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Where's the Beef?

[caption id="attachment_5632" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Farmer Shane Hughes with some of his cattle at Liberty Delight Farms."]Farmer and cattle[/caption] Or, perhaps a more appropriate question is, where's the beef from? It's so important to know where your food comes from, and what's in it. Across the United States, SAGE works with farmers to bring locally raised beef, chicken and produce to the schools we serve. One such partner is Liberty Delight Farms, a family-owned and operated business in Reisterstown, MD. Their Simmental and Angus cattle are primarily grass-fed and free of hormones, antibiotics and steroids. And the farmers use sustainable farming practices, such as rotational grazing. During the warmer months, the cattle graze on 65 acres of open pasture, and they enjoy a diet of hay, ground corn, oats, minerals and dry molasses during the winter. The beef is dry aged for up to 21 days to improve the flavor. All the care that Shane Hughes and his team give to the cattle contributes to a tastier and healthier beef product. SAGE buys a whole steer at a time, and uses the different parts of the animal in meals served at schools such as Garrison Forest School and the College of Notre Dame. This approach is more economical and minimizes waste. Eye round beef is house-roasted for sandwiches. Top and bottom rounds are used for entree roasts and cubed for soup. Rib eye and sirloin roasts are served to students and staff on special occasions. Ground beef is used in soups, meatloaf, taco meat and Salisbury steak. In addition, SAGE chefs roast the bones from the steer to make rich beef stock for use in soups and sauces. SAGE and its client schools work together to create an environment that helps students learn and enjoy a healthier life. By working with local farmers like Liberty Delight Farms, not only are we nourishing the students with better food, we are also teaching them the benefits of supporting local farmers. We want them to continue to ask, "Where did my food come from, and what's in my food?" Sean Arnold is SAGE's Food Service Director at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, MD.

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