Located on the border of Minnesota and Iowa, this seven year old business owned by Kristine and Ryan Jepsen raises grass-fed, pasture-raised beef. They work with dozens of family-run farms in the Upper Midwest, who raise beef through sustainable and humane farming practices , without the use of antibiotics or hormones.
What is grass-fed? At it’s core, it means that beef cattle have eaten a forage-based diet. During the winter, cows eat dry hay, haylage (hay that is cut and put up or stored before it is dried), molasses (provide sugar and energy), raw vinegar (improves cattle digestion), Salt, vitamins & minerals. It's much, much more complex than simply turning animals onto a grassy patch for the summer. Grass fed beef production is a year-round effort to meet the nutritional needs of cattle while utilizing grazing systems and infrastructure to improve the health and productivity of the pastures, farm systems, and socio-environmental impact.
Grass Run Farms works with more than 30 producers from Midwest states. To ensure that their producers can make a living following their high ethical standards, they pay a premium above commodity beef prices to reward them for the extra care and attention they pay to the interconnected systems on their farm -- soil structure, pasture quality, water cycles, fossil fuel usage, renewable energy, etc....
The processing starts at a family-owned packing plant in Omaha that handles only a few hundred animals a day, all hand-cut. They then work with Unger Meat Company in St. Paul to further process the meat and get it ready for distribution. This processing system helps the company cut down on their “food miles”.
Transparency is paramount to their business. They see their beef from pasture to the meat department, and help producers figure out what's most profitable for their individual farm. This helps ensure that grass fed beef contines to grow and flourish as an industry. They also host educational events throughout the year with local sustainable agricultural organizations. For those who aren’t able to travel to Iowa, they frequently appear at Twin Cities co-ops to do product demos and samplings.