The Humane Farming Association

About The Humane Farming Association

The Humane Farming Association is the nation’s most effective organization dedicated to the protection of farm animals. Founded in 1985, and over 250,000 members strong, HFA has gained national recognition and respect for its hard work, integrity, and its highly-successful campaigns.

HFA’s goals are to protect farm animals from cruelty and abuse, to protect the public from the misuse of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used on factory farms, and to protect the environment from the impacts of industrialized animal factories.

In addition to its signature campaign, the National Veal Boycott, HFA’s comprehensive programs include: anti-cruelty investigations and exposés, national media campaigns, direct hands-on emergency care and refuge for abused farm animals, legislation, and youth humane education. HFA also operates Suwanna Ranch — the world’s largest farm animal rescue and refuge facility.

In 1991, HFA established its political and legislative arm – the Humane Farming Action Fund (HFAF). HFAF is the nation’s only political lobbying organization founded to protect farm animals. HFAF enacts strong and enforceable legislation to outlaw animal abuse and works to ensure that existing anti-cruelty laws are not undermined or weakened by inhumane and unethical meat industry-backed legislation.

All combined, HFA’s programs and activities represent the greatest hopes of those seeking to create a better world for farm animals.

Please join The HFA!

Wheel-View Farm Prices

Click to access pricelist.pdf

Grass-fed Beef Price List
(Checks and cash only please)
Click here for Volume Purchases –
Item Description Price Per Pound
Ground Beef (1 lb. package)
Ground Patties (1 lb. package)
Stew Beef (1 lb. package)
Tenderloin (Filet Mignon)
Flat Iron
Rib Eye (boneless) –sold out
Rib Steak/bone –sold out
NY Boneless Sirloin
Top Round
London Broil
Top Round
Bottom Round
Eye Round
Face Rump
Hot or Sweet Italian Sausage
Short Ribs
Ox Tail
Soup Bones
Liver, Heart, Tongue
UPS shipping for our beef is now available in 18-20 lb. insulated boxes.
Shipping cost is $21.95 within New England.
Invoices and payments accepted through PayPal.
For more information please call or email.
Gift certificates are available in any amount. Call or email for more information.
Please email or call ahead for information about pickup at our farm store.
10 lb. Minimum order – (Prices subject to change (3/1/11)

The grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef debate

(Cooking Light) — A large herd’s worth of beef cattle has passed through the Cooking Light Test Kitchen over the past 24 years, almost all of it standard-issue, grain-fed supermarket meat.

But with beef, as with everything in the American diet, change is afoot.

Shoppers are seeing more and more grass-fed beef in regular grocery stores, along with meat from breeds marketed as special (like Angus), and meat from organically raised animals.

The local/sustainable movement has been singing the praises of the grass-fed cow, while the grain-fed industry has been under attack by food activists.

The grass-fed cow, which eats from a pasture and is not “finished” on a diet of grains and supplements for rapid weight gain, is said by its promoters to be better for the planet (less energy goes into growing grass than grain); better for the beef eater (less overall fat, and more omega-3s and other “good” fats); and better for the cow (critics decry feedlot practices as inhumane).

In this article, though, we’re looking not at meat politics but at three things that most cooks are acutely interested in: price, taste, and nutrition.

Price may be the first thing you have noticed about grass-fed beef: In supermarkets, small-production, grass-fed meat can be a lot more expensive than your average grain-fed beef, just as artisanal cheese costs more than industrial cheddar.

Cooking Light: Six ways to save on beef

But the cook will notice that the meat often looks different, too — sometimes a lot darker, often with less of the coveted fat-marbling you see in the highest-grade grain-fed meat.

To dive into the subject, we bought half a cow. Specifically, we bought half of a 648-pound Brangus cow, pasture-raised by Alabama farmer Melissa Boutwell, who is pretty local: She works about 175 miles from our main editorial offices. Boutwell Farms supplies regional restaurants, which have included James Beard Award-winning Chef Frank Stitt’s restaurants in Birmingham.

We talked to Boutwell about her husbandry. We saw our meat through the butchering process, took delivery of 243 pounds of meat (plus bones) cut to our specifications, and conducted blind tastings in our Test Kitchen.

Cooking Light got 243 pounds of Brangus, cut to order.
Cooking Light got 243 pounds of Brangus, cut to order.

We learned that we could dodge supermarket prices by buying in bulk: Our cost per pound of Boutwell’s beef was $5.32, including everything from ground beef to liver to filet mignon, which made it only marginally higher than similar quantities of regular grain-fed beef prices in local supermarkets, and a lot less than we would have paid for premium grass-fed or grain-fed meat.

As for nutrition, we put fat-content claims to the test by sending some of our finest grass-fed steaks for nutritional analysis, along with supermarket and specialty grain-fed cuts.

And on the matter of taste, we confirmed that grass-fed beef can be delicious and versatile but, if it comes from a lean cow like the one we bought, requires careful cooking lest the extra effort of buying it go to waste on the plate.

(We’re still cooking our way through steaks, ground beef, chuck, roasts, and ribs, plus bones and organs, and we will provide beef recipes from our grass-fed project as the year goes on.)

Cooking Light: Grilled beef recipes

Buying beef directly from farmers not only is a logical next step in the “buy local” movement but also hearkens back to the way many of our parents or grandparents bought meat.

All you need is to do some digging for local suppliers and buy a good-sized freezer (you’ll find our primer on sourcing and buying online at

Some readers are already doing it, as we learned after putting the word out on Facebook, and one benefit of bulk buying is that it obliges the cook to experiment and enjoy less familiar cuts of meat.

“Purchasing a quarter cow was very educational,” says Cooking Light reader Julie Lineberger. “I had never even cooked a roast, and now I am comfortable with roasts, brisket, and all sorts of cuts.”

Of course, most cooks won’t want to buy a whole grass-fed cow or even a half-cow. One option is to “cowpool” with curious friends.

Cooking Light: Cow-pooling made easy

Another is to turn to a CSA, or community-supported agriculture group. CSAs have been popping up like mushrooms in many cities, and many deliver quantities of meat on a weekly or monthly basis.

The skinny on grass-fed beef

As we stood at the checkout at a Publix supermarket with some grass-fed cuts, a young checkout clerk asked, “So, what is grass-fed beef?”

Hearing the short answer — meat from cows that eat only grass — he looked surprised. “I thought all cows just ate grass.”

All cows do graze on pasture for the first six months to a year of their lives, but most finish at a feedlot on a concentrated mix of corn, soy, grains, and other supplements, plus hormones and antibiotics.

This growth-spurt formula is the backbone of a hugely productive U.S. beef industry. A feedlot cow can grow to slaughter weight up to a year faster than a cow fed only forage, grass, and hay.

“That’s one year that you don’t have to feed the cows in the feedlot,” notes founder Jo Robinson, who spent the past decade examining scientific research comparing grass-fed and grain-fed animals. “Conventional factory meat is so cheap because they’ve done everything to speed growth and lower the cost of feed.”

The feedlot process not only speeds the animal to slaughter weight but also enhances fat marbling, which is one factor that determines a cut of beef’s USDA rating — the more fat within the red meat, the richer the taste, the higher the grade.

Most supermarket beef is Choice, which is one step below Prime, the top grade typically found in steak houses. Boosting fat levels changes the nutritional composition of the meat, of course, and, from a health point of view, not for the better.

Cooking Light: How to buy the best beef

A study by researchers at California State University in Chico examined three decades of research and found that beef from pasture-raised cows fits more closely into goals for a diet lower in saturated fat and higher in “good fats” and other beneficial nutrients.

Grass-fed beef is lower in calories, contains more healthy omega-3 fats, more vitamins A and E, higher levels of antioxidants, and up to seven times the beta-carotene. Skeptics such as Chris Raines, a professor of meat science at Penn State, say the benefits of the different fat profiles are overblown:

“Some people get very excited about the fatty-acid profile of grass-fed beef. Then, in the same breath, they’ll talk about how wonderfully lean it is. We’re talking up the good fats that aren’t really there.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which says it supports all forms of beef production, echoes this much-ado-about-not-much theme. Shalene McNeill, who has a Ph.D. in human nutrition and is executive director for human nutrition research at the association, acknowledges that “if you feed (cows) grass, you can slightly increase the omega-3 content, but if you look at it in terms of a whole diet, it’s not a significant advantage to human health.”

Ditto, McNeill says, for some other “good” nutrients. Yet a 6-ounce grass-fed beef tenderloin may have 92 fewer calories than the same cut from a grain-fed cow.

“If you eat a typical amount of beef per year,” Robinson points out in Pasture Perfect, a book about the benefits of pasture-raised animals, “which in the United States is about 67 pounds, switching to grass-fed beef will save you 16,642 calories a year.”

Switching to grass-fed beef could save you 16,642 calories a year.
Switching to grass-fed beef could save you 16,642 calories a year.

It would also, if you paid supermarket prices and dined on tenderloin, cost you about $300 more. Despite an uptick in consumer demand for grass-fed beef, the market is still relatively small — possibly less than 3% of all U.S. beef sales.

And while the number of U.S. grass-fed beef producers is rising — from 50 in 2002 to more than 2,000 today — they face big challenges, including higher operating costs, a shortage of processors, loose standards for the definition of “grass-fed,” a lack of consistent quality, and consumer wariness about taste and texture.

Meeting the Meat Standing in a meat locker among a small crowd of hanging beef sides at a family-run abattoir, we learned some lessons about beef from a guy with an 8-inch knife and a rancher who was wearing eye shadow.

Melissa Boutwell, the rancher, practices rotational grazing with the deliberate precision of an industrial process engineer. She had offered to let us choose our half-cow in person. Bill Towson, the butcher and owner of the family-run Towson Fine Meats in Tifton, Georgia, agreed to let us watch his team cut up Boutwell’s cow to fit our specifications. Towson made a clean slice between the 12th and 13th ribs of an Angus cow and a Brangus (an Angus-Brahman hybrid), two grass-fed cows raised in identical conditions.

“USDA inspectors use this single cut to determine the grade of the entire cow,” said Boutwell, who raised both of these animals.

Delicate veins of fat running through the meat play a critical role in flavor and grade. It was easy to see the difference in the exposed rib eyes: The Angus had more marbling compared with the superlean Brangus. Next to our Brangus carcass was a much scrawnier specimen that had little fat and whose meat had the dried-out look of jerky.

Cooking Light: Five-ingredient meat recipes

Another lesson, then, about grass-fed beef: It’s not only about the grass, but also the breed, and the cow. We were looking for a lower-fat cow, so we chose the Brangus.

Though lean, it was still blanketed with a jacket of fat that would play a flavor role in the evolution of the meat. The fat would mostly get trimmed away during the butchering, but before then it would protect the meat during the dry-aging period, usually 10 to 14 days, in which the carcass hangs in a cold locker while natural enzymes break down tough muscle fiber and tenderize the meat.

It’s worth noting that although the best steak-house steaks are dry-aged, most supermarket beef is wet-aged in a plastic vacuum-sealed bag that prevents shrinkage but also precludes the concentration of beefy flavor that occurs with water loss.

The amount of fat cover also determines how much is available to go into the ground beef — which we ordered in 85/15 and 90/10 meat-to-fat ratios. The fat on our grass-fed cow looked different from the fat we have been accustomed to cooking.

Compared with the bright, white fat of conventional beef, grass-fed fat is often yellower, stemming from the higher levels of beta-carotene. And as we would learn, the quantity and the quality of our cow’s fat would play a key role in cooking.

The bottom line: taste and tenderness

Our Test Kitchen experimented with various cuts of grass-fed beef, both from our Brangus cow and from local supermarkets. The meat had good, clean beefy flavor but tended to be a lot chewier than we were used to, and sometimes drier. There can be such a thing as too lean in beef cuts that are conventionally fairly high in fat, like strip steaks and other luxury cuts.

“Cook with care, or chew like crazy.

Adjustments had to be made for these steaks, which were producing less fat in the pan than we were used to and could turn tough.

“Fat is an insulator,” says Deborah Krasner, author of Good Meat, the first major cookbook dedicated to sustainable meats. “So if you cook something that’s very fatty, and you cook it badly, it’s still going to taste pretty good because fat insulates the meat. When you have leaner meat, you don’t have that safety net, so you have to cook it carefully.”

Cook with care, or chew like crazy, basically. “Carefully” means that tougher cuts like short ribs or brisket require the very-low-and-slow approach — long cooking at low temperatures. But it means cooking a tender steak more aggressively than you might be used to for such a pricey cut.

We decided to really turn up the heat on a thick, 12-ounce grass-fed New York strip purchased at Whole Foods, preheating a cast-iron pan on high, turning on the fan, and nearly smoking out the kitchen when the meat hit the metal.

Testers were coughing and shaking their heads as the vent fans roared. After a billowing three-minute sear on each side, there was very little fat in the pan.

Previous tests suggested that the meat, though good, would lack the buttery deliciousness many of us like in this rare treat. Recipe tester Robin Bashinsky turned down the heat and began basting the steak with two pats of butter (see recipe, page 143, for this method).

When done, the meat got a short rest under foil and then was sliced; it was perfectly medium-rare within. Could a grass-fed cut, with its lower-fat content, rival a grain-fed cut? Yes: It was succulent, buttery, and robust, with a perfectly caramelized crust. The juices formed a simple, rich sauce.

But is this a paradoxical way to cook a steak bought in part for its lean fat profile — adding butter to “beef” up the flavor? (After all, grass-fed fans suggest it just takes time to come to love what Deborah Krasner calls “meatier, purer, more mineral” flavors.) Not necessarily.

First, most of the butter does not cling to the beef, so we estimate the process adds less than half a gram of saturated fat to the final meat. (If you use the pan juices as a sauce, more is added, but total saturated fat for a serving is still only 4.4 grams.)

Second, a cook may have bought grass-fed meat for many reasons — ecological, ethical, or to support local businesses — but still desires a hit of full-on steak-house flavor now and then. As we tasted more beef, however, we found that there aren’t clear-cut, consistent taste differences between grass-fed and grain-fed meat.

This emerged after a blind tasting of eight New York strips, cooked identically. Samples included regular supermarket beef; steak from our grass-fed cow; and meat from a variety of grass-fed and grain-fed animals of different breeds raised in different states.

The latter came from a “Discover Beef” tasting pack from The Artisan Beef Institute in Santa Rosa, California, whose founder, Carrie Oliver, applies the wine-tasting model to meats.

Our testers liked several samples but discovered no universal preference for grass-fed or grain-fed, finding various degrees of beefiness and juiciness across the samples.

Beef really is like cheese or tomatoes or any other food: The proof is in the pudding, not in claims about the pudding. The cook needs to explore and sample with an open mind.

But this is good: However the politics of beef resolve themselves, the move from industrial production toward more emphasis on breeds, feed, care, and provenance will present the American cook with more choice, more variety — and more pleasures in the kitchen and on the plate.

The Evolution of Your Chili Zen

…not just a big pot of beefy slop with taco seasoning and some fake heat in the form of hot sauce with a donkey on the bottle.  Not something that you can serve with Cool Ranch Doritos to the common meathead.  And not some recipe you found in the eating light section of Cooking for Jerks.  I’m talking about a recipe that takes you ten pounds of beef and veggies to make, ten times to get it where you want it, and ten years to absolutely perfect.

You see, having a chili recipe that people remember you for is a badge of honor, and most likely is not something that you can just read in a book, understand and execute.  Especially when that book was written by someone else – this means that you’re cooking somebody else’s chili. This is not something to be taken lightly.  There is so much more than ingredients and cook time that goes into a good batch of chili.

You must begin your training while you are young and still live with your parents. Get some basic knowledge of the ingredients that you absolutely need to make chili.  I suggest starting very simple. Just use ground beef, small chunks of steak or stew meat, chopped onions and peppers, kidney beans, tomato sauce, and the chili mix packets in the spice aisle.

Test it on your family because if it really sucks, they will tell you with tact, and they will most likely tell you how to make it better.  Not because they necessarily know how to make a great chili, but because they know simple stew cooking guidelines, like that you need to drain the ground beef or else the fat and oil will rise to the top of the pot and create a layer that resembles the BP gulf spill.  They know that you need to cook it on low to medium else you will burn the bottom of the pan and create a used wookie-like smell that fills the house and the flavor of the chili.

And now for the “how to cook basic chili in one sentence” sentence… Cook all of the meat on medium and drain it, add the veggies and cook until they are, um, cooked, then add the drained beans, sauce, spices, and simma down for two hours.

Want some heat?  Add fresh de-seeded jalapenos during the veggie cooking stage, and don’t wipe your face until you wash your hands thoroughly.  Want it really hot?  Keep the seeds and add it during the sauce and spice stage.  Or you can add your fave hot sauce as it’s simmering.  If you can get comfortable making a basic chili a few times at home before you go off to college, you will have the confidence to make it for your boys on any given Sunday.

OK, so you made it into college where you live with dudes that like football Sundays and eating tailgate food.  Good job, junior.  Now you can start to experiment a bit, but don’t make any major changes – try adding new things, removing some things, all kinds of things… You are on your own now, and it is time to use what you learned at home and explore, try new things.  Blossom, child.  You will make some mistakes, but you will learn from them unless you are an idiot, in which case you will not be in college much longer anyways and you should start learning how to make license plates because that’s obviously were you are headed.

Anyways, try new things in college.  How do you prefer to spark it up – jalapeno, habanero, cayenne, or cholula?  What other fillers do you prefer, legumally speaking?   I use baked beans, black beans, and kidney beans.  This makes the chili a little sweeter tasting and adds  thickness to the sauce.  It also turns my dog Dre into a gaseous carpet ass-dragger, so I try to keep him away from it.  I also use corn, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, onion salt, and sometimes beer or Guinness early.  During these years of experimentation you will not only learn what works and what doesn’t work, but precisely how everything cooks.  By that I mean the difference of flavor and texture of onions in your chili if you cut them big or small, and if you add them early or late.

So you’ve graduated college – or at least made it through 4 years and have like one or two classes to make up.  You should be proud – now you have the tools to totally make it on your own.  The chili, I mean.  You have your own chili pot, and roommates that have grown to prefer your chili over the last couple of years.  You’re making money now and you can afford to buy better quality ingredients and good beer.  These are the years that you will perfect your chili.  You know what works and what doesn’t.  You know what types of meats you prefer, and which spices seem to hit it for you.  You’ve got the shopping and preparation part down to a science, you can make minor adjustments as you wish, and you know exactly what turning each knob will do.  You are no longer the padawan, young Flywacker, you are one with the force.  Now go win a local chili cookoff, or host one at your nasty apartment.

And if you really want to wow someone, serve your chili as huevos rancheros.  A layer of good quality corn tortilla chips topped with one egg over easy, topped with the chili, topped with melted cheese.  The bites with the runny yolk will make your eyes roll up into the back of your head.

I just drooled on the space bar.


Our Prices

Two options to buy:

  1. 1/2 cow at $6 * 80% hanging weight.  Usually comes out to close to $6 per lb, about 250 lbs.
  2. 1/4 cow at $7.50 * 80% hanging weight. Usually comes out to close to $7.50 per lb, about 125 lbs.

Caledonia Farm Prices

Ground beef, 1 lb/pkg $6/lb

Ground Beef Patties, 3ea. 6 oz. patties per pkg, $7.50/pkg.
Let’s talk about convenience that everyone can enjoy!

Stew beef, 1 lb/pkg, $8/lb.

Beef Sausage; hot or sweet Italian linked,1 lb/pkg, $7.50/pkg
Awesome grilled for a great sandwich or a quick tasty meal from your fry-pan. No fillers or preservatives, 3 links/pkg, frozen and uncooked. A must- try new item!

Bone-in rib/delmonico steaks now $12/lb. SOLD OUT- restocked in April!
About a pound each. A good all-around, value priced steak!

Boneless Rib-Eye Steaks, $16/lb. SOLD OUT- restocked in April!
A superb grilling steak, rivaling our more expensive steaks for taste and tenderness!

Boneless Sirloin Steaks, $13/lb.SOLD OUT- restocked in April!
A good grilling steak, as long as you don’t over cook it. Excellent flavor and versatile for stir fry when sliced into strips, too!

Bone-in Sirloin Steak, $12/lb. SOLD OUT- restocked in April!
Don’t let the bone put you off, as the meat next to the bone is sweeter and more tender!

Flank and Skirt Steaks, $8/lb.
Noted for its flavor, lends itself well to your your favorite marinade. We recommend an herb infused vinegar, garlic and olive oil as a base. Slow cooked, moist heat is best.

Roasts; shoulder, face of the rump, and top round now $9/lb.
2-3 lb average weight, excellent for any moist heat recipe.

Bottom round roast, $8/lb.
2-3 lbs each best suited for long, slow cooking and is revered for its flavor!

Chuck roasts, bone-in, $5/lb.
A favorite in our house for its superb flavor and versatility! Consider chuck in place of stew beef in your favorite stew recipe!

Tenderloin/Filet mignon, $24/lb.
The Rolls Royce of steaks with tenderness and flavor unrivaled by any other cut by a country mile! 10-12 oz.

T-bone steak, $16/lb.SOLD OUT- restocked in April!

Cube steak, $8/lb.
Makes an excellent steak sandwich! Add in onions, mushrooms, peppers and cheddar cheese!

Kabobs from the round, $8 per 1 lb package.
Responds very well to a lemon juice/ infused vinegar/ olive oil/red wine marinade.

Porterhouse steak, $17/lb. SOLD OUT- restocked in April!
A superb grilling steak with a small portion of the tenderloin and the best of the sirloin all in one great steak!

London broil and top round steak, $8/lb.
1 to 2 lb per package. Try an olive oil, lemon juice and red wine marinade! Served carved across the bias for best results.

Loin strip steaks, $16/lb.
Approximately 1/2 lb, comparable to NY style strip steaks.

Beef liver, heart, oxtails; $5/lb.