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You are probably familiar with the old adage, "you are what you eat." The more nutritious your diet, the healthier you are. It's a sound philosophy, and an idea we believe that not only applies to people, but also to the animals that make up our diet.
An animal's diet can have a profound influence on the nutrient content of its products (not to mention the quality of it's life).
That's why we raise our cattle on an exclusively grass-fed diet. They spend their entire lives on pasture. No factory line feed lots. No artificial hormones or antibiotics. At Strawberry Ridge, we believe in the benefits of grass-fed beef. After all, "you are what you eat."
The son of a veterinarian, Mark Liebig grew up around an menagerie of animals, and for years had been intrigued by the magnificent looking Highland cattle.
That intrigue became more acute as he learned more about the breed.
Highlands have a long history of living with humans. Early Scots often kept the animals inside their homes during the winter. Highlands are a docile and calm breed of cattle and do not stress easily. And despite long horns, which can reach a span of up to four feet, are easily worked. The
large horns, which are a characteristic of both males and females, aid the animal in protection from predators and also allows it to knock down brush while grazing. Highlands are also exceptional browsers, performing well on a variety of pasture and have been used throughout the world to clear brush lots.
The breed's long double coat, perhaps it's most distinguishing characteristic, is beneficial in multiple ways. It keeps the animal warm, even in the harshest of environments, and eliminates the need for a barn or man-made shelter. The coat also means that Highlands don't need a heavy layer of back fat for insulation. This allows the animal to marble naturally on low-input forage while producing lean, low-fat, high quality cuts of beef.
Highland cows are highly devoted and protective mothers. They are noted for calving ease. Due to a small calving size, generally 60-70 pounds, calving problems are less frequent. Cows remain productive into their late teens reducing the need for frequent herd replacement.
The Highland breed has lived for centuries in the rugged, remote Scottish Highlands. Archeological evidence of the Highland breed goes back to the sixth century, making it one of the oldest domesticated breeds of cattle in the world.
Originally, there were two distinct classes: the slightly smaller and usually black Kyloe, which lived on islands off the west coast of northern Scotland. The other was a larger animal, generally reddish in color, which lived in the remote highlands of north Scotland. Today both are considered a single breed. In addition to red and black, yellow, dun, white, brindle and silver are also considered traditional colors.
Unlike other breeds, Highlands are slow maturing, making meat tender, flavorful and succulent. As previously mentioned, the breed is characterized by it's long coat, which eliminates the need for the thick layer of back fat found in other breeds. This results in leaner cuts of beef.
Analysis of highland beef has found to be lower in cholesterol and fat than other breeds.
These characteristics are enhanced by our own practices of rotating pasture and providing a grass-fed diet. When compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef has been found to be lower in fat, contain fewer calories, have a healthier
ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats, and possesses more vitamin E and beta-carotene. A study by the Scottish Agriculture College also determined highland beef is higher in protein and iron than beef from other breeds.
In addition, when you purchase beef from us, you can rest assured knowing our animals were raised humanely and ethically. Our cattle spend their entire lives on pasture, which helps maintain a balanced body chemistry (studies have found the concentrations of e-coli pathogens in the internal systems of grass-fed cattle is much lower than animals on a grain-intensive diet).
Our animals are also slaughtered and processed in accordance with all USDA guidelines.
In addition to offering a variety of cuts of beef at our farm and local farmers markets, we also sell animals to those looking to start their own fold of Highland cattle or this seeking to introduce new genetics in an existing herd.
For more information, including current availability and pricing of beef and animals, contact us.