Discover the Silver Fern Farms Eating Quality (EQ) Grading System: Ensuring the Best in Every Bite

When it comes to choosing red meat, knowing it’s high-quality and delicious is key. That’s where grading systems come in. Around the world, these systems help guarantee the quality, taste, and safety of meat before it hits your plate.

In the U.S., the USDA grades beef based on factors like taste, tenderness, and juiciness assigning grades USDA Prime, USDA Choice and USDA Select. But did you know this grading system mainly applies to conventional grain-fed beef? Grass-fed beef is usually not graded the same way. Because grass-fed beef is leaner and does not have the same amount of marbling as conventional beef, the majority of grass-fed beef cuts in the US are not graded or given a USDA grade shield.

At Silver Fern Farms, we’ve developed our own unique grading process called the Eating Quality (EQ) System scientifically designed to grade grass-fed beef. This system is all about making sure you get the best possible eating experience every time. Here’s how it works:

Grilling red meat steaks from Silver Fern Farms

How We Grade for Greatness

Our EQ grading starts with our Master Graders, who are specially trained to assess each piece of beef using a scientific approach. They look at six key factors that affect how good the meat tastes:

• pH Level: Measures the acidity in the meat, which affects its color, texture, and how long it stays fresh.
• Marbling: The amount and pattern of fat within the meat, which makes it tender and juicy.
• Ossification: How mature the meat is. A good level of ossification in beef typically means the meat is tender and enjoyable to eat.
• Rib Fat: The fat just under the skin, which helps keep the meat temperature consistent during chilling.
• Meat Color: A bright red color is what you expect in top-quality meat.
• Fat Color: A richer hue indicates a higher level of beta carotene (found in grass) contributing to nutritional value, flavor and appearance.

Our graders undergo extensive training to master the EQ grading process, and their work is essential to ensuring you get the best quality beef. They take meticulous care, using specialized tools and techniques to ensure consistency and accuracy. This rigorous process guarantees that the beef you enjoy is as tender, flavorful, and satisfying as possible.

When you choose Silver Fern Farms, you’re getting beef that’s been carefully selected and aged for at least 21 days to enhance its flavor and tenderness. Our grading system, developed with experts from the University of Otago in New Zealand and Texas Tech University in the U.S., is backed by extensive research. We’ve tested thousands of beef samples with taste testers to ensure our system delivers the best quality.

Medium rare beef steaks served on board

We also work closely with our farmers, sharing grading results and tips to continually improve the quality of our beef. This collaboration helps us ensure that every cut you get from Silver Fern Farms meets the highest standards.

Ready to taste the difference? Explore our range of premium grass-fed beef and enjoy a superior dining experience.

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Happy Eating!

The Silver Fern Farms Team