New Letters> November 2007
With the farmers markets closing later this month, Lake Country Premium Natural Beef will still be available through our new LAKE COUNTRY
DIRECT, home delivery service. Orders for individual cuts and ground beef as well as for our
variety packages may be placed by calling 716-965-2249. Gary Gabel, whom many of you have met at the East Aurora Farmers Market, will be making deliveries to homes all over the Buffalo Metropolitan area.
The full range of steaks, roasts, stew, and brazing cuts will be available. While we have always provided home delivery of variety packages, quarters and sides of beef for the freezer, this new service will provide easy access to smaller quantities of
natural beef for your weekly needs.
We will begin with the following schedule and adjust it to fit your response:
Tuesdays Buffalo, Amherst, Kenmore
Cheektowaga, Grand Island
Wednesdays Southtowns: East Aurora,
Elma, Hamburg, Orchard Park,
Thursdays Clarence, East Amherst,
Friday Southtowns and urgent
Orders received by noon on Monday will be delivered on the regular schedule. Orders placed by Wednesday noon will be delivered before the weekend. Custom cutting may require three to four weeks, but most items will be available within three business days.
Deliveries of orders of over $50 will be free. There will be a $3 charge for delivery of smaller orders. Neighbors and buying groups can combine orders to assure free delivery.
RESEARCH ON BEEF QUALITY
A report from the Annual Research Seminar of the Beef Improvement Federation held in Fort Collins, Colorado, summarized recent research on factors associated with the production of high quality beef.
Beyond genetic factors which are more favorable for Angus, Hereford and Short Horn cattle, a number of practices affect taste and tenderness important to consumers.
- In general, the younger the age that the animal is placed on feed the better the marbling.
- High levels of Vitamin A from grass pasture inhibit the deposit of fat for marbling.
- Herd health is positively associated with quality grade
- Implanted growth hormones reduce the percentage of animals grading choice.
- Animals harvested in January and February are likely to be more tender than those harvested in September and October. They attribute this to seasonal differences in daylight and variations in feedlot nutrition.
These studies were done on animals placed in feed lots and receiving heavy grain rations, but they have some implications for our herd management. First, meat quality depends upon nutrition over the whole life span of the animal, not just the finish ration. Since we take care of the animals from birth onward, we can assure good nutrition at every stage of life. Second, maintaining overall herd health contributes to quality. We have never had any serious disease in our herd. Third, while grass pasture is good for animal health, total dependence upon grass leads to difficulty in marbling and eating quality. This supports our decision to supplement pasture and winter hay with corn. Fourth, growth implants reduce meat quality, reinforcing our avoidance of them. The last point about seasonality is one that applies to feed lot animals rather than those raised exclusively on pasture and farm rations. We harvest year round.
100 MILE DIET CHALLENGE LAUNCHED IN ALBANY AREA
The associated Press carried a September story about an Albany group “taking support of local ag-riculture to the extreme.” Inspired by several re-cent books describing the value of knowing where one’s food comes from, they all vowed to limit their food intake to items produced within 100 miles.
Led by a molecular biologist from Schenectady, Cheryl Nechamen, the group sought to raise con-sciousness about how local meat and vegetables can be fresher and cleaner, and to show it is possi-ble to avoid food that requires a lot of fuel to ship from thousands of miles away. This project de-pends heavily upon farmer’s markets and commu-nity supported agriculture programs. While pro-duce availability may be seasonal, local meat can be obtained year round.
WHAT IS GOING ON AT HANOVA HILLS FARM
As you might expect, harvest is over. Over 1100 big round bales of dry hay and 200 round bales of wrapped hay silage are in the barn. 400 tons of corn silage are in the bunk silo, and 26 tons of cracked corn are in the bin.
The noisy current event is that the calves born in April and May are being weaned. This means three days of performances by our loud atonal choir as they are separated from their mothers. The first group has just settled down to silent eating in the barn down the hill from our house, and the next set of 31 cows and their offspring are being parted even as I write. Thankfully, they will be in a barn a half mile down the road and largely out of earshot. The mother cows bawl up a storm too when their calves are removed, but weaning is part of the life cycle for all mammalian species. The cows have already been bred for the next crop of calves to be born next spring.
Meanwhile, the fall calves born in August and Sep-tember still enjoy the double benefit of nursing and hay. They won’t face weaning until March. That is the difference between beef and dairy herds. Our calves get the fast start of all their mother’s milk for about six months. Dairy calves are taken off their mothers after the first day so that the milk can be sold. You are welcome to visit the farm.