How many breeds of cows do you know of? Angus for meat, Holstein for milk, and Jersey for cream. Perhaps you’ve even heard of Herefords, another beef breed. There are actually over 2,000 breeds of cattle in the world. So why do we only raise 3 in the commercial industry?
Simple answer, money. These are the breeds that grow fastest, produce the most milk or have the highest level of milk fat.
Black Angus were created by breeders in Scotland in the 1800s aiming at faster growth and bigger steers. In the 20’s the feedlot craze found that Black Angus did the best in confinement and gained the best on grain with the least negative health effects.
Holsteins have been bread towards greater milk production to the point the top producers can produce over 20 gallons of milk per day, compared to natural breeds 5 gallons.
None of these breeds were selected for taste. Enter the old breeds. The ones that grew slower but tasted better. As early as 100 years ago these are what every farm raised. But as the population grew and moved to the cities during the industrial revolution, cultural knowledge of farming was lost. Farming used to be a way of life in an agrarian society with quality being the goal, but an industrial culture is focused solely on profits.
The group Slow Foods keeps a list called the Ark of Taste, and many of our animals are on that list. This list is designed to promote the keeping of the best tasting plants and animals in the world.
We raise Red Devons, Gourmet beef on Grass. They produce high-quality beef, referred to as “white tablecloth” quality. Devon beef is more flavorful compared to other breeds thanks to the balance of fat and meat. Devons have intramuscular fat in the meat, producing a wonderful marbled beef. Plus, when fed a grass-fed diet, Devon beef is healthier, and tastes better compared to other breeds.
Our Red Wattle Hogs are known for having dark pink meat with beef like marbling. It is charmingly inconsistent and can be earthy, vegetal and herbaceous with a hint of cinnamon. Its expressive porky flavor is concentrated and bold.
We raise Brahma and Black Australorp dual-purpose chicken. These breeds are both good egg layers and the cockerels make fantastic table birds. They’re foraging for bugs and grass, which makes the flavor of their meat inconsistent and intense, with notes of butter, turkey and other flavors. The dark meat of each breed was brown like chocolate and larger, extending further into the body that a normal chicken. Breast meat is small because a real chicken does not fly but runs around all day.
Next read about how we use the best feed for the best flavor.