Panorama Organic is pleased to announce that soon, all of the company’s steaks and other cuts will carry the USDA Choice quality shield on their labels. This is a first for any organic, 100% grass-fed beef brand in the country, and is a result of the company’s ongoing commitment to creating beef that delivers an exceptional eating experience.
What differentiates USDA Choice beef from non-graded beef?
Since 1927, USDA’s quality grading system has been a voluntary inspection program that assigns beef carcasses one of several ratings to indicate how palatable the meat will be. The primary consideration is the amount of marbling—the amount of fat distributed throughout the muscle—but trained USDA inspectors are also looking for color, firmness, and tenderness.
While the USDA recognizes eight quality grades, the three most commonly found in supermarkets and restaurants are Prime, Choice, and Select.
- Prime beef has abundant marbling. It’s the priciest grade and is generally on the menu in fine-dining restaurants and steak houses.
- Choice beef has slightly less marbling than Prime, but is tender, juicy, and exceptionally flavorful.
- Select beef is slightly leaner and may not have the robust, beefy flavor of Prime and Choice. It’s usually the lower-priced option in most grocery stores.
Grades below Select are usually used for making into ground beef or ultra-processed beef products like canned soup, frozen products, or pet food.
Sometimes beef doesn’t carry a quality grade at all. This could be because the carcass graded lower than Select, or because the supplier doesn’t participate in the program, which is true of much of the grass-fed and organic beef on the market. For small producers, the investment in grade inspections may not make economic sense, especially if the carcass quality isn’t consistent or high enough to merit the cost.
At Panorama Organic, we strive to deliver the best-tasting, highest-quality beef to your plate. It starts with genetics and maternal health in the herd, and then depends on finishing, or how the animals are fed after they’re weaned. Our ranchers make sure plenty of high-quality organic, non-GMO grass and forage is available for animals to graze until they’re ready for harvest. Our animals never receive antibiotics or hormones and are never confined to a feedlot. In addition, our ranchers each follow a management plan that builds not only healthy soil and pastures, but also creates and restores habitat for birds, bees, and wildlife.
But isn’t grass-fed beef supposed to be lean?
One of the complaints about grass-fed is that it’s so lean, it can be chewy and hard to cook. Yet, the fat in grass-fed meat is full of Omega-3s and other nutrients, making it one of nature’s healthy fats. By increasing the amount of marbling in Panorama Organic’s beef, we give you the advantage of meat that’s tender and flavorful, along with a bigger dose of healthy fat. It’s the best of both worlds.
We’re proud to have achieved this milestone, and we hope you enjoy every morsel of our organic, grass-fed, Choice beef.