faith in the Rancher. Soon Rancher Bo took Heifer away. Poor Heifer.
Heifer awoke later that day in the barn with Rancher Bo watching anxiously over her. He had given her medication to fight her infection. Heifer still didn’t feel well and quickly went back to sleep. She woke again in the middle of the night and Rancher Bo was still at her side. Heifer knew at that moment she always wanted to stay with Rancher Bo. He loved and cared for her so well that she decided to give up the dream to be nutritious beef. She hoped she would not continue onto the Feedyard with all her other calf friends although she had really wanted to complete the circle of life and feed the people of Florida.
Heifer had wanted to be consumed and become energy that would be turned back into caring for more bovine one day! Its the one thing everyone of her cattle friends want to do also. Heifer recovered from her sickness after a few days and was able to go back with her calf friends. Cow was so happy to see Rancher Bo had saved her calf. Heifer got excited and told everyone of Rancher spending the entire night with her. He fed and loved her for 2 whole days. She had her antibiotics that Rancher gave her and her meat was still perfectly yummy for the meat case someday! All the calves and cattle jumped for joy!
Each day and night when the horses came by Heifer would get excited to see Rancher Bo again. And each time Rancher Bo came and petted sweet Heifer. He gave her special attention since being sick. One day the calves were all wrangled away from their cows and they were all called yearlings.
Soon the day came to head off to the Feedyard and eat all those scrumptious grains plus still get all the grass they could eat. Lots of Ranchers came riding horses to gather up the herd. There was so much excitement. Everyone knew that in about 150 days after getting to the Feedyard they would head to the auction and then the packing plant. All the cows hoped they would end up at Winn Dixie because they are the beef people! Where else do you get the best beef from?
Rancher Bo came along on his horse and kept nudging Heifer away from all the others. She was confused and just wanted to go with the herd. Soon the gates were shut and Heifer was all alone. She thought something must be wrong. Rancher Bo walked over to Heifer and patted her back and rubbed that special spot that felt so good. He walked her over to a different pasture. In that pasture Heifer found her mother Cow and realized that she was meant to stay on the ranch and one day become a cow like her mother!
One day in the future. Heifer is not truly a heifer any longer, she has become a cow and given birth to a calf that is destined to be Prime cuts!
Honestly though I did spend the weekend with the Florida Beef Council in Gainesville Florida. It was a very informative, lots of laughs, and a very yummy weekend.
The weekend started on the University of Florida campus. We we informed of the different stages and owners a cow will go through in its lifespan. We also got to view what the hanging meat looks like all the way to the grocery store (we visited Winn-Dixie of course)
We visited 3 ranches on our Farm to Fork tour. The thing I took away from this event the most was the passion for these animals. These ranchers love these cows. Have you ever seen the love in a parents eyes when they talk about their kids? or look at them? That is the same look I saw in these ranchers eyes. They truly loved these animals and give to them 24/7 and they don’t even get to take off holidays! Not even Christmas and not one of them complained about it either. I don’t think any of them would want to be anywhere else in the world.
I also realized that their love of their animals was similar to my love for my children. They didn’t want to give extra medication, bad food, or anything unnecessary to these cows. These ranchers are feeding this beef to their children and grandchildren that live on those ranches. They also don’t want to spend the extra money on unnecessary items. These ranchers have kids and workers mouths to feed. They all appreciated the lives given to them.
Each rancher I met also cared about the land. One family was a 1st generation ranch owner that had his children and grandchildren working on the land. He took pride in wanting the land to be better when his grandchildren were passed the land. Each ranch owner told us the same thing. They loved their lifestyle and they wanted to pass this lifestyle onto future generations. That means taking great care of the land now.
My Farm to Fork tour also included professors, chefs, and a nutritionist. Learning the science behind the hormones use and how it doesn’t make much change in the meat. They also showed us the difference between grass finished and grain finished beef. ALL beef is fed grass for most of its life, the difference is in adding grain to their diet, along with grass, before they are sent to packaging. There is only a few percent difference in the daily values for the grass fed; yet the price difference is much larger.
Lean beef is a great source of protein. Did you realize a 3 ounce lean piece of beef only has 154 calories and 25 grams of protein? You would have to eat 3 cups of quinoa (with 666 calories) to get the same amount of protein. There is no way I am eating that much quinoa. Beef is also full of zinc, iron, and selenium among others.
We also made a stop by Winn-Dixie to see that side of the beef industry. After speaking with the manager, we were split into groups of 3 and given a gift card to come up with a recipe. We only had 15 minutes to shop then back to University of Florida to cook our food. My group made a Loaded Cowboy Baked Potato. We didn’t win but we did get 3rd place and had a great time.
So I guess the take away from all this is to eat more beef! It’s nutritious, delicious, and can be a part of a healthy diet!