New Letters> April 2009
HAIL TO SPRING
No, the pastures are not yet green, and the tree leaves have not yet appeared, but the snow is gone, the sun is shining and the temperature is in the 50’s. The birds have abandoned the feeders in favor of what was under snow a few weeks ago.
We can put up with the mud, and even a surprise brief reprise of winter, knowing that the grass, clover, and alfalfa is about to take hold again. It is a good thing too, for our stock of winter feed is diminishing and the cattle are itching to graze the fresh green fields that will be in full readiness by May.
We hope you are all as cheered and enlivened as we feel with the change in seasons and the first hints of greenery.
HOME DELIVERY SERVICE CONTINUING
We have had an active winter filling orders from many of you for home delivery. Though we had a break in our supply in December due to some animals not being quite ready, our stock of natural beef cuts is now ample and we are taking orders with prompt delivery being assured. Our dedicated order line in now <strong>716-965-9606</strong>, but you can also reach us on 716-965-2249 or toll free at <strong>888-332-9884</strong>.
Of course, a few high demand cuts may require a little wait. For example, tenderloins will always be scarce, for there are only five or six pounds per animal. But we have a good supply of all other cuts. You can make up your own order of individual beef cuts, select one of our Variety Packages, or choose a custom cut quarter or side of beef. The custom quarters and sides take about a month because of the aging time, but the freezers are well stocked with beef cuts ready for delivery within a week. We also have a limited supply of lamb.
NATURAL PORK NOW AVAILABLE
A number of you have asked if we could provide pork cuts. We can now offer natural pork from Walters Farms, a partner business. We cannot sell pork at the East Aurora or Elmwood Bidwell markets because we do not raise it ourselves, but we can take orders for home delivery. Click HERE to view a list of pork cuts and prices.
The Walters Meat Company processes all of our beef and lamb, and Walters Farm is their family farm pork production unit. They raise pigs without antibiotics or steroids in a setting where they are not crowded and on sawdust bedding. They produce both fresh and smoked pork, and their hams, bacon, and sausage are marvelous. We have already made our first deliveries to customers who share our pleasure at the tast of these wholesome pork products.
FARMERS MARKETS OPEN IN MAY
We will be returning to the Farmer’s Markets at Elmwood-Bidwell, East Aurora, and Williamsville this year on their opening dates, We will also be opening at the Crossroads Farm and Craft Market near Westfield, New York. This market is open from 9 am to 5 pm every Saturday into December. We will have an indoor space which will be easy to find. This will be convenient for those who spend the season at the Chautauqua Institution, as well as for others in the area. It is a popular spot, attracting 50 to 60 thousand people each year. To get there, start at the center of Westfield on Route 20 and drive SW on 20, taking the first left after the bridge. Proceed about four miles to hilltop site with its three permanent buildings.
WHAT WE DO TO PRODUCE LAKE COUNTRY PREMIUM NATURAL BEEF
From time to time it is useful to clarify the decisions we have made about how to produce artisanal beef of superior quality. There are so many variations in production practices that we want to be clear about what we do and why we choose to do it that way.
Our goal is produce beef that combines premium taste and tenderness with absolute food safety. To do this we have fine tuned our production model to yield consistent results. The following is the essence of what we do:
- We start with Angus dominant genetics that have been selected over many generations for meat quality. We use five registered Angus bulls with established pedigrees for superior marbling. Each year we review our cow herd and cull any not yielding our top quality beef. We replace those cows with the best of the heifers from the previous year’s calf crop. This process of herd improvement has continued for over 20 years.
- We practice rotational grazing during the growing season, dividing the herd into six groups, each of which has its series of paddocks through which they move so they are always on nutritious grass.
- In winter, the cows are fed hay every day, most of which is raised on our own farm. The steers that are being finished for beef receive a little corn silage and some ground corn and soybean meal with their hay. The corn keeps up their energy to cope with winter cold and it enhances marbling and flavor. We have chosen not to be strictly grass fed because we can approximate the same healthful meat outcomes doing it our way without the risk of toughness that is sometimes high with grass fed beef.
- We harvest our beef at between 16 and 22 months for optimal tenderness. After two years the connective tissue hardens and quality can be compromised.
- We finish all animals on our own farm without any use of antibiotics or artificial hormones. We follow a USDA protocol which allows us to use the natural beef label. We have done so for many years before there was an approved category for organic beef. We are not certified organic although we follow parallel practices.
- Our beef is dry aged for 14 days before cutting to concentrate flavor and enhance tenderness.
- Processing into beef cuts is part of the total quality system. Our beef is hand processed in a small, local, USDA inspected packing plant rather than mechanically processed in a high volume factory. After aging, the beef is cut, sealed in cyrovac, labeled, and flash frozen ready to be slow thawed for your table. This method yields a product indistinguishable from fresh meat.
- The animals are handled and transported humanely so as to avoid stress. They are comfortable on the farm.
BREAK OUT THE GRILL
While the roast and brazing cuts are still welcome in the cool of the evening, we are rapidly approaching steak and patty season. We are prepared for you with an appealing array of fine steaks as well as our Sirloin Patties, and our Gourmet Ground Beef.
The center cuts, including Rib Eyes (Delmonico), New York Strips, T-Bone, Porterhouse, and either Filet Mignon or Chateaubriand Cut Tenderloin are always in high demand. The Top Sirloin, Tri-Tip, and Sirloin Tip are not far behind. But many of us overlook cuts with great beef flavor that are both great values and good eating experiences. The chuck and shoulder are the source of some well marbled cuts that have come into some popularity since butchers have learned how to cut them. One is the flat iron which comes out of the area once know as the shoulder tender. It does not require a marinage, but will not be offended it one is applied. The Fajita Flat comes from the same area. Also in the chuck is one of my favorites, the simple thin cut chuck eye steak. It can be either grilled or pan fried with salt and pepper for a quick and easy preparation, Moving to the round, an agreeable taste treat can come from the top round London Broil. Cut about an inch and a half thick, it is enhanced with an acid based marinade for one to 12 hours. Popped on the grill and cooked slowly, then sliced thin against the grain, this can be a great family treat. The right preparation is the key