This seems to be the holy grail of beef in the United States, the “closest to natural” that current marketing teams can come up with labeling a cut of meat. The ironic thing is, this is how all the beef in the Azores is.
The cows wonder along through different fields, on the sides of cliffs and mountains, and down by the oceans edge. They eat the grass that grows and look out at the ocean, thinking the typical thoughts of a cow.
The cows are not given hormones to grow faster or produce more, and they are not given medications to keep illness away (because they are not cramped in filthy environments). These cows simply roam around and live as a cow would. Eating when they are hungry, and walking along the road with the rest of their herd.
The end result is milk that tastes a bit like grass, and beef that is a bit tough, but with a very rich and delicious flavor. These are the truest of “happy cows” living as they like, outside with all the space to roam. They are kept in small fields that seldom have gates on them, which is why you will often see the cows in the middle of the roadways. The cows don’t really seem to wonder off, as they stay together as a herd, and move as a group. The farmer is usually keeping an eye out for where the cows are off to, and if they get away from him, someone in the small town will surely be able to point him in the right direction.
Next time you see Organic Free Range Grass Fed Beef marked up a rediculously amount, ask yourself why is this so expensive when all they need to do is let the cows be cows?