Thursday, October 16, 2008

Locally raised, yeah right, give me the details....

Pure breed limosine bull raised in the UK.

After going on about my love affair with local beef in the poll results post I decided a little more information was in order. The following profile of Plesant Home Cattle Company was taken directly from the Fresh Fork Market website. FFM has set up a relationship with Plesant Home allowing for other chefs and I to get our hands on smaller amounts of this quality product without having to purchase a whole side of beef. It's a very good feeling knowing where your beef comes from, and how it got to you.

Pleasant Home Cattle Company is a small family farm in Spencer, Ohio – near Wooster. Tony Stoller manages the cattle operation. Though small, Stoller recognizes that he must consistently provide the highest quality product before he can grow his operation. For 10 years now, he has been improving his herd and selling off his 30 to 40 head of cattle as "freezer beef" to loyal customers in the Wooster area. Pleasant Home Cattle Company focuses on natural and sustainable herd management practices to provide the highest quality products on the market at a competitive price.

What’s a "Naturally Raised" Beef Product. Raising a heard "naturally" encompasses the diet and herd management techniques of the animals. In short, a naturally raised product means hormone and antibiotic free diets, and the animals are usually free range. Naturally raised does not have limitations on the diet of the animal other than it cannot receive synthetic supplements in the food. Pleasant Home Cattle Company takes naturally raised further.

Stoller recognizes that to consistently have the best possible product, he must control ever aspect of that animal’s life. This includes its diet from birth to harvest. To effectively manage this diet, Stoller: - Grows his own corn for feed - Feeds the cattle a "finish grade" corn only diet from the time it is finished weaning to harvest. This practice is very expensive. - Mothers on a nutritious, corn only diet have richer milk to feed the calves during weaning - Free range to reduce stress on the animal Because Stoller’s cattle receive a healthier diet, they are healthier animals. Healthier animals resist disease; therefore, they don’t need antibiotics or hormones.

Pleasant Home Cattle Company has worked for 10 years to perfect their herd. The herd is a cross-breed of Limousin and Black Angus. The Limousin is the key to the delicious flavor. The Black Angus is used to increase the size of the animal and to add better maternal instincts – very important of a naturally raised (and weaned) herd. The Limousin breed is native to south central France, particularly in the Limousin and Marche regions. There, the topography is rocky and dry – typical of the Mediterranean region – and not well suited for crops. As a result, the farmers of the region perfected the Limousin breed, which was both a good eating breed as well as a "beast of burden" (work animal). Beginning in the mid-1800’s, Limousin breeds were prominent Best of Show cattle at agricultural shows. Their reputation for solid muscle mass and spectacular marbling soon earned them the reputation as the "butcher’s animal" - a name which Limousin is still referred to in France. Beginning in the 1960’s, Limousin was introduced in America. For the most part though, it was ignored due to the size and productivity of the Angus breed – features that were very important in a food hungry post World War II country. Over 30 years, however, cattleman began to recognize the flavor characteristics of Limousin and it is now a highly desired breed.

At Pleasant Home Cattle Company, Stoller sends his bull to Pennsylvania annually to breed with other Limousin. This process, although very expensive, has helped him build a healthy and productive herd. This is certainly not your traditional Heinz 57 variety of feedlot cattle.

Processing the Animal: This product is processed locally at Whitefeathers in Wooster, Ohio. The animal is dry aged for a minimum of 14 days to concentrate the flavor in the meat. The animal will be cut to our specs. Grading: Typically this product grades out at a minimum of very high choice to prime. Because of the consistent diets and breed, the grading should be very consistent.

1 comment:

Kyle Napierkowski said...

Hi Chef Michael,
The Fresh Fork team is glad to hear how much you've enjoyed learning about local growers through our service! More local meats are on the way, so keep an eye out.

All the best,
Kyle & FFM