Since reading about friends, Katie and Jeff Hagan, celebrating the annual arrival of their share of Morris Grassfed Beef, I have been (not so) patiently waiting for the opportunity to try it myself. I was finally able to share two spectacular steaks and ground beef with 8 Toronto food aficionados and envy anyone able to buy this beef.
The beautifully marbled grass-fed steaks were voluptuous and the burgers even a bit more daring. If you like assertive, layered, but balanced flavors in your beef, this one’s for you.
The grass-fed steak had a some chew Texture, a straightforward to adventurous Personality, and left a long-lasting Impression. It had a sweet brightness to it followed by deeper green and iron flavors, a silken texture, and balanced aftertaste. The burger was a flavor powerhouse that opened up as you ate it offering an intriguing mix of caramel and feral notes and a sweet, tangy finish.
“I don’t like hamburgers but I love this. I can actually taste the meat, not just the condiments.” Katrina, Toronto, ON.
Zoltan Szabo, Sommelier, wine consultant, and educator: This well-marbled, dark ruby-red coloured steak had aromas of smoke, butter, sweet lard and game, a fairly firm texture with a good amount of fat content, and a smooth finish. I would pair it with the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Exclamation Cellar Series, Pillitteri, Niagara On The Lake.
Meet The Ranchers
Morris Grassfed Beef
Joe and Julie Morris moved to Joe’s family ranch in San Juan Bautista, CA, in 1991 eager to employ holistic land management practices to regenerate the land. Grazing cattle was core to their efforts to create a carbon sink, and the Morris’s soon found themselves in the grass-fed beef business selling to a handful of friends and family. Today, they direct market grass-fed beef to several hundred lucky customers.
By carefully choosing cattle that thrive on the local range lands and nearby summer mountain pastures, and taking them to slaughter only when they’re ready, not when it’s convenient, the Morris’s offer a model that I hope others will follow.
Where to Buy It:
You can buy Morris Grassfed Beef in split-halves and wholes directly from the ranch. The team also offers a CSA program that will deliver your split-half in four smaller portions over the year.
|Taster:||Carrie Oliver, Zoltan Szabo|
|Date Tasted:||November 2010|
|Cut Tasted:||Rib-Eye Steak, Ground Beef|
|Diet/Feed:||Grass Fed and Finished|
|Cooking Method:||Gas Grill|
|Other Cuts Tasted:||n/a|
|Other Date Tasted:||n/a|
|Other Tasters:||8 guests at my home in Toronto|
Detailed Husbandry Practices:
|Breed:||Angus – Hereford Cross|
|Growing Region:||Central California|
|Farm/Ranch:||T.O. Cattle Co., LLC – Morris Grassfed Beef|
|Farmers/Ranchers:lllllllll||Joe and Julie Morris, Everett and Liz Sparling|
|Diet/Feed:||Grass-Fed and Finished|
|Raising Protocols:||Rangeland grasses, mineral supplement|
|Finishing Protocols:||Rangeland grasses, mineral supplement|
|% Time on Pasture:||100%|
|Age at Slaughter:||24-36 months|
|Slaughterhouse:||Johansen’s Quality Meats, Orland, CA|
|Butcher:||Johansen’s Quality Meats, Orland, CA|
|Aging Time:||10 – 21 days|
|Never Use Antibiotics Ever:||-|
|Use Vet Approved Spot Treatment Antibiotics:||Our humane protocols call for use of therapeutic antibiotics only. Animals over a year of age requiring therapeutic antibiotics are removed from our direct-marketed herd.|
|Never Use Sub-therapeutic or Feed Antibiotics||✓|
|Never Use Added Growth Hormones or Beta-Agonists:||✓|
|Never Use Ionophores:||✓|
|No Animal, Fish, Fowl By-Products in Feed||✓ (they are not found in rangeland grasses)|
|100% Vegetarian Feed||✓|
|Practice Rotational Grazing||✓|
|Practice Managed Intensive Rotational Grazing||✓ (Holistic Planned Grazing – See www.savoryinstitute.com)|
|USDA Naturally Raised New Voluntary Certification||✓|
|Third Party Certified Organic||-|
|Third Party Certified Humane||Pending|
|Other Third Party Certification||Pending grass-fed certification|