Silver Fern Farms: The Story of New Zealand Grass-Fed Beef

 In All natural, Angus, Antibiotic-free, Beef, Featured Vendors, Free range, Grass-fed, Hormone-free, Meat, New Zealand, Non-GMO, Steroid-free

Producer Profile: Silver Fern Farms

Location: Over 30 participating farms in New Zealand, primary office in Dunedin, NZ

Founded: 1948

Philosophy: We love food. At our heart we are food people, making it well, taking care of it and where it comes from.

In New Zealand, grass-fed beef means something different than it does to us in the states. Firstly, it is one of the few places in the world where grass-based farming can reach its true potential. When grass is always available, there’s very little need to supplement with hay or feed. At Silver Fern Farms, grass-fed New Zealand beef means all in and since the food is growing right outside, their animals are also completely free range.

When livestock are allowed to graze and roam naturally in a low-stress environment consistently over time, the meat that is produced has a consistently delicious, distinctive flavor and exquisite fat marbling – the mark of red meat as it should be. With a diet of rich grass, animals grow strong and healthy. Compared to being grain-fed, grass-fed meat is lower in saturated fat, and higher in vitamins A and E, conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.

Grass-fed Angus New Zealand Beef

Consumer demand is increasing for beef the way it should be – natural, grass-fed, and full-flavored. Angus has always had a distinctively bold flavor, and now it’s been perfected by Silver Fern Farms New Zealand beef by allowing the cattle to free range on grass, 365 days a year.  New Zealand’s temperate climate and abundant sunshine and rainfall allow cattle to never see a feed lot. They contain no hormone or antibiotic growth promotants, is non-GMO, and meets the strictest certified EU standards. The result is a verified grass-fed Angus with natural marbling that gives a meatier, bolder expression.

So what does that mean for the meat?

Of course, there’s the question of the flavor profile. Grain vs. grass has been a long debated topic, and many of us have had ups and downs with domestic grass-fed beef. Silver Fern Farms Reserve line and grass-fed Angus New Zealand beef is hand selected for quality and consistency. Specific cattle are individually selected from each herd to continue this reserve line, and internationally-trained Master Graders inspect each carcass and select the best for Reserve status  based on the seven criteria of the Eating Quality System:

  • Ultimate pH – A measurement of lactic acid present in the meat. Minimizing stress and ensuring cattle have a good diet and energy levels are key to achieving a low pH range.
  • Marbling – The gradation of intramuscular fat that is the staple of moist, tender beef. Farmers improve marbling by providing cattle with a healthy, high quality and consistent diet. Genetics also play a significant role, so farmers can selectively breed to elevate the quality of their herd.
  • Ossification – The process of cartilage turning to bone, an indicator of cattle aging. As cattle age, muscle fibers become more rigid, so if the bone is ossified, the meat will be tougher. Cattle on good diets with selective genetics means less ossification.
  • Rib Fat Thickness – The subcutaneous fat around the muscle. A higher level of rib fat will ensure better, more even temperature across the beef when chilling. This results in better looking and tasting beef.
  • Meat Color – A rich red color is the ideal for quality beef. Minimizing cattle stress plays a significant role in ensuring this color.
  • Fat Color – We’ve been conditioned by grain-fed beef to expect fat to be pearl white in color, instead of the yellow tinge that can happen with grass-fed beef. Reserve beef is graded for white fat through cattle breed and nutrition.
  • Eye Muscle Size – It is believed there is a direct correlation between eye muscle size and overall yield and value, which is improved upon through sire selection and careful selective breeding.

The Cuts

Below is a list of Silver Fern’s of New Zealand beef cuts, available in Angus. If you’d like to check our availability on any product, please contact us. If you’d like to learn more about our natural meats, visit our Meat Products page. See something you like? Place an order with us.

Not sure what you’d like? Visit our quiz center and take our Silver Fern Farms beef quiz: What Cut of Beef Do I Need?

Teres MajorWith a leanness and quality similar to Filet Mignon, the Teres Major is a superb choice for the menu. A supremely tender texture which accompanies the naturally delicious flavor. A highly flexible cut suited to many cooking options with easy portion control.
Short Rib (Bone-In & Boneless available)Coming from the belly of premium New Zealand grass-fed beef, these Short Ribs are deliciously meaty and indulgent. Long, slow-cooking further intensifies the rich, robust flavors and melt-in-the-mouth texture.
StriploinLeaner and healthier while still supremely juicy and tender. The pronounced marbling of this standard cut Striploin promises to deliver succulent and flavorsome steaks every time.
TenderloinWith distinct marbling, this supremely tender and succulent cut delivers spectacular, bold beef flavor with a clean finish. Side muscle still attached.
Skirt (Outside)A full-flavored beef cut with stunningly bold taste best brought out by chargrilling or flash cooking.
Hanger (Thick Skirt)A superb cut for braising and long, slow-cooking techniques. The high level of connective tissue that occurs naturally in the Thick Skirt guarantees to deliver indulgently sticky and delicious braising juices, and the loose texture falls to bits in the mouth.
RibeyeFull of flavor with a supremely tender texture and superior, pronounced marbling. Lip-muscle expertly trimmed for added convenience and optimal plate presentation. With the versatility to be cut into thick, juicy Scotch Fillet steaks or roasted whole, this Rib eye Roll from New Zealand is second to none.
Cheek MeatThe coveted braising cut, this cheek meat has excellent marbling and striation, ensuring the best absorption of flavor.
Flap MeatA robust, beefy cut full of flavor, flap meat takes to marinades and fast cooking methods like grilling or searing like no other cut.


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