Certified Piedmontese Beef
Healthier Animals, Healthier Meat
By Sarah Brown
Anthony Bourdain once said, “The food we eat says a lot about who we are.” We eat to sustain ourselves, of course, but many dishes, ingredients, or methods of preparation serve as links to our personal or family history, ethnic background, cultural affiliation, and national citizenship. From a consumer standpoint, our purchasing habits can also be a reflection of individual and societal values. Choosing to buy locally raised food brings the community together, creates important economic opportunities, provides health benefits, and helps to reduce environmental impact. Additionally, many people feel that local food tastes better and lasts longer. Since 2011, Certified Piedmontese has been providing real Nebraska beef of superior quality and flavor that is also healthier, humane, and sustainable.
Certified Piedmontese provides uniquely lean, tender, and delicious beef to consumers nationwide. Kala Springer is the marketing and event coordinator for Certified Piedmontese, and she explains the difference between Piedmontese and other beef. “The Piedmontese breed of cattle is very different from the Angus that are usually used for beef production,” she says. “Piedmontese naturally have a unique genetic makeup that makes the animals more muscular. More muscle means less fat and higher protein, but the meat is still extremely tender and flavorful.”
“Marbling” is the term used in the culinary world for the intramuscular fat in lean meat. The white flecks and streaks of fat have long been touted to provide more flavor and tenderness, and marbling usually serves as the standard for grading the quality of a cut of beef. However, Kala explains, more marble isn’t an absolute requirement for great texture and flavor. In Certified Piedmontese beef, high levels of marbling are not common because the breed has an inactive gene (myostatin gene) that enables them to keep creating muscle with little fat and connective tissue. These yield a beef that is lower in fat and calories, yet tender like prime-grade beef.
It is common practice in the meat industry to inject animals with steroids and other hormones in an effort to promote growth and increase profits. However, Certified Piedmontese cattle are raised by ranchers who use progressive protocols, rather than steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics, to optimize animal health. “Our cattle are raised completely naturally,” Kala relates. “Cattle are raised and handled humanly without growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics.” The most progressive aspect of the business is that each individual Piedmontese animal is fully traceable—from the plains of western Nebraska to your plate. “We literally know the history of every animal,” states Kala. “We know when they were born, what their health history has been, the animal’s diet...everything.”
What advantage does that offer? “The quality is the best,” Kala continues. “The ranchers who raise these animals are committed to high-quality animal care and handling. They keep a running record of each animal’s growth and development. Based on what they’re seeing, plans are created for those animal. The animals get exactly what they need to be their healthiest.”
Healthy animals produce healthier meat. “For a long time, people were told to stay away from red meat,” says Kala. “We were told to limit the amount we ate because it was higher in fat.” Initially, Certified Piedmontese beef was mostly purchased by professional chefs or by consumers who were very health-conscious. As time has passed and word about the product has spread, the customer demographic has expanded outside of those circles. Kala mentions that she’s heard from many customers (women in particular) who had stopped consuming beef in any form because eating it felt so heavy and it was hard to digest. When these customers try Certified Piedmontese beef, they are delighted to find that they can enjoy eating steak again without feeling uncomfortable for hours afterward. An eight-ounce portion of Piedmontese beef has approximately 52 grams of pure, clean protein.
Certified Piedmontese products have already been available to customers at a couple of select local grocery retailers and online at piedmontese.com. Soon, residents of Lincoln and surrounding communities will have another option. A Labor Day weekend 2020 grand opening is planned for a Certified Piedmontese retail location at 4851 North 84th Street, in Lincoln. The shop will have fresh cuts of meat available as well as custom cuts. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide recommendations. Customers can also choose additional items, such as artisanal cheeses, seasonings, condiments, and wines, to create a most enjoyable at-home dining experience.
Kala is confident that, once you try Certified Piedmontese beef, you’ll never go back to eating “regular” beef again. Let’s find out! Until the opening of the new retail location, you can find Certified Piedmontese beef at piedmontese.com or at Great Plains Beef, in Lincoln. To reach them by phone, please call 800-544-1359.