Waste Not, Want Not

The often-discarded beef tallow is beneficial in many ways

We often use the phrase “using every part of the buffalo” in a tongue-in-cheek way, but Mary Haer at Green Grass Cattle Company is taking it literally. She runs Green Grass Cattle Company in Weston with her husband, Gary Haer, and her children. They launched their cattle business in 2018 and as they’ve grown their farm and figured out what customers are looking for in their beef, they’ve learned a lot about the cows they raise.

As Green Grass has continued to tailor their beef cuts to their clientele, Mary has learned so much about beef byproducts and how they’re used in many different industries. Many beef byproducts are sold off to different industries, such as their leather hides and organs, but Mary started to get especially interested in one byproduct that they hadn’t been using: tallow.

“We try to do this with the public, to educate people about the cattle industry,” says Mary. “And people don't really understand and believe how many byproducts come out of a cow. It's an amazing thing.”

Tallow is known by many different names and is fat from a cow. It is also known as lard or suet, but the tallow used in beauty products specifically comes from the fat around a cow’s kidney. 

Tallow as a beauty product has seen a resurgence in the past year as people look for more natural forms of beauty products without harmful chemicals. Mary started asking around to see if they could sell tallow in their store and talked to Joe Bichelmeyer, who runs Bichelmeyer Meats in Kansas City, Kansas. Joe is an old family friend of the Haers who also processes their beef and told Mary that because Green Grass cows were fed such a healthy diet, they’d produce great tallow.

“His comment to me was, ‘The way that you pasture your animals and feed your animals, your kidney fat will be pure white. It would be perfect for this product,’” says Mary.

The diet the Green Grass cows are fed is one of the main staples of their farm, which contributes to the quality of their meat — and now, the tallow.

“One of the reasons why we’re named the Green Grass Cattle Company is because we’re not a feedlot," says Mary. "And we believe that it's very important for animals to live in a habitat that is natural to them.”

Tallow can be used as a moisturizer and Green Grass sells it in two forms — as a balm and also as a whipped cream. It can be used as a skin moisturizer and lip balm, and can also help with diaper rashes or eczema patches. It is naturally full of vitamins and collagen. It can also be used in soaps and candles. 

Not only is tallow good for your skin, but it, of course, can be eaten, too. While many people are removing seed oils from their diets, tallow makes a great alternative. It has a similar consistency to coconut oil and can be kept refrigerated, where it will last 12 months, or at room temperature, where it has a 6-month shelf life. It is filled with vitamins A, D, E, K and B12, and also contains linoleic acid, which is helpful for gut bacteria. 

“The documentation will state the health benefits, and how much healthier it is to use the tallow over seed oils,” says Mary. “You know, we like to do things ourselves to find it out. And that's when we started having the processors save that kidney fat, and started going through each step of the process ourselves, to see the product and how it was going to end up. And we were amazed.”

Mary started experimenting with the first batches of tallow herself and the family tried it on all sorts of things, like rough, chapped hands, skin rashes and even her grandson’s eczema patches. And while she was making the tallow — melting it, straining it, and whipping it up — she had a moment of gratefulness for her cows. 

“After I started whipping that up, it was like coming full circle with these animals,” says Mary. “It was like, yes, now, it's not just food, it is something that is very beneficial to a human being. But the fact that we can raise these animals the best way that we could possibly raise them, and they will continue to benefit us — that was really meaningful to me. It's like, wow, it's not just meat.”

Mary has been in awe of all that their cows provide. 

“These cattle continue to give back,” she says.

You can find tallow in a whipped and balm form and for use on skin and in cooking at Green Grass Cattle Company in Weston. 

Green Grass Cattle Company

17985 MO-45, Weston, MO

(816) 640-4009

“These cattle continue to give back,” she says.

"People don't really understand and believe how many byproducts come out of a cow. It's an amazing thing.”

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