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Grass-Fed Beef Now Nationwide

We are excited to announce that Whole Foods Market now offers grass-fed and finished beef in all of our 281 stores in the United States. While this is a nationwide program, it isn’t based on national sourcing. True to our commitment to support our local communities, we partner with grass-fed producers from across the country including family farms in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. Increasingly, people are thinking about what they are eating and how it is produced. By partnering with producers across the country, Whole Foods Market hopes to help bring grass-fed ranching back into the mainstream because of its positive impact on the cattle, the environment and how it supports local communities. For beef cattle, grass is the most natural feed available. Cattle are designed to convert grasses, legumes and herbaceous plants into protein. Because it’s their natural environment, raising cattle on grass hearkens back to traditional methods. As well, most grass-fed ranchers are either independent, selling beef from only their own property or belong to a small, locally focused producer group. Like all meat sold at Whole Foods Market, grass-fed beef must meet our strict quality standards, which require that animals are raised on a vegetarian diet with no antibiotics or added growth hormones. In addition, all producers must meet specific and rigorous animal welfare standards that apply to all stages of an animal’s life and environment. Because grass-fed cattle are typically leaner than cattle that are fed grain, almost all cuts of grass-fed beef have less fat than beef that is grain finished. In addition, grass-fed beef has a distinct, vibrant flavor that some people prefer. Never cooked grass-fed beef before? Here are a few tips because it does cook up a bit differently than what you may be used to.

  • Since it’s leaner than grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef usually takes about 30% less time to cook, so pay attention to make sure you don’t overdo it. You can test it with a meat thermometer.
  • Make sure you aren’t starting with cold beef straight from the refrigerator. Starting ice cold can result in poorly cooked meat.
  • When using grass-fed beef in your favorite recipes, lower the cooking temperature of your oven by about 25°F. The cooking time will stay about the same.
  • When cooking on the grill, let the flames burn down more than you do for other meat.
  • Always use tongs, never a fork, to turn your beef. Piercing causes precious juices to be lost.
  • Remember to let the meat rest to allow the juices to redistribute before slicing.

Now some people ask me about the price of grass-fed beef. Bottom line is that it costs more for the ranchers to raise cattle this way, so they need to earn more off of each animal to make a living. For example, it takes longer to bring grass-fed cattle to market, so there’s more cost on the production end. Also, since grass-fed cattle are not fed grains, they are less efficient in gaining weight; sometimes weighing up to 250 less than grain fed cattle. That means the cost per pound paid to the rancher for each animal needs to be higher. I think very highly of our grass fed beef ranchers—ranching the way things used to be done, while taking care of our environment and helping local communities. Here’s just a sampling of the ranchers we partner with: Baldwin Family Farms — Yanceyville, NC The healthy herd of Charolais Cattle at Baldwin Family Farms enjoys grazing the nutrient rich pastures of an 800-acre multi-generational farm. Founders, V. Mac and Peggy Baldwin, practice a unique form of winter and summer grazing that allows the cattle to graze year round and produce high-quality, grass-fed, lean beef throughout every season. Circle N Ranch — Waurika, OK Gary and Lauren Nitschke, a second-generation, husband-and-wife team, have been in the ranching business for 54 years. Their cattle are raised to meet the guidelines of the Grassfed Livestock Alliance: an animal centered, pasture based system using high animal welfare standards that encompass all aspects of production, not confined to a feedlot. White Oak PasturesBluffton, GA Will Harris is a fourth generation cattleman whose 1,000-acre farm in South Georgia is home to about 650 grass-fed beef cattle that roam freely and graze on 100% Georgia native sweet grasses. With the help of a loan from Whole Foods Market, Will recently built an on-farm processing facility designed for low-stress animal handling while also minimizing the environmental impact. Simply Grazin’ Organic Farm — Skillman, NJ Simply Grazin’ practices rotational grazing, and the cattle have enough pasture to last them throughout the spring, summer and fall—they receive no grain at all. Organic hay is harvested all summer long and stored for their consumption throughout the long winter months. Eel River Organic Beef — Humboldt County, CA Clint Victorine has dedicated his entire career to raising high-quality beef with animal welfare prominently in focus. His cattle are raised on the clover and rye grass pastures of the beautiful Eel River Valley in Humboldt County, Northern CA. We believe that partnering with ranchers like these throughout the country gives us the chance to offer an alternative for consumers, animals and our planet. Have you tried grass-fed beef? What do you think about it?

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139 comments

Comments

catherine says …

I LOVE Whole Foods. I am so very very grateful that such a market exist FINALLY locally on the east coast. It was very frustrating to try to eat healthy from the local grocery store which offer very limited organic and natural foods. WE (our bodies and brains!) ARE WORTH the money we spend on healthy food! I TOTALLY want to support any farmer who goes this route. How can you go to Dunkin Donuts everyone morning and then say, "i can't afford" organic food??? Bull crap! THANK YOU WHOLE FOODS FOR YOUR COMMITMENT to the health and welfare of the people, farmers and planet!

Natalie says …

I am so happy Whole Foods finally has grass fed beef. I would also like to see pastured chickens available.

Maria says …

Great news for Whole Foods and the country in general. Lets hope people are starting to become more aware of what they are putting in their mouths and how it affects them and our environment! Grass fed beef is a great start!

Susan Johnson says …

There is nothing like grass fed beef. Unfortunately, getting it where I live is nearly impossible. When will Whole Foods put a store in the Albany New York area??? whoe Fooids is awsome. Whenever I visit my daughter in Portland Maine, I take a cooler chest, and fill it up with meat and fish. What I wouldn't give for one closer to me that isn't in large city like New York and Hartford. The closest to me is over 3 hours away. Please put one closer.

Juliette Aiyana says …

Thumbs Up Whole Foods!! Not only is grass fed beef healthier for humans and the cows, but it is more humane for the cows. Not to mention the massive support this will give provide honest, hardworking farmers.

Mike THoma says …

Kudos on the grass-fed beef. I hope you move to adding pastured eggs and chickens, and pork and lamb on a store by store basis. By dealing direct with the farmers I'm hoping that the price of "the good stuff" gets better for the consumer and provides a lifeline for the family farmer who's doing it RIGHT to have a steady source of income.

Kevin says …

One comment about the higher prices on grass-fed beef. I did experience a bit of sticker shock when I first made the switch. Due to financial restraints it forced me to alter my diet, using beef as more of an addition to a meal rather than the center of the meal. I find myself savoring every bit of the beef, thankful for the cow and mindful of how it lived.

Traci says …

This is Great - thank you Whole Foods for the info and for selling grass fed cattle. Your store is an inspiration to my family's nutrition and way of life. And to the environment. I try to tell people how important it is to educate themselves on the food that they eat.

Angela P says …

I haven't eaten any beef in over 12 years. I would like to have some beef stew every now and then or a little beef here and there. I can trust grass fed cattle as beef to eat when I want. Thanks Whole Foods! I also thinks its awesome that Whole Foods has created a program to make loans to Farmers who support organic food. I really appreicate Whole Foods standing firm to quality whole foods we can trust!

Jani Bakke says …

The problem with fatty beef is so much more than just excess calories and what it does to your arteries, heart, etc. The fat in animals is where all the pesticides and other bad things hang out, so we are really ingesting that awful stuff whenever we eat fatty animals that are raised with antibiotics, pesticides, etc.

Lou says …

What a way to go! Just finished reading "Eating Animals" and am really trying to do my part. Grass fed beef is hard to find in my area.

Gail says …

It is the only beef we eat in our home. It has more excellent flavor, health benefits and supports our independent farmers. Join us in the Grass-raised beef for your household movement!

Mary Hill says …

This is great that you will be selling grass fed beef. My question is how do you slaughter this cattle? Is is done in a humane way?

says …

@Mary For the past 10 years, Whole Foods has required ALL producers who sell meat to us to work with slaughter plants that have animal welfare practices well developed. They are required to pass an audit for animal welfare annually, and that audit is based on the tolerances and criteria developed by Temple Grandin. Measurements and observations include stress to the animal (measured in several different ways) at critical points throughout the plant, insensibility prior to slaughter, etc. We do not want animals to be stressed or to experience pain at slaughter. You can read more about the methods and criteria used to assess animal welfare at http://grandin.com/.

Adrienne says …

Thank you soooooooooooo... much for providing our communitiy with grass fed beef. It is so refreshing to find people finally caring about what they put into their bodies.

Coletta says …

I will not buy my meat any other place and I appreciate your cooking tips for grass fed beef. It is definitely different and leaner, allowing my body to be leaner. Thanks for the availability and extra effort.

Ann Marie Gumula says …

Thank you so much for your commitment to grass-fed beef. I know it's more expensive but to me it's worth it if I know the animals are treated humanely. Is there a similar guarantee of natural conditions and humane treatment for chickens, turkeys and pigs? I am willing to pay what it takes to ensure humane treatment.

Tracy Sinclair says …

You really need to have grass fed and FINISHED beef. Not just grass fed. It's a step in the right direction though, and I buy it. I'd love it if you had 100% grass fed & finished beef.

says …

@Tracy We totally agree, which is why this is a grassfed AND finished program! Just check the opening sentence; we've got you covered!

Cheryl Kobal says …

I am quite impressed at WFM dedication to bring high quality foods such as these to market...even if that means providing financing to farmers!

mary none says …

Thank you Wholefoods for moving this country in a positive directions. The more and more we as consumers act with our wallets and purchase grass fed beef the more it will become the norm. I will pay the extra any day for quality food that in the long run it better for my body, the health of my family and the long term effects on our health care system. If people cut out one extra night out a week of eating out etc and use that money on their food bill they could eat more healthy food.

Jessica says …

This is a great first step. Now the next part of the equation is to let the consumer know how humanely (or not) these animals are treated when they get to the slaughter house.

says …

Hey Jessica, we've been working on just that project for a while now and we're hoping to roll it out in our stores within the next year. It will be a 5-step meat rating system that will allow customers to make the informed choices possible about their meat purchases.

Matt says …

FINALLY! I love grass fed beef :)

DeVia Murry says …

Please consider O X Farms in Arizona for the Southwest. I get their beef because it is grassfed, humanely handled.

Sabrina says …

We don't eat red meat too often, just a few times a month, but when we do we choose to buy it from our local Whole Foods store. You can absolutely tell the difference and it is worth paying a little extra for excellent quality. I couldn't agree more with supporting family-owned local ranchers!

Lorena says …

This is great news! Let's hope one day everyone joins in this humane cause. Thank you Whole Foods!

Doris Eddy says …

I'm really excited to know you will be selling Grass-Fed Beef. I love shopping at Whole Foods and we need more stores like this in Richmond. Thank you for caring about our health. I'm very concerned about what I put in my body and I know that I can trust your store to provide the right kind of food.

grace pyter says …

We are elated to hear the good news regarding Grass-Fed Beef now available at Whole Foods. Would like to see more raw (butter, milk) food items at Whole Foods as well.

Clark Breen says …

Who are your suppliers in Texas, particularly North Texas

Beef boy says …

What's the $ per pound?

Ken Rivkin says …

Grass fed beef may not have the marbling and may be a little tougher, but it is so much more flavorful. I had not realized, what I had been missing all these years. It is beef the way it's meant to be.

Millie Heveran says …

I'm sorry to not see any Florida grass-fed beef. Why is this?

jd says …

I don't buy that it has to cost more, what a farce. It should cost less. It's all marketing psycho-babble to nickle and dime the unwary consumer.

Phocion Timon says …

Fantastic. I've eaten grass-fed beef most of my life, until I started city life. When are you going to open a store in Midland, Texas?

Linda says …

Great information. I didn't know about the special cooking suggestions for Grass-Fed Beef. Lower temps, less time to cook, and let the fire in the pit burn down. Yum! This TEXAS lady is ready for a great sirloin steak!

Myrna Mandjikov says …

I'm glad you are doing this to bring a healthy product to consumers and support 'my definition of traditional agriculture'. Until I went to college, all the meat I ever ate came from our 25 acres. Beef was grass raised, grain finished. That's how all of us back yard small farmers raised them. I just can't believe in what seems like a few short years, this all has become a fad. We had our own Beef, pork, chickens, pheasant, pigeon, rabbit, duck, goose, turkey, guinea hen, vegetables out of the garden, home raised fruit, home canned and dried fruit, vegetables, jam. And our own honey, eggs and sometimes milk. Of course the big difference is that we all sat down and butchered the poultry and rabbits ourselves. Something the modern American absolutely won't do. And my folks did most of it in a slow easy way. Sustainable way. There were only three of us kids and we really didn't do a whole lot. It was a shame that FDA laws kept us from selling any of that to the public. If the small hobby farmers like ourselves could have maybe those small farms wouldn't be track housing today.

Nicole says …

Thank-you Whole Foods! I have been buying grass fed beef on-line and now I can pick it up while at the store as well!

Kim says …

This is great! Now if only there were a Whole Foods in the Akron, Ohio area! Maybe someone could look into that? The closest one to me is 35 minutes away. :(

Leslie Ann Jones says …

Happy to hear this is a nationwide program and that you are using local sources of beef. Now if you could just do that with lamb....

Valerie G. says …

This is a huge leap forward thank you so much!

l a jones says …

Happy to hear this is a nationwide program and that you are using local sources of beef. Now if you could just do that with lamb.... I live in Northern California,less than 2 hours from sheep country. I just can't bring myself to buy New Zealand lamb from WH.

Patricia Yanez says …

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Show the rest of the world how to treat our animals and our food!! I will vote for this initiative with my buying power. xo

lynn maas says …

Given the financial situation, consider a frequent buyers reward card for grass fed beef and organic products.

Bassam says …

We only eat grass-fed from WFM in my home. We also enjoy the grass-fed Ultimate burger when it is made at WFM. I wish the grass-fed soup did not have pasta and they made more grass-fed chili, yummy yummy :) The first time we cooked it, the smell right away snt me back to my childhood abroad. The taste and the smell was so original. What I know is that fat from naturally, healthy raised cows is good. And fat and cholesterol is not the cause of higher risk in strokes. According to several latest studies, it is high carbohydrates. Also note that WFH has grass-fed while milk, though pasteurized :(

Patty says …

I'm glad to see this WFM! I encourage you to start selling pasture and humanely raised pork and chicken as well! Thank you!

Cassie says …

Thank you Whole Foods for making the choice to sell grass-fed beef at your stores. Your commitment to the health of this nation (and to the animals that we eat) is commendable. Please continue to fight the good fight for the sake of us all!

STR says …

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

laura says …

Awesome! Thank you WFM. I will only feed my family grass fed beef and it is great to have a convenient, local source. Please keep up the effort to get us access to real food! Next, how about some raw milk from these pastured cows in RI?

Dale Roland says …

I see that you have two farmers raising their cattle stock exactly how nature wanted it and that is without any chemicals as they are organic but what about the others? Is the grass chemically free? You stated that there were no growth hormones or antibiotics but what about the pesticides and or fertilizers for the grass, as they are not designated as organic or sustainable farming practices?

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