What products does Janzen Family Farms produce and sell?
100% grass-fed beef: We produce100% grass-fed beef from black and red Angus cattle raised outside on wide-open pastures. For details on products and purchasing, please also see our "Grass-Fed Beef" page.
Certified organic grain, freshly stone-milled flour, and bread: Our crops are certified organic. Please contact us regarding availability at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What steps is JFF taking to be environmentally friendly?
We at Janzen Family Farms are making an effort to move increasingly toward more sustainability and eco-friendly farming: Our crops received organic certification in 2010. Our virgin prairie was certified organic in 2008 by the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture. We also use crop rotation, green manure, cover crops, organic fertilizer, and a system of movable electric fence and rotational grazing to help protect the land and feed the soil. In addition, we renovated our farm pond to improve our water management. Also, by allowing animals to forage, we are maximizing the potential of the prairie's natural gifts, minimizing costly inputs that can pollute the environment, and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels. In our effort to sell locally, we are keeping down the fuel-use associated with long-distance transportation and refrigeration.
What is special about grass-fed beef?
Grass-fed beef contributes toward overall ecological health: a healthy environment, healthy animals and healthy people.
Healthy people: Research shows that grass-fed beef is lower in fat and calories than grain-fed. Grass-fed beef also contains higher levels of the beneficial “Omega-3” fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acids (CLS), known as the “good fats,” and it has a healthier ratio of “good” to “bad” cholesterol, according to numerous studies. While little or no research has been done on humans that can definitely link the consumption of grass-fed meat and dairy products to better human health, scientists continue to examine these connections, as current scientific understanding suggests there could be one. “Grass-fed steak can also have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce heart-disease risk,” as noted in a recent article in Consumer Reports magazine. “Grass-fed ground beef usually has more conjugated linoleic acid, which might improve the immune system and help fight cancer, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes, lab and animal studies show,” the magazine added.
Healthy animals: Ruminant animals like cows – which by definition eat plant matter and digest their food by eating and chewing “cud” -- can more easily digest grass-based forage than grain. Feeding ruminants grass and other forages for their entire lifetime, rather than switching them to grain toward the end of their life cycle – which is commonly the procedure with beef cattle produced in a feed-lot – helps to prevent health problems. These problems can include acidosis, in which the pH balance of the animal’s digestive system gets significantly out of balance, causing sickness and potentially leading to further more serious health problems, or even death. Allowing beef cattle to live in an uncrowded environment on grassy pastures also helps to keep them healthy. This is obviously nice for the animals -- and many people seek out 100% grass-fed beef because they feel the production methods are the most humane. But better overall health and lower incidence of disease in turn also allow for a reduction in the use of antibiotics. This reduction is important in order to prevent the development of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, as has been noted for many years by the World Health Organization, which warns against the overuse of antibiotics, especially in agricultural production. (Note that 70% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used in the production of food animals for growth promotion and disease prevention -- not for times of sickness -- according to the article "Just Say No to Antibacterial Burgers," by Ezra Klein in the Washignton Post, Sept. 16, 2009.)
Healthy Environment: Grass-based cattle productin is especially suited to our region, given the rich prairie earth and grasses surrounding us. By feeding cattle forage, we can maximize the potential of our natural gifts, minimize costly inputs (like synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers) that can pollute our environment, and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
How are the grass-fed animals cared for, and what do they eat?
Our Janzen Family Farms grass-fed cattle are raised to meet or exceed criteria established in late 2007 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the “grass (forage) fed marketing claim standard.” This standard states that “grass and/or forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animals, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage and animals cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.”
Thus, “grass” and “forage” include brome grasses, and other native prairie grasses, either green in the pasture, or dry in the form of hay. Prairie grasses include: Eastern gamma grass, little bluestem, big bluestem, switch grass, Indian grass and Western wheat grass. The planted forages include: brome grass, Sudan grass, alfalfa and triticale, which is a wheat-rye cross. Other prairie plants they may eat include: butterfly milkweed, mulberry tree leaves, Osage orange tree leaves and young pigweed, among others. All these plants contribute to their health and the subtle richness of the flavor of their meat.
These are the foods that ruminants like cattle are well-adapted to eat. As a result, they are less likely to need medical treatment or antibiotics. Our grass-fed Angus are pastured every day, more than just having “access to pasture.” They are free of synthetic hormones, and their vaccines and any potential medications are kept to a bare minimum. We reserve the use of antibiotics only for special cases. Our grass-fed animals are slaughtered at a small, state-inspected, traditional family-run meat locker in Peabody, KS, where we ensure they are treated humanely.
What's the difference between grass-fed beef, 100% grass-fed beef, and grass-finished beef?
Some cattle are fed grass for some of their lives and others are fed grass for all of their lives, but different people may use different terms to express this. We call the meat from our animals "100% grass-fed beef" because we think it is the clearest term. As noted above, our 100% grass-fed animals only eat grasses, never grains. "Grass-fed" animals (without the "100%") have surely eaten some grass, but may eat grain as well, especially at the end of their lives (grain-finished). "Grass-finished" typically also means the animals are "100% grass-fed" in that they were both fed grass during the beginning and middle of their lives, and finished on grass, but the animals may have eaten grain at some point other than during the finishing. If you are not sure what a farmer's animals are eating, ask.
What breed are JFF grass-fed cattle?
Our 100% grass-fed cattle hail from an old line Anugs, both black and red, that stem from hardy stock adapted to the cold winters of the High Plains. They have been gred to grow and fatten well ("finish") on a grass-only diet in 21 to 26 months. They successfully birth on their own on the prairie, while their calves gain the benefit of their mothers' milk for around six months.
What's the "LJ" mark for?
JFF's LJ brand was registered in 1939 by Louis Janzen when he began his cattle business. It's an "inverted J" due to the prior existence of an upright LJ brand. This brand has been renewed annually with the State of Kansas. We use it on all conventional feeder cattle, as well as the grass-fed herd. It's an important way to identify animals, should they stray and be found by neighbors, and the best way to prevent or deter rustlers.
How does grass-fed meat taste?
“Last evening, I fired up the grill and had a couple of JFF’s large NY strip steaks thawed and ready….They were absolutely wonderful. Lots of flavor, tender, and there was none left over.” \ — Jack, satisfied customer
"We had some roast yesterday that was wonderful. I commented to my wife that it was the best I ever had. We look forward to coming back out." — Rick, satisfied customer
Succulent and substantive without being chewy, our 100% grass-fed beef is infused with the sweet flavor of native prairie grasses. It imparts a subtle flavor conveying the essence of our Kansas soil and forage. We think it's delicious, but don't take our word for it: Try it! Generally speaking, grass-fed beef, like any meat, can differ based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include: the specific types of grasses and forages, the quality of those plants, and whether the grasses are fresh, growing in pastures, or dry, in the form of hay. The age of the animal upon slaughter affects the flavor and tenderness as well. Also, many people feel the flavor and consistency of meat can differ based on the way in which the animal is slaughtered, for example, if the animal’s adrenaline levels spike due to extreme stress during transport and at the slaughterhouse. As traditional butchers can tell you, the length of time meat is aged, and the way in which it is aged, also makes a difference. Finally, the breed of cattle plays a role in taste. We are confident you will enjoy the subtle flavor of our JFF 100% grass-fed beef, which grows and fattens well on our native Kansas prairie grasses.
How do I prepare grass-fed beef?
Like any beef, grass-fed beef can be prepared in a myriad of ways, with methods depending a lot on the cut. It can also be seasoned and marinated, or cooked with sauces or in stews. Yet, you are likely to find its naturally delicious taste stands alone well, and you may choose to use fewer or no flavor enhancers. A few quick tips:
Steaks: The best way to prepare grass-fed steaks is a wonderful way to prepare any steaks: sear them for a minute or so on both sides to seal in the juices and then either grill, broil or fry the steaks to your liking. Be careful not to overcook them! Prepared in this way, grass-fed steaks will be tender and moist.
Ground Beef: Ground grass-fed beef also produces an outstanding hamburger, as well as all kinds of other traditional dishes, including chile, meat balls, Bolognese sauce, sloppy Joe’s, stuffed peppers or cabbage, and more.
Roasts: Braising is a fantastic way to prepare delicious, flavorful beef without a lot of fuss.
For more on preparation of grass-fed beef, including recommendations for cook books and recipes, see the “Guide to Slaughter, Cuts and Cooking” under the “Grass-Fed Beef” menu on this website. Whichever way you choose, grass-fed beef will yield a delicious meal suitable for you and your guests.
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