Kol Foods – Grass-Fed, Organic, Kosher Beef
Devora Kimelman-Block is the founder of KOL Foods. Her business is rooted in her desire to supply her friends and community with local, organic fruits and vegetables. For 15 years, prior to the birth of Kol Foods, Devora had a kosher vegetarian kitchen. During this time, she founded a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group distributing local, organic fruits and vegetables. It became so popular that she decided to expand into organic meat.
Initially she was going to do it for her community only (Baltimore), by creating a kosher buying club. But, demand was so large that she expanded to Philadelphia, then New Jersey, and now sells the product nationally throughout the U.S. In addition, she sells the kosher meat at a local Farmers market in the Washington – Baltimore area.
According to Devora, "small business" organic meat farming is a difficult and complicated field. It is challenging to produce non–industrial kosher meat, since 95% or more of all meat (kosher or not) produced in the U.S. is run by large corporations. "Our animals are a part of eco-systems, not industrial systems. Our Gold Standard: Animals are raised on pasture, enjoying their natural diets, at sustainable family farms where care for the environment, health and community are paramount."
For kosher beef and lamb, it is even more challenging, due to the added necessity of kosher shechting and the required additional internal inspection to be certain that the meat is glatt kosher. Then there is also the need to develop non–kosher buyers for the “waste” that does not meet glatt standards. Devorah indicated that 75% of all grass fed beef cattle is considered non–kosher.
To find organic cattle farmers with grass–fed animals, she visits ranches;searching for those that follow humane specifications. Her ranchers, in turn select the best animals for her, ones that they know will pass for kosher. The selected cattle go to the slaughter house direct from cattle ranch. She also sources lamb; mostly from the Alleghenies. The business has expanded from a part time community “hobby” to a full time job!
We had the opportunity to sample a Kol Foods rib steak and chuck roast, and found the taste and consistency similar to that of grain fed beef, perhaps just a bit less tender. Devora suggests tenderizing the meat with a tenderizer tool before cooking. However, it was delicious and it certainly made us happy to know that the meat came from animals that grazed freely, were treated well, and were never administered anti–biotics, chemicals or hormones.
Some additional “Grazing” on Grass Fed:
For recipes, health benefits, beef cooking tips, additional information or to order, please visit KolFoods.com.