Our Wagyu cattle come from Japan with bloodlines from Michifucu, Fukutsuru-068, Mt.Fuji, Mazda, Takazakra, and Suzutani. For those interested in top quality lineage, these are among the best from Japan. This is an exceptionally interesting link which offers terrific information on the history of the Wagyu breed with roots here in Ellensburg and Washington State University. Our Black Angus cattle are of Scottish decent, having been imported to the US in 1873, and are known for their excellent marbling and uniformity of fat throughout, which creates great taste for the consumer.
How We Raise Our Cattle
We are committed to the humane treatment of our cattle, holding ourselves to the highest standards of animal husbandry. Our animals consume ONLY high quality Orchardgrass and Alfalfa; no corn, no grain, no soy, no pellets, no animal products, no chicken manure as feed (yes, this is done). They eat nothing but grass from birth to finish, making these true, pasture raised cattle. During the winter when snow precludes access to our pastures we feed our baled hay, which for the most part was grown on our ranch that summer. Something that makes us VERY unique in the industry is our Fodder-- lush, nutrient dense organic barley sprouts that we feed to our cattle, pigs and layer chickens in the winter when fresh grass is not available. In doing so, we maintain a high level of nutrition for our animals, even when our grasses are not growing. This gives us the option to process meat in winter and still have an outstanding product. Consistent with all offerings, our animals are never given antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, stimulants or ionophores, and our fields do not receive herbicides or pesticides, bringing you a healthier product from a sustainable ranching operation. Our ranch has received the very difficult to attain WSDA Organic Certification on its pastures, which means the animals subsequently born on the ranch will be WSDA Certified Organic as well.
Dry-Aged for Best Results
Why Dry-Aged versus Wet-Aged? You need to add 43% water weight to meats to Wet-Age the way all grocery stores do! All of our meats are sold by the live weight; the actual meat you receive will be less due to cutting away of the bone and fat. However, because we dry-age, you won't be paying extra for "water" weight.
Why Choose Our Grassfed Beef?
In addition to the many reasons we could cite from the humane treatment of animals to sustainable ranching practices, we believe grassfed beef is just plain healthier. Here are a few statistics for you to chew on.
Grassfed beef has 500% more Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) than grained beef. CLA is an essential fatty acid that, in animal studies, has shown to be:
- Anti-carcinogenic: Studies have shown it not only reduces the likelihood of cancer, but it actually suppresses the growth of cancer cells.
- Anti-atherosclerosis (heart disease)
- Increases immunity to disease
- Increases bone density
Compared to grainfed beef, grassfed beef has:
- 400% more Vitamin A
- 300% more Vitamin E
- 78% more Beta-carotene
- 75% more Omega-3
You don't have to worry about Mad Cow Disease. We will never have this issue in our herd. Why? Because our grassfed, pastured cattle are never fed animal parts, which is the cause of Mad Cow Disease.
We don't use Meat Glue, a.k.a. Pink Slime. Most people are not aware of this bizaar food additive, though it received a lot of press via ABC a few years ago. ABC was sued for it’s disclosure and prevailed in court for its reporting. Finely Textured Beef / Meat Glue / Pink Slime is in most of the fast food you consume.
Dairy cows are for milk; our meat cows are for meat. It's been reported that 20% of the beef in grocery stores comes from retired old dairy cows. Our beeves (beef cattle) are bred, born and raised as meat animals to bring you the very best flavor.
Ordering in Bulk
How much should I order? The average American consumes 271 pounds of meat per year. On a net weight basis a typical family of two will consume an equivalent of a whole beef. Ordering in bulk for the first time can be intimidating, since most of us are used to purchasing meat as needed. While the initial cost seems high, it is a very economical choice for families who want high quality meat but at a much better value than what can be purchased at supermarkets and health food stores. If you need convincing on this, check out this bulk meat comparison. Once you've decided to take the plunge, here's what we offer:
Whole Beef Package
Large family? A whole grassfed beef is not only the best value, it provides you with the most versatility for your menu planning. A whole beef typically weighs 550 pounds hanging weight and takes about 13-14 cubic feet of freezer space. (Custom cutting available.)
Half Beef Package
The half beef package is a great for sharing with friends or family members to get the most for your money. A half beef package typically weighs 275 pounds hanging weight and requires 6-7 cubic feet of freezer space. (Custom cutting available.)
Quarter Beef Package aka Split Half
A quarter beef package (Split Half) will keep a family of two eating beef for most of the year. The average weight is 137 pounds hanging weight. Typically requiring about 3.5 cubic feet of freezer space, it's about the size of two standard cardboard apple boxes. (Standard cut only; no custom cutting.)
Just want to tip-toe in and see what the grassfed experience is all about, then this is for you. The average hanging weight is around 69 pounds and takes up 1.75 cubic feet of freezer space; this will easily fit in any standard fridge/freezer and is approximatly the size of a cardboard apple box (19.5″ x 12″ x 12″). (Standard cut only; no custom cutting.)
All of our meats are sold by the live weight where you will receive approximately 58% of it as hanging weight. We are able to provide you with the average weight of a beef for estimating purposes, but each animal is different, so your meat may be a little bigger or a little smaller, and your final price will reflect this. Calculated into the purchase price is the butchering fee, which you will pay directly to the butcher. Once your meat is ready, it can be picked up at the ranch or our affiliated office in Bellevue. We make it super easy to get clean, quality meats free of hormones, stimulants, antibiotics and ionophores.
Know Your Weight: Live Weight vs. Hanging Weight vs. Boxed Weight
Before making your first bulk order, it's important to understand the different weight measures and how they affect the overall cost of your order. First time buyers who don't already understand the weight measures often find themselves surprised that the weight of the meat they bring home (boxed weight) is different than the weight of the animal before butchering (live weight) and during dry-aging (hanging weight). We recommend you familiarize yourself with the following info and be sure to ask any questions you have before purchasing to avoid any confusion. Here is a breakdown.
Live Weight: Walking around weight of the live animal.
Hanging Weight: This is the weight of the butchered animal as it hangs in the locker to dry age. This weight does not include the head, hide, hooves and innards (which would have been removed).
Boxed Weight: This is the net weight of the meat you will receive that is packaged and ready for your freezer. The reduced weight here is attributed to the cutting and trimming of fat, connective tissue, bone, etc., as well as moisture lost during the dry aging process. This weight varies dependent upon the cuts of meat included and any additional package options, e.g. bones, fat and offal.
Customers are charged by the live weight and hanging weight, not the boxed weight. It has been our experience that we will lose around 27% to 32% from hanging weight to boxed weight, though other web sites and farms indicate amounts ranging anywhere from 24-40%. It varies from producer to producer and is dependent on the animal's individual composition, the butcher, and the cuts that are chosen. The websites Mossbackfarm.com, Moveablebeast.com and Ranchsteady.blogspot.com are a few examples showing how variable the weight loss is. If you have any additional questions, we are more than happy to assist.
Cooking with Grassfed Beef
Any red meat connoisseur will tell you that there’s nothing quite so disappointing as a tough, over cooked cut of beef, particularly if you’ve spent good money on a beautiful grass fed, grass finished steak. Sadly, many a T-bone or Ribeye has been ruined on the grill, usually because home chefs try cooking it the same way they would conventionally produced meat. It takes us 2.5 to 3 years from conception to harvest to bring you our product, and we want to see you get the best eating experience possible, which is why we recommend you read up on cooking and prep suggestions before throwing any of our beef cuts on the grill.
Because grass fed beef has less fat and water than conventionally produced meat, it really needs to be pampered a bit. Generally, it is recommended to cook it at a lower temperature for 30% less time than you would conventionally produced meat. Steaks should be cooked to rare or medium rare. If you prefer your meat well done, it's best to marinate them in advance or slowly roast them in sauces. Standard safe food handling applies. NEVER thaw meat in a microwave. Thaw either in the refrigerator (best method), particularly for larger cuts, or in room temperature water in a bag (if you have to). When it's time to cook, remember that simple ingredients like olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper go a long way to enhance your dishes while allowing the natural flavor of the meat to shine.
USDA vs. WSDA
USDA and WSDA are the two ways in which the government regulates the slaughtering of animals. We utilize both to serve different purposes: WSDA for bulk orders and USDA for farmer's markets and customers who don't wish to order bulk.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) requires that government employed inspectors oversee the process of unloading, killing, cutting and wrapping of all animals being processed. Said processing must be done at a USDA certified facility. Once packaged, USDA cuts can be sold to individuals, restaurants, stores and at farmers markets. For USDA processing, the animals must be transported to a facility they've never seen in a trailer they've never been in. It's more expensive for us and more stressful for the animals, and, therefore, not our preferred method. Unfortunately, we are bound by USDA restrictions, so we do our best to curtail the stress by delivering our animals to the facility a day prior to slaughter to allow them time to calm down and adjust to the new environment. We also take care in selecting USDA facilities that observe AWA (Animal Welfare Approved) methods of dispatchment that are as humane as possible.
WSDA (Washington State Department of Agriculture) is an exemption from the USDA program that accommodates small farm slaughtering. One of the key requirements for WSDA is that the meat must be “sold” prior to the kill. The deposit which we collect when you place your bulk order satisfies this requirement; hence, all of our bulk orders are WSDA. WSDA slaughter takes place onsite where the animal has grown up, which makes for a less stressful experience for the animal. The meat is then taken to our local butcher shop for aging, cutting, wrapping and freezing. This is the most viable means for all involved, as it is done locally and with minimal discomfort to the animals.
Grass Fed Nitty Gritty
Many terms are used inaccurately when talking about grass fed, grass finished and pastured livestock. There is a huge difference between “grass fed” and “grass finished”. All cattle are grass fed when they are young and virtually all are grain finished, i.e. fattened prior to butchering. “Grass finished” means cattle are fed grass their entire life and not fed grain. “Pastured” means livestock receive a significant portion of their nutrition from organically managed pasture and stored dried forages. Unlike grass fed livestock, pasture raised livestock may receive supplemental organic grains. “Free range” is another misunderstood term used primarily in the egg industry indicating a certain degree of non-confinement, but is sometimes inappropriately used in the livestock industry. Unlike our egg layers, which truly range free anywhere on our ranch, our livestock are “pastured”, meaning they have access to grass to eat but they are contained in a fenced area spanning multiple acres. No one would want a herd of cattle freely wandering around their ranch, plowing through the flower beds, trapsing about the deck and blocking highway traffic. The best way to see how freely ranging our animals are is to come for a visit.
Click on a photo to enlarge.