Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Island Grass-Fed Beef

Though cattle are raised throughout the State of Hawaii, the Big Island produces the majority of Hawaii’s beef. And fortunately for us, more Hawaii ranchers are raising free roaming cattle fed only grass and legumes without the use of antibiotics and hormones.  Though the drought on the Big Island has made it tough on many of the cattle ranchers, feeding cattle grass is substantially cheaper than importing grain from the mainland and the resulting grass-fed beef contains less fat, cholesterol, and calories than fatty grain-fed beef.

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.


Keola Donaghy said...

Mahalo for the lesson in local beef-onomics. Will strive to buy HI pipi from here on out.

All Hawaii News said...

Thanks for all the good info on grass-fed beef!

Do you happen to know any place (other than restaurants) that sell veal? We are having a hard time finding it in Hilo.

mahalo nui.


Venus de Hilo said...

Island naturals (Hilo Shopping Center) sometimes has veal in the chill case and/or freezer. I've seen both veal chops and stew meat; have only cooked/eaten the stew, but it was delish. They carry BI beef, too.

Cynthia Hoskins said...

I bought several pounds of Kahua Ranch's ground lamb to use at my birthday party in June! Their meat is available at the Ranch store (good idea to call ahead) or at the Waimea Farmers Market. Here are the prices and contact info:

(Disclosure - I'm doing some work for the Kahua Ranch Adventure Tours guys, so I'm a bit biased! :) )

R Blog said...

As a blogger wanted to let you know that I check in to your site via Charles Hugh Smith (no relation). Like hearing your reflections on life on the Big Island. I've had a long association with Hawaii starting in 1965 when our C130 stopped in Honolulu on the way back from Vietnam. Had a drink in the old grass roofed outdoor bar at Ft. DeRussy. Owned property at Ninole with my brother which we sold and rolled to a house on the N. Shore Oahu.Spend winters there but miss Hilo, one of my favorite cities. Good job on your blog.

Carla said...

Great info for the community. Thank you for the post. I had not heard about JJ's and will check them out!

Victoria Hokulani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victoria Hokulani said...

I buy only grass-fed beef for my ohana. I suspect that since there are no growth hormones in the beef that maybe another explanation for some weight lost.
The taste of this beef is so superior to that of grain fed that there is no comparison. The grass fed beef has a much cleaner, less fatty taste. Often KTA sells grass fed burger for less than $2/lb making it an excellent source of inexpensive protein.
Kulana Meats in Hilo is a very good direct source for different cuts of beef. They slaughter and butcher it right there, too. They have a retail window on site and beef can be purchased at wholesale prices.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that as more and more people become aware of the health benefits Grass Fed Beef they will make the switch that I have personally made to only consume grass fed beef. As you mention, grass fed beef is lower in calories and fat but it is also rich in heart healthy omega 3 acids. I work with La Cense Beef which sells 100 percent grass fed beef. I think it is important that people educate themselves and really understand where the meat they consume originates.

Unknown said...

I really love the benefits of beef. It contains protein which helps me get my muscles ripped. I also buy PGX to support my diet.

Unknown said...

Aloha and Mahalo nui for your informative blog post about grass fed beef on Hawaii island. We are a group of UH Manoa students conducting research on the Hawaii grass-fed beef industry. You can learn more about our group, Hawaii Island Rural Enterprise Developers, at . Thanks again! Team HIRED

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