Friends, have I got a treat for you today! I visited one of North Carolina's (surprisingly) many beef farms a couple of weeks ago, and I am here to tell you all about it in this sponsored post and offer you a wonderful, holiday meal recipe featuring NC Beef: Sweet and Spicy Marinated Grass Fed London Broil! Let's get on with it, shall we?
For more delicious recipes using North Carolina Beef, click on over to the Got To Be NC Blog Tour!
Got To Be NC Beef
I am honored to be working with the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Got To Be NC program to help raise awareness in the state and beyond for the beef industry in North Carolina. We are certainly known for pork and poultry production, but there is also a lot of beef being raised all over the state, from the mountains to the coast. I had the absolute pleasure of visiting with V. Mac Baldwin of Baldwin Family Farms near Yanceyville, NC, and he taught me so much about raising beef in North Carolina in general and about his grass fed production in particular.
Before I get to the marinated grass fed London Broil recipe, let me introduce you to Mr. Baldwin and his Charolais cattle. If you would like to skip straight to the recipe, you certainly can (although I think you'll want to learn about Baldwin Family Farms!)
Baldwin Family Farms
Driving north on Highway 86 on the way to Danville, Virginia, you'll be met with a sign along the way proclaiming Baldwin Family Farms. Look to your right, and you'll spot an unassuming farm house, a metal carport and some out-buildings. You will want to turn in, even if you are in a hurry to get where you're going. Because if you don't, you are about to pass some of the most delicious grass-fed beef I have ever had. What at first glance appears to be a very small farm turns out to be an operation with about 2000 acres under pasture and home to hundreds of happy and gorgeous grass fed Charolais cattle. Though not raised in a farming family, Mr. Baldwin has loved cattle ever since he was a little boy. He and his wife Peggy bought their first 2 Charolais cattle, a beautiful cream-colored French breed, in 1969 and, through trial and error but with an unwavering drive to produce the best beef possible, have grown Baldwin Family Farms into the impressive operation it is today.
Let me let V. Mac tell you about the farm in his own words:
Mr. Baldwin's cattle graze on a particular mix of winter and summer grasses that keep them in forage year-round. The grasses are nutritious enough and pack enough protein to allow for excellent growth. When fully grown or "finished," which takes about 2 years, Baldwin steers weigh in at right around 1200 pounds. Baldwin beef is also very consistent. Through an intensive breeding program, Mr. Baldwin has been able to produce cattle that conform to his ideal to provide lean, healthy, delicious beef that is Animal Welfare Approved, contains no antibiotics or hormones and is halal processed.
Wait. Don't Cows Eat Corn?
Here's the thing. Cows are built to eat and digest grasses. They're ruminants, and that's just what they do. Their gut flora is designed to help cows break down grasses. Before World War II, all cattle in the United States was grass-fed. There was no such thing as corn fed beef. But science had found a way to triple corn yield from 50 bushels to 150 bushels per acre. At the same time, factories transitioned from war production to peace-time production: tractors so the boys returning from war could go back to farming. With triple the amount of corn being produced, folks at the USDA decided that it couldn't all be exported but it might not be a bad idea to start feeding it to cows along with pigs and poultry who had long been eating corn.
And that's how cows started eating corn. And the cows got fat. Tons of white fat marbling the meat. Because cows and their intestinal flora are inefficient--even bad--at digesting corn. The powers that be looked at the fat cows and then at each other and decided to change the beef grading scale to reflect the "new standard" for beef. These days, lots of fatty marbling equals high quality, but that was not always the case.
Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef
Baldwin Family Farms Charolais cattle eat grass, which is what cows are naturally designed to digest. The beef from Mr. Baldwin's cattle has quite a few health benefits over feed lot cattle. According to the Baldwin website, these include:
- Low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol
- Lower in calories
- Rich in Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
- Rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid
- High in Vitamin B complex
(niacin, riboflavin, and B12)
- High in Vitamins A and E
- Rich in Zinc, Iron, and Digestible Protein
- High in all Nine Essential Amino Acids
- Free of Preservatives
- Free of Antibiotics and Hormones
I don't know about you, but when I have the opportunity to purchase grass fed beef, I take it. It just makes sense to me to eat food that is naturally raised.
Where Can I Buy Baldwin Charolais Beef?
Both Whole Foods and Kroger carry Baldwin Charolais beef. If you live in the Triangle area, you can also drive up to the farm and shop at the farm store located behind the farm house. And, Baldwin also ships their beef all across the country, so you can also order online.
Now that I've told you about Baldwin Family Farms and V. Mac's Charolais cattle, let me show you how I prepared a top round roast so it was tender and juicy and the perfect centerpiece for your holiday meal: sweet and spicy marinated grass fed London broil, coming up!