Hay Mama has transitioned our direct to consumer operation to our Montana brand, Cowgirl Meat Co. The same beef, just a different label and managed by the team in Montana. We still offer wholesale opportunities to Bay Area customers and also large quantity shipments to the Bay Area, so just contact us if you are interested in wholesale or whole animal purchases.
Yes, 100% grass-fed means our cattle only eat grass and forage in our pastures. They are never fed grain or corn of any type. All of our cattle are fed solely from forage and a small list of approved minerals.
Why shouldn't cows be eating corn and other grains? Cows are ruminants, meaning they are animals with four-part stomachs. They have evolved a complex system that makes them perfect for consuming and digesting grass and converting that grass into muscle and fat. It’s not natural for cows to eat large quantities of corn, soy beans and other grains in large part because they are ruminants. Animals on a grain-based diet suffer from many health issues including bloating, excess gas (the methane problem that is talked about often in the context of climate change), and liver disease. In addition, cows consuming grain are more susceptible to E.coli infections which can contaminate the meat and Acidosis, a chronic disease caused by a corn diet, is found in 13-32% of the cattle slaughtered.
No, the beef you eat has never received antibiotics for treatments or sub-therapeutic like factory raised beef.
It is not a secret that the vast majority of cattle raised in the US consume antibiotics in their food supply. Antibiotics promote growth in animals, and a cow given subtherapeutic antibiotics in their food and water grows to full weight in about 16-18 months (versus our cattle which are full weight at 24-30 months). Because of the unsanitary and confined living conditions at feedlots, antibiotics are also used for both disease prevention (when one cow in the herd is sick and they treat them all) and disease treatment for a sickened cow or herd. Lastly, because the cattle are eating large quantities of food that are not the type of food they’ve evolved to properly digest, they are vulnerable to multiple diseases. The widespread subtherapeutic use of antibiotics has led to concern that such practices are contributing to the emergence of resistant strains of bacteria that propose risk to human health. In addition, do we really want to eat meat from cows consuming antibiotics?
There are many scientific articles worth reading and here are a couple you should check out if you want to learn more. One is from the American Academy of Pediatrics on the dangers of this practice and where they have come out against the practices of adding antibiotics to livestock feed and also one from Consumers Union on why this practice needs to be eliminated for the sake of human health.
So, be sure the meat you are eating is antibiotic free and especially free from subtherapeutic antibiotics.
Yes. Our cattle live their entire life on pasture at our ranch in the beautiful Boulder River Valley. We deploy low-stress animal handling and provide plentiful “Sweet Grass County” grass with planted forage mix during the warm parts of the year and grow a rich alfalfa hay for additional feed during the coldest winter months.
At time of harvest, our artisanal processor uses a quick and painless method that allows for minimal stress and also doesn’t cause a spike of adrenaline in their body that can impact the meat. We love and respect our animals and always make their well-being and care our priority. This is in stark contrast to the factory farm beef that is the bulk of what is available on the market.
This is perhaps, in my opinion, the scariest part of conventional beef. The handling and treatment of cattle at feed lots and large scale slaughterhouses can be horrific and has been well documented. There is a really well done (although challenging to read because it is pretty disturbing) article from Rolling Stone that follows a group of animal rights activists who infiltrated factory farms to expose the atrocities there.
Most cattle are born in pasture and once they are weaned they are trucked to feedlots for fattening. If you have driven I5 through the Central Valley you have undoubtedly seen (and smelled) the vast expanse of cattle in feedlots. Cattle living in feed lots no longer graze but instead stand in cramped quarters in mud and manure in a loud, stressful, and smelly environment. They get very little physical activity which leads to weak muscles and a much paler meat. Their "diet" is delivered to concrete troughs in trucks, and there is not a blade of green grass in sight.
As Temple Grandin, the well known expert on animal handling who is working hard to change industry practices says, we must respect these animals who are serving this purpose. "I think using animals for food is an ethical thing to do, but we've got to do it right. We've got to give those animals a decent life, and we've got to give them a painless death. We owe the animal respect.”
Yes. Through the wisdom of leaders like Jim Gerrish and Allan Savory, and under direct guidance from Nicole Masters, famed Soil Scientist and Ecologist, we follow regenerative grazing practices. Click here to learn more.
We dry age our beef up to 21 days for increased tenderness and meat quality. In addition, hanging the beef at time of slaughter ensures any dangerous bacteria like e coli die without requiring use of chemical treatment. Our artisanal processor never has to spray our beef with acid like they do in conventional packing houses.
From pink slime to the acid that is sprayed on commercial carcasses at slaughter, if it is a low enough percentage of the overall product, it does not have to be disclosed to consumers. You can argue about whether these practices are healthy or necessary, but I for one think ALL things added at any level to the beef should be disclosed and any processing that has been done should be listed. Consumers have a right to know what they are buying and putting into their bodies. By purchasing from small producers who provide full transparency, and who tend to avoid additives and chemicals you can have much more confidence about what you are consuming. Hay Mama beef is processed one cow at a time and each package can be traced back to a single cow and nothing is added.
Our beef and pork is processed at the aware winning Pioneer Meats, a USDA inspected plant in Big Timber, MT. It is a small, family-owned artisanal packing house that takes pride in their products and their team.
Freezing our beef, rather than selling it "fresh" allows us to butcher our meat at just the right time for the best flavor and quality. You shouldn't pick fruit before it is at its peak of flavor, and grass-fed beef is no different. It is cut, vacuum sealed, and deep-frozen for optimum quality.