Flavio Franco Farm is one of the first Italian farms to practice pure grass fed – exclusively grass fed and organic – of beef cattle. It was born in the 2000s in the Ligurian-Piedmontese Apennines, in the heart of the Alta Val Borbera Natural Park, and has been certified organic since 2001 by ICEA. The Limousine was preferred for its characteristics of rustic, strong breed, excellent nurses, producing enough milk to wean the calves, which are given birth and followed with great care on the pasture. These characteristics make it a breed particularly suited to the Ligurian-Piedmontese Apennine environment.
The cattle is raised in the semi-wild state on an area of over 300 hectares and the barn is mainly used as a winter shelter where the herd is supplemented with forage – organic hay obtained from the mowing of mountain meadows – when the weather gets too much rigid and grazing alone can no longer guarantee a complete and balanced diet, adequate to the needs of the cattle.
The meat of the animals raised in this way, with grass, strictly without feed or cereals, is defined grass fed on the US market where rigorous production standards are respected, indicating that the animals must always have access to pasture throughout their life, even if the their diet can be integrated with grass from other cultivated fields.
Grass fed meat has a different nutritional profile than grain fed meat. It is a leaner meat on average than those fed on cereals. In addition, it contains a greater amount of antioxidants, omega 3, some vitamins, and a particular type of fatty acid, CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, also used as a food supplement. It is therefore more interesting, from a nutritional point of view.
The slaughter takes place around 24 months of age. To minimize the stress due to transport, a slaughterhouse in the province of Pavia was chosen, which is only 45 minutes away from the barn. The slaughterhouse itself also offers a guarantee of a cruelty free slaughter, something on which the company places particular emphasis. Once the head has been slaughtered, the maturation of the meat takes 20 days. Slicing, packaging and delivery take place directly from the slaughterhouse to the customer on the same day.