From those of us with relatives in the cattle business, thank you, America, for buying Irish beef.
It's been a long time, going back to the mad cow days when the food safety regulators in Washington decreed that Irish beef was not safe. We've come a long way, apparently. Now our beef is not only safe, but it's preferable to the farmed slabs of bovine flesh that pass for meat in the average McDonald's franchise.
Cows in Ireland eat grass, and that grass is always green. Green means organic or sustainable to many consumers, so when you hear about Irish beef you'll hear the word 'green' constantly. There are no massive feed lots in Ireland. There's no room for them, to begin with, and then there's the cost of corn to feed the cattle. The grass is always there, growing merrily in Limerick, Mayo and Clare. How much more sustainable could you get than that?
Apparently, grass-fed beef is all the rage in some American circles, and Irish beef fits the requirement. Now that it's also certified free of mad cow disease, it will be in high demand by those who must have organic, sustainable food that hasn't been exposed to hormones. The Irish don't pump up their cows with hormones. It costs too much.
Bord Bia is putting together a marketing campaign to heavily promote Irish beef in all its sustainable, grass-fed deliciousness. They'll be dancing in the streets in Kilmallock once the notion catches on about Irish beef being 'green' and safe to eat.
So look for it in your nearest butcher's display case, genuine Emerald Green Irish beef. Sure it costs more. But you're willing to pay extra for the security of knowing that your dinner was grown in the same way that beef has been raised for countless generations in Ireland's cattle country. The Irish certainly can't afford that kind of luxury.
Times are still quite hard, but we're expecting a boom once the cattle industry makes inroads into American markets. And about time, too.