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Around the world, people reserve their gustatory passion for things like wine, scotch, olive oil and so on, but few take the time to really learn about where their meat comes from and the differences that abound within the industry.
In our first post, I mentioned that most of us have been conditioned to believe that the USDA Grading system which grades meat with terms like Prime, Choice, Select, and Cutter is the end all to determining whether or not a piece of meat is any good. While it is a system with some relevance to the amount of “marbling” i.e. fat, it does not take into consideration how and where the cattle where raised. The system is not mandatory and in-fact costs a great deal of money to participate so it naturally favors the large industrial providers who depending on what industry resource you read control between 80-90% of the meat sold in the US.
The system is just not about quality or the nuance of taste and it is worth noting that the “system” was created with grain-finished beef in mind nearly 100 years ago. A 100% grass-fed cut won’t have the same rich marbling you’ll find on other offerings; which makes sense considering the animals' unique diet and active lifestyle, which is why even some of the larger independents opt out of having their products graded.
So what does it all mean? USDA labeling and terminology can be described as a language that helps translate what happened on the farm into tangible information at the retail level. But a label can only say so much about the quality or background of a piece of meat. There is simply no substitute for talking with the rancher and failing that to buy from a retailer who has done the research.
At Mason’s Market we research every provider and meet with the rancher behind every product we sell, that way we know exactly what we are delivering is exactly as its presented and is the absolute best, most traceable product available.
Please check back often as we delve further into the nuances of the industry and if you have any questions feel free to send us an email or give us a call. (Hello@Masons-Market.com, (704) 810-2773.