The Skinny on Alternative Beef

Written by Barbara Twitchell


It takes nearly twice as long to raise beef without hormones and the bulking properties of grain. That adds to the rancher’s expense. Be prepared to pay more.


Although the market continues to grow as demand increases, it’s still not readily available in most stores.


Taste and texture can vary widely. It can be tougher and wilder tasting than conventional or be the best beef you’ve ever eaten. If buying a large amount, ask to sample the rancher’s product or talk to other customers first.


Pasture-raised animals live more natural, healthy, and humane lives, a practice believed to be better for the animal and environment.


Does natural mean hormone-free? The answer is no. Labels can be misleading. Most terms, other than organic, are not strictly defined or regulated. Assume nothing. Read the entire label carefully; ask the butcher or rancher specific questions about how the animal was raised.


Does meat from animals given hormones and sub-therapeutic antibiotics pose risks to humans? With strict regulations in place, the USDA says no. The USDA states that residual levels in meat are non-existent or too minute to be consequential. Some scientists disagree. With conflicting studies on both sides, the jury is still out. Concerned? Buy meat clearly identified as hormone- and antibiotic-free.


Calves raised without growth stimulants, particularly those that are grass-fed, yield leaner meat containing less saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. A growing number of studies also have found that grass-fed beef is higher in levels of vitamins E and C, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids (thought to reduce heart attack risk), and conjugated linoleic acid (aids the immune system in fighting numerous diseases).

Where’s the Beef?

Written by Barbara Twitchell

Dave Stix Livestock Ranch
4830 Farm District Rd
Fernley, NV 89408
Phone: (775) 575-4250

Murry Ranch
21000 S. Virginia St. (Hwy. 395), Reno

Ranch One (also known as Ranch No.1)
Available at Trimmer Outpost
2276 Main St., Genoa

Restaurants serving Ranch One beef include:

Bar of America, Truckee, Calif.
Carson Valley Golf Course, Gardnerville, Nev.
JT Basque Bar & Restaurant, Gardnerville, Nev.
La Ferme Restaurant, Genoa, Nev.
Pacific Crest Grill, Truckee, Calif.
Sierra Pines Country Store, Markleeville, Calif.
Wild Horse Saloon & Pizza Co., Minden, Nev.

Other sources for locally raised beef:

Albaugh Ranch
Fallon, Nev.

Amazing Grace Family Farm
Janesville, Calif.

Churchill County 4H Beef Club

Fontana Farms, Cydney Harding
Palomino Valley, Nev.
775-846-2582, 775-772-5432

KT Hay and Cattle, Dennis and Laurie Marsh
Loyalton, Calif.

Mills Ranch
Fallon, Nev.

Pine Creek Ranch
near Tonopah, Nev.

Snyder Livestock
Yerington, Nev.

Hole-in-One-Ranches, Teri Bertotti
Susanville, Calif.
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Wolf Pack Meats
Reno , Nev.