Locally pastured beef is catching on in Acadiana — for good reasons. By Tyler F. Thigpen
Photo by Lucius Fontenot
A happy cow at Gonsoulin Land & Cattle
Local grass-fed beef is gaining popularity nationally and Acadiana is following suit. Locally pastured beef producers Brookshire Farm, Gonsoulin Land & Cattle and Rolling R Ranch are seeing an increase in pastured beef sales because of the many benefits to our health, economy and environment. And consumers are beginning to take interest in the treatment of the cattle they are consuming and who is raising it as well.
“I feel like our family benefits in so many ways from buying local meat,” says Megan Romer, a mother and local foods consumer. “The meat we buy locally comes from animals who have been raised and slaughtered humanely, fed the correct food for their species — chickens eat grubs, cows eat grass, and so on. Local meat is the healthier choice, and it aligns better with our morals.”
Stores are also beginning to notice an increased consumer demand for local pastured beef. Recently, Rouses Supermarkets began selling Gonsoulin Land & Cattle beef at 18 of their stores. Traditionally these products have only been available from farmer’s markets or through direct order from the farmer. “The availability of our beef in a supermarket will make it easier for consumers to purchase healthy, local products,” says Shannon Gonsoulin, a veterinarian and owner of Gonsoulin Land & Cattle.
Brookshire Farm, Gonsoulin Land & Cattle and Rolling R Ranch are all raising their beef hormone- and antibiotic-free. Grass-fed cows are less stressed because their bodies digest grasses better than grains. Grains alter the pH of the cow’s manure causing a breeding ground for E. Coli, which is commonly linked to food-borne illnesses and outbreaks because manure is a popular soil fertilizer for the fruits and vegetables we eat.
For Brookshire Farm co-owner Anne Blanchet, raising cattle is a science. She plants her pastures with native grass species and carefully selects refined forages, which help to enhance the taste of the meat. “Pastured beef’s distinctive flavor comes from healthy soil, nutritious plants, clean water and the weather seasons,” says Blanchet. “The flavor of [our] beef is enhanced by our management practices. Our animals are selected to be able to fatten on grass.”
In addition to consumer health, the local economy and environment are shown to benefit from beef raised and purchased locally because money is being kept within parish and state boundaries and going back into the pockets of Acadiana residents. And meats raised within Acadiana are not trucked long distances, decreasing the carbon footprint of the operations.
“We know every cow in our pasture and many of the consumers who purchase our beef,” says Gonsoulin. “It is a very rewarding process to know that the beef and associated revenue will stay in our region and benefit our community members’ health and the economy.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.