Hawai'i Beef Fed and Finished on Grass
The Big Island produces the lion's share of Hawai'i's beef. The statewide cattle industry is basically divided into two operations: the cow-calf setup where the calf is produced to be exported out-of-state for finishing and second, the local slaughter operation, where cattle is raised entirely in Hawai'i for commercial slaughter. While some ranches do one or the other, numerous do both simultaneously.
According to USDA Hawaii Field Office stats for 2012, 24 percent of the state's cattle marketings (sum of exports and local slaughter) were for local consumption. A total of 11,600 head were locally marketed for the year.
Where's the Beef?
Big Isle ranches producing grass-fed beef, which by definition means the animal is raised to market totally on forage, sell their product to restaurants and retailers. A handful of ranchers sell direct to consumers or at farmers market.
Grass-fed beef is marketed under various brands at grocery stores: Mountain Apple, Hawaii Island Grass-Fed Beef, Island Fresh, etc. Don't hesitate to ask your butcher or grocer to identify it for you when shopping.
What's Red Veal?
Red veal is produced from calves up to six months old and weighing about 450-600 pounds. These animals are weaned off the mother cow and allowed to roam freely on pastureland to feed. No hormones or antibiotics are used while the animal grows to market size. The meat is pinkish-red in color with a mild beef flavor.
Hawaiian Red Veal, the state's inaugural veal brand, was initiated in 2009 and adheres to the above standards in producing red veal. The product is produced seasonally, as calving is naturally in the spring and fall. It's marketed under the Hawaii Ranchers brand. For info, contact http://hawaiiranchers.com/hawaii-ranchers-veal/.
The following ranches are producing cattle for grass-feed beef consumption. Their fresh, island beef is feeding our island.
Ernest DeLuz Ranch-Hamakua
Ernest Pung Ranch-Hamakua
Kealia Ranch-South Kona
Kukuipahu Ranch, North Kohala
Palani Ranch-North Kona
Triple D Ranch-Hamakua