I raise premium beef cattle for a living. The 350 beef cows that I get to spend my time with every day, produce the most tender and best tasting beef in western Canada
But, when my daughter’s health challenges required the highest quality food we could find, My wife bought beef from another rancher. It was frustrating, but it drove me to make a change.
Peony Farms has been known for our Piedmontese breed of cattle for decades. My father-in-law, Peter, started raising Pieds here over 30 years ago because they have a natural tenderness gene that makes them famous.
Peter’s always tried to produce the best product for his customers…and he thought he was until my daughter’s health needs forced us to take a closer look.
When our daughter was born, she suffered some complications that left her with severe health challenges and long term disabilities. Instead of taking her food by mouth, she gets her all her nutrition through a gastrostomy tube…we call it a G tube.
My wife and I didn’t know anything about how to prepare food for her this way…and we learned that the food she ate directly impacted her health even more than it does for most children.
We met with nutritionists, read books, and talked with other parents who were raising kids with G tubes and special dietary needs.
Pretty soon, our kitchen started to look more like a science lab. We had scales to carefully weigh her food. We had a commercial blender to ensure it was the right consistency. And we had the big syringes we used to push food into her G-tube.
We wanted our daughter to have the very best nutrition available, and we were willing to do whatever it took to get it for her…but what was the best nutrition available?
My wife was convinced grass-finished beef, ancestral diets, and organic food were important for getting my daughter the right nutrition.
Part of the blend of foods we prepared for our daughter included beef liver. But, my wife believed liver from grass-finished beef was healthier than from the grain-finished beef we raised.
So, she left Peony Farms to go buy beef liver from another ranch.
I was frustrated. I wanted the best for my daughter too, but it was hard to know whether this other beef was actually better for her.
So, I started researching, but it only made me more confused – the information was hard to find and lots of branding and labeling implied health benefits without any proof.
But, eventually we found a form of food production called regenerative agriculture that was proving that positive outcomes could be measured and achieved.
Based on this data, the other beef that my wife was buying may or may not have been better. It also showed that the best for our daughter would be regeneratively raised grass finished beef raised on a diversity of plants.
Peter and I wanted to raise the absolute best products for our customers…and we raised a great product…better than most of the beef you’ll find. We even had customers that couldn’t eat any other beef than ours because of how their bodies felt afterwards.
But, if it wasn’t good enough for my own daughter, we had to make a change, and the change started the day we bought beef from another farm.
After learning how to run a farm/ranch that naturally feeds the soil that feeds our cattle, we moved away from conventional practices and started adopting regenerative ones.
For instance, in the past our fields would’ve had only one species of plants growing and would have used high levels of chemical fertilizers.
But, today, our fields have 10+ varieties of grasses, clovers, and other plants growing in it. Because each of the plants contribute to soil health and nutrition, we hardly use any additional fertilizer at all.
And the cattle we raise not only live healthier lives, they are also more nutritious. A study from the University of Washington in 2022 showed that beef raised using regenerative practices had 3 times more healthy omega-3s and more than 6 times the ALA…an omega-3 fat.
Today, my family pays more attention to the food we eat and how it was produced than ever before. We’ve cut most of the processed foods out of our diet. We know most of the farmers and the production practices used to produce the fruits and vegetables we eat. We eat as many foods as we can that were raised using regenerative practices.
But, I’m also proud to say all of us…including my daughter…eat the premium, tender, nutritious, Piedmontese beef we raise here on Peony Farms. We wouldn’t have it any other way.