Harvesting the Beef
Hi Everyone -
Have you ever wondered how your beef gets from farm to table?
Here's how we do it...
After our cows have been with us 2-3 years feasting on nutrient dense native grasses, it is time for the harvest. First we call them from the pastures into the corrals. We literally call them with the same tones we use to bring them to fresh grass a few times per week, so they usually come into the corrals curiously and calmly.
Being able to treat the animals gently is an important part of our humane practices, which take the front seat in all our harvesting procedures.
We then walk through the herd with our friend and livestock consultant, Mark Blakeman, who also happens to be our brand inspector. That's Zachary on the left, Phil in the middle, and Mark on the right, with two more Zeiter boys (Jo-Jo 12 and Mikee 11) on the rails, helping a little and learning a lot. Here we are walking among the cows to get a good close look at them, inspecting their features for size and quality with a high fat percentage for good marbling. All the high-tech machinery in the world could not substitute for this vital hands-on, quality control review.
After choosing the best two cows, we sort them into a pen and load them into a livestock trailer to be delivered to a first-class hotel corral where they spend their last night near the mountains of Sparks, Nevada.
These are the exterior facilities of the University Nevada Reno - where our USDA certified livestock handlers receive our cows, keeping them in natural surroundings until the final moment. At first morning light, each cow is walked up the ramp on the left, through the door into a one-cow holding box where it is quickly and painlessly dispatched.
From the orange box in the back corner, the dispatched animal is dressed out and cleaned off for setting out in a controlled, refrigerated room to dry-age for two weeks in order to tenderize the meat while enriching the flavor (a process long since abandoned by grocery-store beef).
Each side of beef is then moved to the butchering tables where experienced professionals train college students in the art of carefully cutting and packing each type of steak, roast and ground product. Notice how clean everything is - even the floor. Also worth noting is the heavy clothing on everyone in the photo...the room temperature is purposefully kept like a refrigerator to minimize bacteria and eliminate flies. We finally found one area where the USDA is worthwhile and helpful - we'll let you know if we ever find another :)
We then pick up all these boxes of meat and bring them back in our air-conditioned delivery van to our packaging shed. We organize all the different cuts of meat into our freezers so that we can efficiently put together all of your orders for you.
We eat the same meat that you eat, and we love the superior tenderness and flavor of our all-natural, grass-fed, grass-finished, dry-aged beef. There's just nothing better to us than a good ol' fashioned family barbecue dinner - hey, pass the potatoes will ya? :)
So there you go - that's how we do it...
From our Family Farm to your Family Table!