By Natalie Strom
Beef – it’s what’s for dinner. And now you can purchase it at the Marco Island Farmers Market. Newcomer to the Wednesday market at Veterans Park is Arrowhead Beef, offering farm-direct, hormone-free, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef from Florida.
What a mouthful! And what a concept! Co-founded in 2010 by George Fisher and Tom Pellizzetti, Arrowhead Beef, LLC is a cooperative of family farms located near Chipley, Florida. Every family-owned farm that is a part of the co-op raises French cattle known as Parthenais.
“Our cattle’s bloodline goes back to the 1890s,” explains Steve Dunn, Market Ambassador for Arrowhead Beef.
Each farm adheres to strict guidelines regarding humane treatment of the cattle. The co-op’s motto: “Raised Right and Sent off Good.”
“It’s a herd-friendly life,” states Dunn. “In other words, when you deal with any other cattle, and you raise them, they are nursed and then put into feed banks where they are broken up by weight and are no longer with any of their family.”
At Arrowhead Beef co-op farms, “cattle are raised as a family unit and lead a 100 percent pasture-raised lifestyle.”
Beef processing and aging is performed in small batches at USDA-inspected Westville Meats, which is located near the farm co-op. The beef is cut, frozen and sealed and sent to Market Ambassadors such as Dunn who bring it to farmers markets throughout the state.
“We are trying to educate people on the benefits of grass-fed. Anyone can just sell meat, but we’re more into the health benefits of it,” explains Dunn.
Arrowhead cattle graze on luscious fields of pesticide-free grass, which means its beef is much leaner than your average grocer’s red meat that was fed corn or grains. So much so that it is comparable to a serving of skinless chicken, states Dunn.
Low in “bad” fat, grass-fed meat boasts higher levels of “good” fat, also known as omega-3 fatty acids. Among other positives, omega-3s are considered to be heart healthy and helpful in the reduction of the risk of cancer.
Arrowhead Beef’s health benefits don’t end here. Cattle are never given any antibiotics or added hormones. And with pesticide-free fields, you can be assured that your body is being fed protein in its purest form. For those who feel you are what you eat, a low-stress slaughter means a peaceful beef patty, filet or t-bone steak.
Now that it’s safe to eat red meat again, try the skirt steak, flank steak, sirloin, N.Y. strip, rib-eye, short ribs, fajita strips, kabob cubes, stew meat, osso buco, ground beef, shoulder steak or beef patties without the guilt. But remember, grass-fed meat cooks 30 percent quicker than store-bought meat.
Dunn tends to sell out of his selection fast, so get to the Farmers Market as early as possible on Wednesdays – 7 AM to be exact – to plan out your family-oriented, environmentally friendly, locally raised, kindly killed and heart-smart red meat meal. Now that’s a mouthful!