Shelley Proffitt Eagan talks beef, grassfed beef.

I find myself in many a’convo about meat. Where do I buy it? How did I chose Proffitt Farms? How do I choose a farmer outside of Charlotte? This was the latest conversation I had with my in-laws last weekend. Of course, I am always super excited to get someone switched over to grassfed, local meat! I could answer some of these questions, but I wanted to get down to the nitty-gritty. What SHOULD you look for in grassfed beef? So, I called who else but Shelley Proffitt of Proffitt Family Farms.  Shelley, much obliged, and we had a great conversation about organic, grassfed beef. 

Shelley calling the herd with alfalfa blocks

First thing Shelley said is, “not all (grassfed beef) is created equal. But it’s getting better.” There are more traditional farmers moving toward a grassfed model. So more and more resources are becoming available on the methodology of growing a grassfed brood.  

Me: “What are a couple of things to be aware of when choosing a grassfed farmer?” Shelley: “Ask questions. The more transparent the farmer, the better. That’s really the key.”

Then she was kind enough to share some questions that you should ask. I made a list.

 1)     Ask if they have farm visits. If they do, GO! I mean they probably won’t have visits daily, but they should be open to customers coming out and touring the farm.

2)     Ask if the animals are grass finished – if it’s not grass finished asked about what it’s being fed. Is it genetically modified or corn? Better yet, is it soy? Soy is not technically a grain and it’s being promoted for grassfed farming. But many people have a sensitivity to soy, so it’s important to ask.

3)     Ask about their method of cutting the animal from the herd (slaughter). Everyone is different and lots of different opinions. Shelley cuts before 24 months. She does take weight into consideration, but never lets any of her animals go past 24 months. If they are larger and get to a good weight even younger, then she’ll go ahead and cut them. This helps with the tenderness and flavor of the meat.

4)     Ask about the breed of cow. Find someone who is using an English breed. Doesn’t have to be pure bred – but English genetics help with good marbling and they are intended to finish on grass. The reason? They are fat all year, even in the winter, without doing anything.  Shelley uses Angus bulls and English (mix) for mama cows.

5) You can make up for a lot with a great pasture. So the calves don’t need to be born and raised on that farm – but the farmer should be very honest and knowledgeable about where they are purchasing their calves. Most smaller farms will not breed and raise their calves. But if they have a good pasture then that sweet pea will be raised on some good grass and finish nicely. 

6)     Don’t fall for the marketing hype – pure bred cows don’t make better meat. Just because it says grassfed – always ask questions. And if they claim to be organic and that’s important to you – again, ask questions.

7)     Speaking of organic? Be sure to ask where they process and who is your certifying agent? If it’s a smaller farm and they use organic methods but don’t have the certification because it’s too expensive, that is understandable. Don’t count out the small guy or gal that is using organic methods, but doesn’t have the certification.

Thanks for the info Shelley!

Hopefully this info helps as your shopping around for grassfed beef! To read more about WHY grassfed – click here.

And now… the recipe. One of my favorite things to get in my grassfed order are the cube steaks. Kind of random, but it reminds me of the chicken fried steak my Nanny and Mom used to make – mashed potatoes, gravy, biscuits and maybe a real veggie 😉 (mouth-watering now) These days this meal has a bit of a different spin, paleo style.

Country fried Steak
4 cubed steaks
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp sea salt ( I use the pink Himalayan from TJ’s)
1 tsp pepper
2 eggs whisked in a bowl
1/4 ish cup of grapeseed oil

Mix the almond flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Heat grapeseed oil in coated frying pan on medium high heat. Once the oil will sizzle with a little spec of almond flour mix – it’s time to get started. Dredge the steaks in the egg, drag the steak through the flour mixture on both sides. Add to the oiled pan and fry until the breading seems to be sturdy – you want to make sure it’s bonded, as the breading will break apart easily if it’s not. I usually do about 5 minutes each side. Flip using a fork (tongs don’t work well as they tear the breading). Place on paper toweled plate (this is mainly for nostalgic for me… my Nanny fried everything – so there was always a paper towled plate on the dinner table)

Mashed Caulitaters
1 head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1 large sprig of rosemary – chopped
1/4 cup of coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
If you’re allowing grassfed butter – go ahead and add some of that too!

in a steamer, place the garlic (quartered) with the cauliflower roughly chopped into 8ths. Steam for about 5-8 minutes. Just long enough for the cauliflower to have a little transparency to the stalk. Remove cauliflower from the heat and place in a food processor (garlic too) add rosemary, salt and pepper. Begin to process and slowly add the coconut milk to desired consistency – you may not want the entire 1/4 cup.

I usually saute some asparagus or brocoli to go along with this meal.


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Categories: Nutrition, Paleo news, Recipe


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