A taste of home
Food fads come and go, but quality New Zealand beef and lamb is proving to be a quiet hero – it’s naturally free range, and a winner from your pocket to the pan
Tucking into fresh beef and lamb is an integral part of Kiwi lives, from a juicy chop off the barbecue to the comforting warmth of a Sunday roast. it showcases new Zealand’s natural resources, and is a tribute to the people (from farmers to butchers) who work hard to bring us top-quality meat.
Choosing free-range foods has become more popular with conscious consumers, who want to know animals are well treated and free from any chemical additives – it’s ethically reassuring, and the meat tastes better too. But that quality can come at a cost. You’ll pay a premium for most protein options that form the basis of a meal. But quality beef and lamb are naturally free range, so you get the taste without extra expense.
that’s not the only plus consumers enjoy. Beef + Lamb new Zealand nutrition manager Fiona Greig explains, “Lean new Zealand beef and lamb can be described as nature’s power pack – it’s an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 and also provides selenium and vitamin d, to name a few. We’re lucky in new Zealand because our beef and lamb here is raised on grass. Grass-fed beef and lamb have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids than imported meat from grain-fed animals.”
Beef and lamb also have a smaller environmental hoofprint. “the animals are raised on often-hilly pasture that’s only suitable for beef and lamb, not crops or vegetables,” adds Fiona. “new Zealand farmers have done a lot of work on ensuring we’re providing the most sustainable, efficient practices possible.”
While culinary options have widened since our grandparents’ days of meat-and-three-veg, we could still learn a thing or two from them about getting the best value out of beef and lamb. You don’t always need to buy the most expensive cuts of meat – though there’s nothing quite like a tender rib-eye, sirloin steak or rack of lamb.
Beef chuck, beef skirt or lamb shoulder, are less tender because they come from a more muscular part of the animal. this means they’re much cheaper, but can still be turned into a melt-in-the-mouth, nourishing meal. All it takes is a slow cooker and a willingness to try something new.
new Zealand farmers are also open to change, using modern farming techniques and the latest science to improve their knowledge of livestock and minimise their impact on the environment. they still depend on the same natural resources of soil, sunshine and rain their forefathers did, and all aspire to pass on their farms to the next generation in a better state than they received them.