Whole Story

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Strauss Veal for Earth Day and Easter

By Frances Flower, April 19, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Frances Flower
This month I’ve been blogging about different suppliers that Whole Foods Market partners with. In celebration of Earth Month and Easter, I wanted to write about a unique meat supplier: Strauss Free Raised®, who supply us with veal. And this is no ordinary veal! Strauss Free Raised® calves are on pasture with their mothers for their entire lives – a very different story than for conventionally-raised veal calves. So how did this unique veal program begin? Lori Dunn, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing for Strauss Free Raised explains, “Randy and Tim are third generation owners of Strauss. Inspired by the personal passion of Randy's wife, Diane, they recognized a dilemma with the way that veal calves were being raised and wanted to do something different by raising them naturally, on mother’s milk and always free to roam on pasture. We felt that Whole Foods Market and Strauss Free Raised both had a similar mindset when it came to veal and we started talking with their Global Meat Coordinator – Theo Weening – about developing a Free Raised program with Limousin cattle. The first pound of Free Raised veal was sold in Whole Foods Market about four years ago and we were proud that Whole Foods was our very first customer!” “Our relationship with Whole Foods is symbiotic. We have a lot of similarities on farm ethics, standards and the quality of meat that customers should be able to purchase. Whole Foods has a lot of requirements and it can be challenging, but it’s made us a better company as a result. And you guys care! You care about doing what’s right for long-term agriculture – more retailers need to do what you do. By supporting our 42 independent family farmers, I know Whole Foods and Strauss are helping drive progress in the right direction.” “A lot of thought has gone into developing the Free Raised program to make sure it is an authentic recreation of the way veal calves had been pasture raised for centuries.  Randy and Tim chose Limousin cattle because they are well-suited to life on pasture, have good mothering ability, and grow well – essential elements to raising calves. And from a meat quality perspective, not only does this breed have ties to the original French veal culinary roots, but the veal is surprisingly lean, yet is amazingly tender and juicy.” Don’t be surprised by the rich, pink color of Strauss veal compared to the standard white veal from conventionally-raised calves. Pink is a sign of higher levels of iron in the calves’ diet. Strauss also raises their cattle with no grains, no added hormones and no antibiotics, ever. Strauss also took their program to the next level and got USDA label approval for the Free Raised claim, which is a huge achievement! Today, Strauss Free Raised supplies many Whole Foods Market stores (except for those in the Mid-Atlantic, North Atlantic and North East regions). Spring celebrations are a great time to give veal a try. Thanks to Strauss, you can add veal to your menu with peace of mind.  Not sure how to cook veal? Strauss has a lot of suggestions on their website. Ask for Strauss Free Raised veal at your local store’s meat counter and tell us what you think! And watch out for our veal and wine promotion in June!
Category: Meat




Francesca says ...
I am curious to know whether the 5 step program also includes requiring the farmer to kill the animal in a humane way? For example, I heard that cattle farmers hang the cow while still alive for it to then bleed out. Is that true?
04/24/2011 6:50:17 PM CDT
Francesca says ...
I applaud Strauss for finding a more "ethical" way of raising veal but it still saddens me to know that they are killing baby cows.
04/24/2011 6:54:31 PM CDT
Charles & Suzanne Pope says ...
Where can we buy veal breast?
01/16/2013 2:43:49 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CHARLES - Since our products vary between store locations, I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see what cuts of veal they have in stock. You can find their contact info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
01/23/2013 11:41:19 AM CST
Ray says ...
I'm curious if the Whole Foods Corporate Buyers Team have visited and inspected each of the 42 independent family farms. In particular I"m interested to know about the pastures that the Mother Cows are feeding on. It's not clearly spelled out that the pastures are pesticide free for instance. At the very least GMO contamination and pesticide overspray from neighboring producers is always a potential problem. Thank you in advance for your informed reply.
12/09/2014 1:32:57 PM CST
Ray says ...
Okay, I just watched a video that appeared to show the calves being raised on clean straw bedding being fed a whey diet. I was somehow under the impression that the calves were raised in the fields with their mothers, and suckled off of her. Also, is Straus Veal part of the 5 step program? If so, what is it's current step level displayed on it's packaging? I saw what appeared to be fly tags on the ears of the calves in the video. Perhaps they are just identification numbers, since branding is not allowed under the 5 step program. Thanks again.
12/09/2014 3:03:54 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@RAY - At this time veal is not Step rated.
12/17/2014 4:40:43 PM CST
Joanna says ...
whole lives? I'm pretty sure if their calves it's not their whole lives...this is gross...veal and Earth Day shouldn't be in the same sentence :(
11/09/2015 10:01:02 PM CST