Allan Nation reports in his new blog that Whole Foods, to meet demand for grass-finished beef, is slaughtering cattle that are well short of being ready for market. The short-term result is a poor eating experience for the customer. The long-term result may be that people get turned off of grass-finished beef, thinking it's not as good as grain-finished. This could be very bad news for those of us who prefer a high quality, grass-finished beef. I'm hopeful this topic will be addressed by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey during their upcoming debate in Berkeley on February 27th.
The other sad news was a story I read in the January 2007 edition of The Stockman Grass Farmer. Apparently, Mesquite Organic Beef, a Colorado based certified organic grass-fed beef company, went out of business because Wild Oats decided to switch vendors from Mesquite to an Australian grass-fed beef program which offered a lower price. I can't vouch for Mesquite's beef as I've never tasted it, but I am saddened for the founder and his team, including the ranchers, farmers, and processors, who undoubtedly worked very hard to build this program.