Berriedale Farms

Lizzie and Nelson assume that all visitors to this website are familiar with the extraordinary health benefits of grass-fed beef versus corn-fed. So this website does not attempt to educate the public about health benefits. Some visitors may not have purchased grass-fed beef before and in small or medium-sized quantities. Outlined below, therefore, are several thoughts that may assist you in making a decision about whether you want to buy grass-fed beef from Berriedale Farms or for that matter, from any other source.  "Lakota" in oil on canvas by Nan Mahone Wellborn.

Value-added Benefits:

● Grass-fed and -finished beef delivers a more full-bodied and complex beef flavour than corn- or grain-fed beef because the cattle graze on a variety of natural grasses, legumes and shrubs. At Berriedale Farms, it is fescue, orchard and timothy grasses, red and white clovers, young thistle and tender shrubs that impart a complex and full-bodied flavor to our Red Poll beef.

● Grass-fed beef has much higher concentrations of the essential Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and the "good" Omega-3 fatty acids than does grain- or corn-fed beef.

● Well-marbled grass-fed beef is made possible by generously feeding quality hay to steers and heifers during the harsh winter months and also, by allowing these animals to both achieve their physiological maturity and to put down intramuscular fat before harvesting. In the Appalachian Mountains, this means raising a beef animal through the age of 28-30 months instead of harvesting them at 18 months like most commercial operations that focus upon efficiency and production through-put.

● Buying grass-fed beef from Berriedale Farms helps to support financially a small family farm in rural America -- a farm that operates under an unusually progressive conservation easement overseen by The Nature Conservancy and further, a farm that is committed to preserving threatened heritage breed genetics.

● Berriedale Farms caters to health-conscious individuals, couples and families that want grass-fed beef both in manageable quantities and at economical prices. Back to top

Butchering Standards:

● Berriedale grass-fed beef is sold by the net retail weight, just the same as in an up-scale grocery store, and closely trimmed without unnecessary bones, with little fat and cartilage. The Farm does not sell beef by the "carcass weight", "hanging weight" or the "live weight". At Berriedale Farms, a "Quarter Steer" weighs 100 pounds or more, and not less. An Urban Wrangler weighs 25 pounds or more, and not less..

● Our meat processing plant, True & Essential Meats of Harrisonburg, is a Talmedge-Aiken USDA Federally Certified Meat Processing Facility and additionally, certified for humane animal treatment.

● All Berriedale Farms steaks are cut rancher-style at 1.5" thick.

● Our roasts are all cut at approximately 3.0 pounds each.

● Ground beef-burger is packaged in about 1.0 pound units.

● Berriedale grass-fed beef is dry-aged for 21 days.

● And it is vacuum sealed. Back to top

Delivery & Shipping:

● Increasingly, our customers are picking up "Quarter steers" at Berriedale Farms, enjoying a family outing in rural America, getting a closer look on the ground at the farm and its animals, and how this all works together.

● Alternatively, Lizzie and Nelson will deliver within the immediate three-state area orders for "Quarter steers" (i.e., 100 pounds) for 55 cents per mile one-way, although we would like to batch two or three deliveries to reduce our costs and time commitments.

● "Urban Wranglers" and "Plowboy Specials" (i.e., 25 pounds) can be picked up at the farm or shipped into the metropolitan areas via United Parcel Service (UPS) Overnight Ground for a nominal fee of $22 more or less.

● United Parcel Service shipments are frozen solid, packed in well-insulated Styrofoam boxes, shipped overnight ground delivery, with no signature required, so you must be there to receive the package. Back to top

Berriedale Farms
Dedicated to the Conservation of Land, Water & Heritage Breeds
10245 Cowpasture River Road
Williamsville, Virginia  24487

Core Values:

● At Berriedale Farms, Lizzie and Nelson practice the best possible stewardship of forest and grass-lands, surface and groundwaters, and heritage breeds of livestock and poultry.

● Our farm is dedicated to the conservation of Red Poll cattle, a Livestock Conservancy heritage and "threatened" breed.

● At Berriedale Farms, our vision is to become the small family farm of choice for 100 households.

● Nelson and Lizzie, at Berriedale Farms, endeavor to raise the best grass-fed beef anywhere east of the Mississippi River.

● At Berriedale Farms, our cattle are born and raised for their entire lives on pastoral Appalachian Mountain pastures of native grasses and legumes.

● Our Red Poll cattle, at Berriedale Farms, drink fresh clear water from the same deep well that serves our farm residence, family and friends.

● Nelson and Lizzie, at Berriedale Farms, are committed to giving our heritage Red Poll cattle the very best veterinary care possible. Back to top

Purchasing Guidelines for Grass-fed Beef

Hot-button Issues:

Grass-fed versus Grain-fed - All grass-fed beef is not created equal. Finishing a grass-fed animal on any grain and particularly finishing them with corn, effectively destroys the very favorable ratios of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids. Grain finishing also destroys huge amounts of essential-to-human-health Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). At Berriedale Farms, Lizzie and Nelson raise only grass-fed and-finished heritage beef.

Antibiotics in the Meat - Organic meats that are "antibiotic-free" present a highly misleading health claim. The United States Food and Drug Administration establishes time frames within which an animal that is given an antibiotic may not be harvested for human consumption and these time frames are generally about 30 days. Additionally, the United States Department of Agriculture either will not or cannot, measure residual amounts of antibiotics in meat. The real health issue is that the prophylactic use of antibiotics such as with an antibiotic implant or with antibiotics used in feed supplements, over the long haul dramatically increases the chances of developing antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. At Berriedale Farms, we do not use antibiotics in feed supplements or as implants.
Hormones in the Meat - Many commercial beef operations use growth hormones or steroids in animal implants or as feed supplements, to stimulate weight gains because of the favorable economics. The United States Food and Drug Administration claims that growth hormones are not a hazard to human health. The European Union bans the production and importation of meats with growth hormones and steroids. Since the American beef industry exerts a huge political influence upon both the USDA and the USFDA, it is most likely prudent from a personal health perspective to assume that these federal agencies are bias in favor of the industry. At Berriedale Farms, Lizzie and Nelson do not use growth hormones or steroids in feed supplements or as implants.
Humane Animal Treatment - When considering humane treatment as a buying criterion, you might want to look beyond humane treatment certification programs and look into how livestock is actually raised and handled on the farm, the level of veterinary care given to the animals, the conditions under which livestock is transported and how animals are actually slaughtered. At Berriedale Farms, we treat our animals in a humane fashion -- we do not use electric prods, we do not use herding dogs, we do use antibiotics in legitimate health care emergencies, we transport animals with a companion herd-mate, we patronize a certified humane meat processing plant, and Nelson sings cowboy songs to the thundering herd.

Transparency in Weighing - The livestock industry sells meat based upon its live weight, hanging (or carcass) weight, primal cuts weight and/or net weight per piece. The actual amount of useable meat that a consumer receives depends upon the following variables: (a) how much the animal weighs at slaughter, (b) the body structure or frame score, of the animal, (c) how much intramuscular and/or back-fat the animal has accumulated, (d) whether the animal has small fine or large heavy bones, (e) how much water is lost during the dry-aging process, and (f) the butcher's skills, diligence and time available. At Berriedale Farms, Nelson and Lizzie sell our grass-fed beef by the net retail weight just like in a grocery store.  Back to top

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Freezer & Cooler Space:

● A 100-pound "Quarter steer" will require about a 120-quart cooler or alternatively, 4.0 cubic feet of freezer space. Lizzie and Nelson bought a 120 quart Coleman X-treme Marine Cooler for about $95 and really like it. A 5.0 cubic foot freezer is a better choice than a slightly smaller freezer because it gives you some room to organize and move around meat cuts and other produce.

● A 25-pound "Urban Wrangler" fits into a normal-sized freezer compartment, however, small refrigerators with a top freezer compartment and swinging doors may present a challenge in keeping the meat and other items in the freezer compartment when the door opens. The most convenient arrangement is a draw-type freezer compartment. Another way to look at the storage space requirement is in quarts or cubic feet. An "Urban Wrangler" occupies 25 quarts of capacity or 0.84 cubic feet of space, but this is when tightly packed. The smallest refrigerator sold by Lowe's with a top freezer compartment and swinging doors is an 8.1 cubic foot refrigerator with a 2.5 cubic foot freezer compartment, so freezer space should not be a problem. Back to top

Customer Accolades:

I want grandpa's hamburger and red! - Chad, Urbana, Maryland

Well, cowboy, that New York strip steak was the best. - Pete, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

I just do not believe this beef was grass-fed. - Bill, Roanoke, Virginia

Harry wants Berriedale grass-fed steak for dinner and then, hamburger for lunch and I have told him, "Yummy! But, no more. Nope! Moderation. No! No!! No!!!" - Robin, Little Rock, Arkansas

That was the best birthday steak I have ever eaten bar none from New York, London or Paris. - Charles, Ithaca, New York

Dennis and I LOVE Berriedale Farms beef! On Saturday, we had a steak tasting party for some of our beef loving friends. They were so complimentary and it had nothing to do with our cooking. The flavor is extraordinary!! Thank you so much. - Deborah, Columbia, Virginia

Berriedale Farms beef is what grass-fed beef should be -- raised to the perfect size and right age for great marbling and flavor. Beef like that makes cutting on the butcher's block a pleasure. - Travis, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Just had our first rib eye steaks! I marinated the steaks for about 30 minutes in tart cherry juice (to cut down on the unhealthier compounds that can be produced in meat cooked at high heat) before Don seared them in a skillet, and baked them the rest of the way around 350 degrees. No seasoning, no steak sauce, nothing else. I have to say those were really outstanding steaks! Granted we don't usually buy the more expensive cuts like rib eye, and they aren't often so thick as the ones we got from you. So, not sure I'm making a fair comparison to steaks we've had in the past. But these were perfect, just perfect! We bought your beef because of the humane treatment of the animals, the better nutrition for us, and environmental and economic benefits of sustainable family farming. But could it really be true the beef is significantly better-tasting? Those other benefits are reason enough for me to buy it. I can't help but suspect myself of giving the meat a psychological aura that just made me pay attention and enjoy it more. - Audrey, Baltimore, Maryland

My wife and I just had an amazing experience when we picked up our quarter steer at Berriedale Farms. When we pulled up at the farm gate, we were greeted and treated like family. Mr. Nelson gave us tips on nearly every cut of beef. Even made my mouth water when he explained how to properly cook the liver and I don't like liver. Cyndy and I made chili with a pound of ground beef tonight and it was delicious. A wonderful beef aroma filled the kitchen as we cooked. Can't wait to try the rest of our beef and visit the farm again. Thanks Mr Nelson and Ms. Lizzie. - Ryan, Newport News, Virginia.  Back to top