Beef, luxury and grass fed

The economy is rocky for many people so when the news article came of USDA prime beef appearing on meat counters it was met with, for some, disbelief. High end beef is no longer exclusive to  five star restaurants or gourmet mail order. It spoke of the Wagyu beef at $14.99 per pound and grass fed cattle.

 While “foodies” criticize large ag farms there was little mention until this article of Niman Farms increasing their beef herd from 7000 to 10,000 cows. It shows a few things – size of operations isn’t the defining thing, what there is a market for will be produced…and even in a tough economy quality sells.

 What is this though? Wagyu cattle have intense marbling – fat streaks – that enhance flavor and tenderness of the meat. Traditionally some Japanese beef would add beer or sake to the feed or massage the animals daily. Several breeds unique to Japan include Japanese black, Japanese brown, Japanese polled, Kumamoto reds and Japanese shorthorn. In the US they’ve been crossed on Angus but in Japan they are divided more by region than color. The American Wagyu ads list steers at $3/pound while purebred cows are $3000-4500. Pregnant females can run $6500 or more. Kobe beef – prepare for steaks well over $100/pound.

 For the grass fed fan – good quality beef and pasture make a big difference in producing a quality end product. Dive in – while you might not have the big bucks you can eat like you do with beef raised at home.

Excess and little things

> "Beauty is not only found in the great canyons, in roaring waterfalls, in towering mountains, in clouds and is also found in tiny flowers, in moss, in grains of sand, in acorns, in stones. These little things of beauty are near at hand waiting to be discovered.

Isn’t it amazing how we so often see the big picture but miss the little things. What would a bird be without the intricate feathers…seen from a distance but not seen. Or a woodland of fall foliage without the red and gold leaves. How much more dramatic is a
spring field of daffodils over one yellow bud sticking through the snow. We look at a puppy and see the whole puppy, not the way she tilts her head, or how her eyes sparkle in a way only puppies do or how like many puppies she can’t help but start licking when you’re
anywhere near. The snow falls and we barely notice sometimes the falling flakes…until it becomes a drift that plugs roads shut. We don’t notice the little we see the excess. The roaring river threatening to wash away a town or the wind, hurled into a funnel cloud that eats entire cities and can make vehicles disappear yet leave a candle on the kitchen table.

There is so much about nature we will never understand. How a brief moment of sex can result in a tiny lamb, or a litter of bunnies or a calf. There is no love, no attachment between the parents. Watching a dog discipline her brood…swiftly, without apologizing, without any discussion, grabbing their face or nose as if to say “you WILL DO IT MY WAY.” They don’t feel the human need to explain and apologize…the reward is the puppy lives another day perhaps or learns a lesson that is needed to survive.

People and emotions get involved and somehow things don’t quite work the same way. We don’t see the little things perhaps.