Every Monday, I pull out a meaningful quote from one of the great books or articles I’m reading (or re-reading) and share it with you.
Last week, we talked about whether or not a small amount of grain-finishing is appropriate for grass-fed pastured herbivores such as cattle and sheep. Sally Fallon Morell, in Nourishing Traditions, says that since they’ll eat some seeds and grains in the wild, a small amount of grain finishing is traditional. Many commenters thought grain-finished beef tasted better than 100% grass-fed, while another suggested that a cow who is finished on any grain experiences a souring of the stomach and a drop in nutrition of the finished meat. I am open to continuing that discussion, but the quote I’ll share today is from the other side.
Michael Pollan, in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, takes us into the mind of a cow who is being led onto fresh pasture. (Not just any pasture, though. This is Joel Salatin’s “salad bar” pasture.)
“When one of his [Salatin’s] cows moves into a new paddock, she doesn’t just see the color green; she doesn’t even see grass. She sees, out of the corner of her eye, this nice tuft of white clover, the emerald-green one over there with the heart-shaped leaves, or, up ahead, that grassy spray of bluish fescue tightly cinched at ground level. These two entities are as different in her mind as vanilla ice cream is from cauliflower, two dishes you would never conflate just because they both happen to be white. The cow opens her meaty wet lips, curls her sandpaper tongue around the bunched clover like a fat rope, and with the pleasing sound of tearing foliage, rips the mouthful of tender leaves from its crown. She’ll get to the fescue eventually, and the orchard grass, and even to quite a a few of the weeds, but not before she’s eaten all the clover ice cream she can find.”
This sounds like a very happy cow – and one who know just what she wants to eat. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in this style of management intensive grazing, no cow will be in a paddock when it is at the seeded state. These cows never do munch on wild grains or seeds, which according to Salatin, are less palatable anyway due to the woodiness of the grasses. Their diet is delectable, moist green shoots of many types. And after two happy seasons of feasting on rapidly growing green grass (and an overwintering with high quality hay), animals raised this way are primely nutritious and ready for us to enjoy (with thanksgiving).
So… what do think of the other side?
Note: The book link in this post is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you choose to buy the book via my link, I’ll earn a commission. But I don’t care about that too much. The point of this post is for us to share inspirational words. That’s my sincere disclaimer. Thanks for reading.
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