According to the USDA, Hawaii produced 41,540,000 pounds of beef in 2009 and beef cattle currently makes up 54 percent of the State’s total herd at 81,200 head. Hawaii's cattle industry produces calves that are exported to the mainland for finishing in feed-lots as well as cows raised entirely in Hawaii for commercial slaughter. However, USDA data for April 2010 showed that a fourth of Hawaii’s cattle were locally slaughtered, up seven percent from the same period in 2009.
The following ranches on the Big Island are producing cattle for grass-fed beef consumption:
- Daleico Ranch-Ka'u
- Ernest DeLuz Ranch-Hamakua
- Ernest Pung Ranch-Hamakua
- Kahua Ranch-Kohala
- Kealia Ranch-South Kona
- Kukaiau Ranch-Hamakua
- Kukuipahu Ranch, North Kohala
- Palani Ranch-North Kona
- Parker Ranch-Waimea
- RJ Ranch-Hamakua
- Triple D Ranch-Hamakua
Hawaiian grass-fed beef is healthy and lean with half the total fat of grain-fed beef. Big Island grass-fed beef has half the calories of mainland grain-fed beef, making a Hawaiian 6 ounce steak 100 calories less than other 6 ounce beef steaks. Additionally, grass-fed beef contains up to six times more omega-3 fatty acid and substantially more Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. We have had good weight loss results by eating grass-fed beef, which has approximately the same fat content as skinless chicken.
The Big Island has two meat processing operations, Hawaii Beef Producers and Kulana Foods. They provide Hawaii’s grass-fed beef to local grocery stores under several brands including KTA’s Mountain Apple, Hawaii Island Grass-Fed Beef, and Island Fresh. The Mattos family owns Paauilo based Hawaii Beef Producers and JJ's Country Market in Honokaa. They receive and process up to 350 head of cattle each month, the majority purchased from ranchers raising grass-fed cattle on the Big Island that are antibiotic and hormone free. Beef cuts can be ordered and picked up at JJ’s Country Market. The Yagi family owns Kulana Foods in Hilo. Kulana Foods purchases cattle, pigs and sheep for processing and distribution to local supermarkets and restaurants. Kahua Ranch, Palani Ranch and Parker Ranch bring their cattle to Kulana Foods for processing and packaging for stores and restaurants around the island.
Hawaiian grass-fed beef is delicious and healthier than grain-fed beef. Hawaii’s cattle ranchers and meat processing businesses are providing Big Island residents an affordable source of healthy food.