Veal cattle come from many different breeds, and the biggest difference between all these breeds is whether they are primarily used for meat (beef cattle) or milking (dairy cattle). What breeds are traditionally used in the production of veal, and what breeds do we use here at Rossotti Ranch? Let’s take a look at why we believe the beef cattle breeds we use for our pasture raised veal produce a more delicious product than the breeds used for conventional veal.
Beef Cattle Breeds: What’s in a Name?
Let’s start with beef cattle, and the names of breeds you might already be familiar with. Black Angus? Yes, Angus is one of the most popular beef breeds in the US! But how about Gelbvieh, a reddish-yellow breed originally from Bavaria? Or perhaps you’ve heard of Hereford, hailing from England and sporting distinctive red and white markings? We actually use a mix of all three of these different cattle breeds for our pasture raised veal. These specific cattle breeds have been bred over the centuries to produce superior flavor– with varying mixes of marbling and muscle, we’ve discovered that these beef breeds produce a veal that is unparalleled in flavor.
But What about Dairy Cattle?
Dairy cattle breeds you might have heard of include Holsteins, Jersey, and Guernsey, among others. While the meat from some of these breeds might be tasty to eat, these breeds have been specifically developed for their milk production — which means that if there was a choice between better tasting milk or milk quantity over the flavor of finished beef, the original breeders chose the traits that favored the milk over the meat. There’s nothing wrong with using dairy cows for veal production per se, but we’ve found that dairy cattle just don’t produce the rich, rosy flavor we are looking for in our pasture raised veal.
Conventional Veal Built on Convenience
So why does conventional veal use dairy breeds in the first place, if beef breeds produce a better flavor? Well, this is the crux of the whole industry. Conventional veal uses these dairy breeds because they are actually a leftover product of the dairy industry. In order to keep producing milk, dairy cattle need to keep reproducing about once a year or so, in order to maintain their milk supply. Those cattle either turn into more dairy cattle, if they’ve been born female. If they are born male, however– well, many are then immediately turned over to conventional veal producers, who raise them away from their mothers on a strict diet of formula, and are kept in tight cages so they don’t develop their natural muscles. These veal cattle are a leftover product from the dairy industry, and are conveniently dealt with by being quickly turned into a veal product. This is not the type of cattle raising we practice at Rossotti Ranch.
Beef Breeds = Flavor
We truly believe the the cattle breeds that have been bred for meat production have a superior flavor, texture, and nutritional profile. That’s why we raise them. But we also believe that the superior flavor comes from the way we raise our cattle. Our calves are never separated from the mothers who birthed them, right up until the day of harvest. They spend the entirety of their lives alongside their mothers, out in the coastal pastures at Point Reyes. They eat only their own mothers’ milk, and sustainable grasses when they are old enough and naturally choose to eat them. By selecting Angus, Hereford, and Gelbvieh breeds, we have chosen cattle breeds that produce an exceptionally flavored meat. By allowing them to live as nature intended, far from artificial formulas or confining crates, we are allowing them to develop natural muscles and fat that taste absolutely delicious once they become veal.
Our breed selection, our sustainable ranching practices, and our combined nine generations of tradition and experience all come together to produce the healthiest, most delicious, and most humanely raised veal available on the market. Now that we can ship to anywhere in the United States, it’s easy to try some for yourself and see what nature truly intended veal to taste like. Visit our online shop, Grotto Rossotti, to pick the package right for you, or visit our FAQs to learn even more about what we do at Rossotti Ranch!