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New Letters> January 2008

Number 3


Gary Gabel is on the road with our new home de-livery service. Calls are coming in daily and we are shaking down our delivery routes so that the lag between your call and our delivery will be brief. To simplify ordering we have a new order phone line.


The full range of natural beef cuts, our variety packages, and sides and quarters of beef are avail-able for your freezer. Local lamb can also be ordered. Home delivery is free for orders over $50. If you place an order for more than $50 and some items are not available for immediate deliv-ery, we will deliver a partial order free. We are grateful for the positive acceptance of our natural beef at the summer farmers markets, and so we will try very hard to be accommodating to our many friends who came to appreciate our beef. We will be grateful for your feedback as we iron out the beginning kinks in our delivery system. We need to know how well we are serving you, so please call us with any suggestions or complaints.


With all of the reports about recalls of ground beef from meat packers with large factory operations, we want to remind you how we protect the safety of our natural ground beef. Our beef is hand pro-cessed in a local packing plant under USDA inspec-tion. The batches of ground beef are small and are placed directly into sealed cryovac packages and then flash frozen. A sample is sent to a certified testing laboratory from each batch, and none of the meat is released until the results are received. To understand the risks associated with large scale factory meat grinding operations, you must re-member that their meat comes from many different animals from diverse sources. A large batch of ground meat may be contaminated from any single source. The risks are greater for ground meat be-cause a pound of ground meat has a much larger surface area to be contaminated than any cut of comparable weight by a factor of thousands. The shipping of large containers of fresh, unfrozen ground meat further increases the risk. Though these plants are usually carefully inspected, the probability of error is greater in large scale opera-tions than in a small batch, flash freezing process. We are pleased to assure you that our methods of placing the small batches of meat in sealed pack-ages and flash freezing immediately as the meat emerges from the grinder gives us a safety margin. Further insurance comes from the testing of each batch. It helps that the meat going into the grinder is selected from a single steer. Quality and taste are enhanced by the fact that our ground beef is made from hand selected cuts from the round to which we add a little meat from the chuck for flavor. We do not simply throw in the trim from other cuts. These methods add to our costs, but your satisfaction and peace of mind are worth it.


Many of you have known that from August to No-vember we had a hard time producing enough meat to meet the demand. The supply of finished beef cattle has been ample, but we have struggled with a serious bottle neck in a local packing plant. We have been embarrassed by a back log of orders Now we can fill back orders and will do so in the next few weeks. We appreciate the patience of those who have waited so long.

We are pleased to announce that Walters Meat Company, a family business just across the Penn-sylvania line, is our new processor. The plant is exceptionally clean, and large enough to handle our work, but still small enough to give special atten-tion to our unique requirements. John Umlauf, our consulting chef, who visited Walters Meats to orient them to our standards, described it as the best small meat packing plant he has seen. Though it has taken a few weeks to make the tran-sition, we are now assured that we will have a steady stream of products to meet your needs.


While we won’t quarrel with the American Heart Association’s pronouncements on eating fish fre-quently, we do want to keep some perspective about the place of lean beef in a healthy diet.

The big surprise is that there are 29 cuts of lean beef that have less total and saturated fat than the same size serving of a skinless chicken thigh. These same 29 cuts have, on average, only 1.2 more grams of saturated fat than a comparable serving of skinless chicken breast. These aren’t obscure and strange beef cuts either. They include steak and roast cuts from the round, sirloin, shank, flank, and even the chuck shoulder. They range from lean ground beef to filet mignon, with many economy cuts included.

We have long known that beef is a good source of protein, zinc, iron, vitamin b12, selenium, and phosphorus. Recent research shows that zinc and iron are critical to the healthy physical and mental development of children, and that upwards of 50 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys are not meeting their needs for zinc and iron. (USDA Nutri-ent Database for Standard Reference, Release 18)


With six inches of snow on the ground and the har-vest behind us, the main work is feeding and wa-tering the cattle. They can cope very well outside. They generate so much body heat that they are more healthy out of doors than confined in a crowded barn. So our farm manager, Dan Egan, spends several hours morning and evening taking feed out into the fields, watering the stock, and feeding the 30 steers in the finishing barn.

The spring calves are now weaned, and the moth-ers are bred for their next calf in April or May. The vet will be in soon to check them for pregnancy. The fall calves face weaning pretty soon. They are eating hay on their own, and their mothers will maintain their body condition better through the winter if they are not lactating much longer. The breeding season for the fall calving mother cows is almost finished, with the last bull being banished to the bovine monastery in a week or two. And so the cycle continues. Each season we cull a few of the older cows and add teeny boppers to the breeding herd. We grow the herd from within to maintain bio-security.