“Feel Good About the Meat you Eat”
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.
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. Kol Foods follows a Gold Standard seeking animals raised on pasture, enjoying their natural diets, at sustainable family farms where care for the environment, health and community are paramount. This standard provides environmental and animal welfare benefits. It is also very important to note that if beef or lamb is not 100% grass–fed then it spends the last of its life in confinement which is bad for its health, taste and nutritional value. And poultry that isn't pasture–raised, spends its whole life in confinement. This is true for even organic certified meat. There is a lot of lack of transparency around as to where meat comes from.”
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. Devora indicated that 75% of all grass fed beef cattle is considered non-kosher.
To find organic cattle farmers with grass–fed animals, Devora 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 slaughterhouse direct from cattle ranch. The business has expanded from a part time community “hobby” to a full time job!
When we sampled Kol Foods beef, primarily the rib steak and chuck roast, we found the taste, flavor and consistency similar to that of grain fed beef. However the recommended preparation is slightly different, to insure tenderness. Some chefs suggest tenderizing the meat with a tenderizer tool before cooking. However, even though we did not use a tool, we found the meat (and chicken) delicious, and it certainly made us happy to know that the products came from animals that grazed freely and were treated well, and were never administered anti–biotics, chemicals or hormones.
To learn more about Kol Foods, to order from them, or for information on how to join or create a Kol Foods buying club, visit KolFoods.
Kol Foods products are environmentally safer, more humane and healthful. Read more about these benefits:
Top Ten reasons why 100% grass-fed and finished beef is healthier than anything less (according to a 2009 study conducted by the USDA and Clemson University).
A USDA study found that raising cows solely on grass, instead of in factory farms or corn finishing, produced fewer pollutants and other emissions.
At KOL Foods the humane treatment of animals and farm workers is paramount. We use family farms where the animals live outside on pasture; only eat grass (it's unnatural to feed cattle and sheep grain); can live a full and happy life; and are treated with the respect due to a living being.