Hi there. This page is just a little bit about our cows-why we raise them- and how we raise them. I frequently talk about Galloway Grass Fed Beef in my recipes and I thought it only fitting to tell you a little about this rarer unknown breed of beautiful cattle.
So, I went from city lights, big crowds, shopping, and collecting shoes to country nights, big clouds, cooking, and hearing moos. Cattle that is… Smile. It really is like that Eva Gabor show, Green Acres. You know the song I hope…or maybe I’m dating myself here although in my defense I think I was still in diapers when it was on tv?…”Green acres is the place to be….honey I love you but give me Park Avenue?” Na? You don’t remember huh? Well I’m sure it’s out there on You Tube or Netflix or in television land somewhere?
I never pictured myself moving from the bright city lights of Las Vegas to this beautiful country valley in Montana, until I met my husband.…a kind of cinderella story. But now, I can’t imagine not living here (except sometimes during winter when I would like to just lay on a beach somewhere and drink umbrella drinks and listening to Bob Marley but we save that for vacation time. Smile)
We have a herd of these teddy bear looking cows called Galloway and they really are neat animals. I am not a self proclaimed cattle-woman and I typically don’t speak the mainstream cattle lingo common in the real corporate wheeling and dealing cattle world. I am, remember, a former cop from Las Vegas who lived in high heels off duty, got manicures, pedicures, and religious facials and shopped A LOT. What else could I do in a place that you can only live inside in the air conditioning or a cool swimming pool for an entire 9 months of the year where it reaches temperatures of 117 in the Summer? No judgement here people. LOL Thank you very much. Anyhoo, I have learned that cattle folk take the craft very seriously and I am grateful for em but as far as this girl is concerned, I enjoy them, I raise them, and speak plain Kasey english when I describe them. I am a transplant, an outsider..…and, totally ok with that…in fact, I suspect I have been “different” my whole life. When 8 out of 100 actual street cops in Las Vegas were female and the percentage of female supervisors on the police department was much less than 8% you are always a bit of a square peg…know what I mean?
So, it’s perfectly fitting that I am now raising different from the mainstream and somewhat rare cattle. The cattle in the particular breed we raise have two coats of hair that can be white, red, dun, black, and silver and that is why they look like teddy bears in the winter, shedding their thicker coat in the summer. In the early 1900’s their thick coats were often sold to be made into cold weather apparel in the form of overcoats. Their extra layer of hair is also what makes them unique and incredibly weather resilient and waterproof. Nutritionally speaking, because they have this extra layer of thick teddy bear hair, they don’t build the extra fat that other breeds do around the outside of their bodies to help keep them warm. Their bodies don’t need to do that just by the sheer benefit of their physiology and all that hair. They build their fat reserves from the inside out.
Our Galloway cattle also have the benefit of being raised purely on their mother’s milk and green grass (dried grass in the form of hay in the winter). For this reason, their beef flavor is more intense and is different than grain fed animals or even animals that are labeled as “grass fed” but forced to stand in a feed lot from day to day where they cannot get the exercise a free roaming cow does. We definitely try to keep our animals as stress free as possible. It is true that the more stress an animal is under, the more that stress impacts their meat. It goes to reason that if stress affects the health of humans in the form of sickness, sleep loss, weight gain/loss, hair loss, no appetite, restlessness, etc., then why would the stress of an enclosed space in a crowded feedlot not affect the condition of the animal forced to eat in those conditions? Or, even further, the stress that is placed on animals that are trucked from long distances to feed lots or butcheries often causes the tenderness of the meat to diminish and weight loss to occur just due to the stress that the animal has to endure to travel. I surmise that those factors are only two of which that influence this wonderfully admirable trend to buy from local producers if one can.
I’ll list a bunch of resources I’ve read for your viewing pleasure at the end of this if you want to study up like I have in the past few years, but there is plenty of research out there to indicate that grass fed beef is higher in many nutrients and fatty acids. These include a fatty acid called Conjugated Linoleum Acid (CLA) in which grass fed and finished animals have 3-5 higher levels than grain fed animals and Omega 3s which are also contained in the meat of natural grass fed grazers but less prominent in grain and grain fed animals. Additionally, it is known that grass fed meat is leaner and lower in fat and calories than grain fed beef and in some studies, Galloway grass finished beef has been found to contain a higher protein content than chicken breast without skin! I know! Whaaaat? Yes. It’s a little known secret.
Our Galloway breed of cattle, are still somewhat rare here in America, even though they were imported to the U.S. around the same time as Angus for beef production specifically, and are a distant cousin to some Angus. Galloway thrive on forage (wild and naturally growing food that some other breeds would not be able to survive on alone if the forage were sparse and variated) They are often overlooked by the mainstream beef industry because they are foragers, not particularly suited for grain and man influenced feed to help fatten them up quickly to sell at the market. Additionally, the long hair and varietal colors of this unique bovine are a turn off to serious beef producing and feed lot buyers, often discounting the animals by hundreds of dollars just due to their hair and hair color….sounds a little like cowscrimination to me? Sad. But true.
So, because we are raising cattle that my husband absolutely fell in love with and I have also come to love in my new country girl digs far from Sin City and the hot crime ridden streets of Las Vegas…..we do our best to raise these animals, ensuring they have happy cow lives as long as they are here with us. We will continue to raise these Galloway cattle both to promote the pure-old-heritage breed, benefit from the grass fed nutrients and beef as a family ourselves, and do all we can to keep the breed going and off the conservancy watch list. We do sell cattle as well as grass fed beef and since this little blog is my corner of the internet universe to ramble on about various topics including facts and my opinions about this one, I would refer you to www.bitterrootgalloways.com for more information in regards to that, or one of the many links I provided for your viewing pleasure below. Thank you for reading and having an interest in these incredibly docile, good mothering, and easy calving cows. Now, maybe when you see them if you are ever driving through the country, you might be able to tell it’s a Galloway! Look for the teddy bear hair and the color of white, black, red, dun (which is a light gold-ish beige) and the really unique silver!
Dhiman, T. R., Anand, et al. (1999). “Conjugated linoleum acid content of milk from cows fed different diets.” J dairy Sci 82 (10): 2146-56.)