“We’re better than organic,” says Holly Clark. The grass-fed beef she and her husband, Tom, raise on their Sequim farm is not only local but more healthful.
The rules governing what’s certified as organic haven’t caught up with the high standards of sustainable farms like theirs. That means that cows penned up in feedlots and fattened with grains are considered “organic.”
The grass-fed beef from Clark Farms is leaner, tastier and more healthful, she explains. Their farm at 863 E. Anderson Road, homesteaded by Tom’s great-great grandparents in 1862, is the kind of bovine ideal that comes from integrating cattle into their farming operations.
Finding the juiciest grass and herbs in fields free of fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides provides the exercise healthy grazing animals need. They’re also replenishing the soil as they enjoy clean water and fresh air, meandering the grassy pastures.
Alder Wood Bistro in Sequim and Kokopelli Grill in Port Angeles are among local restaurants that cater to diners who want to eat locally, people with health concerns and those who appreciate the bold taste of lean, grass-fed beef.
“We were so excited when we found a Clark Burger on the menu at the Old Mill Café that we wanted to take the bill home and frame it,” Holly exclaimed.
You can “put your money where your heart is” and order Clark’s beef online at Sequim Locally Grown Mercantile (sequim.locallygrown.net). Orders placed by Tuesday can be picked up Thursdays at the Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road.
They’re currently developing pick-up sites in Poulsbo and Kitsap County, Holly said.
“We don’t want to get too big too fast.” Satisfied customers are their primary concern.
Grass-fed beef, like pasture-raised chicken or pork, provides more than taste treats. Researchers have documented important nutritional differences between commercially produced supermarket foods and those grown on small, local, sustainable farms.
Because it’s leaner, grass-fed beef has fewer calories. A typical American consumes 66.5 pounds of beef a year. Switching to lean grass-fed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year. You could lose about 6 pounds a year without any other dietary changes, according to www.EatWild.com, a website devoted to providing comprehensive, accurate information about the many benefits of raising animals on pasture.
Meat from grass-fed animals has fewer of the “bad fats” and two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids — the “good fats.”
Our bodies can’t make omega-3s; they’re formed in the chloroplasts of algae and green leaves. Good sources of omega-3s include seafood, flaxseeds and walnuts as well as meat from grass-fed pasture-raised animals.
Researchers say people who have a diet rich in omega-3s are 50-percent less likely to have a heart attack or suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder or Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3s also may reduce the risk of cancer.
Meat and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of another good fat, conjugated linoleic acid or CLA. Their meat, milk and butter contain from three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.
Often people with food allergies or chemical sensitivities can eat organic, pasture-raised foods with no difficulty, perhaps because they are free of even trace amounts of the additives, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals common in large-scale commercial farming.
Want to try for yourself? The Clarks are regulars at the Port Angeles Farmers Market on Saturdays. You’ll also find Clarks’ beef at The Red Rooster Grocery, 134½ W. Washington St., Sequim; the Dungeness Country Store, 4970 Sequim-Dungeness Way; Speedi Mart, 320 Old Olympic Highway, and Good to Go, 1105 S. Eunice St. in Port Angeles.
There are few worries about food safety when you know the farm where your food is raised.
Local food also is fresher, tastier and easier on Mother Earth.
Most food travels between 1,500 to 2,500 miles from where it’s grown to the kitchen where it’s prepared. That distance increased 25 percent between 1980-2007. Looks like here, it’s shrinking.
Interested in learning more about Clallam County farms and gardens? Come to the Food Policy Forum from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.
Diana Somerville writes about creating more sustainable communities and our personal connection with the environment. A Clallam County resident, she’s a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Reach her at www.DianaSomerville.com or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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