South of Disney World is “cattle country” in Florida and more and more cattlemen are turning to “Cracker cattle” – the wild ancestors of cattle brought to Florida by the Spanish for local consumption.
After the Civil War bigger breeds (even Brahman) were brought into the state since Cracker cows are small (under 1,000 pounds) and a little wild. By the 1950’s Floridians raised Angus and other breeds for shipment to the Great Plains to be fattened.
But in recent years, as the acreage for farming has declined across Florida, the pioneer cows on on the rise. They are low in fat and tasty, with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids from eating Florida grass, not formulated corn and grains.
So next time you drive across Central Florida and see a herd of mangy little cows, don’t laugh – they may be on your dinner plate later that day.