Question: WHAT BREEDS OF CATTLE DO YOUR RAISE?
Answer: We are partial to the Red Angus breed. The Red Angus breed had its beginning in Europe in the eighth-century, on the coasts of England and Scotland. We believe Red Angus is well-suited for the climate of British Columbia, which has similar weather patterns for which the cattle were originally bred. The animals are less susceptible to heat stress in our cooler area. It is very similar to making fine wine. You cannot take a vine that thrives in the Bordeaux region and try grow it in the mid-Western U.S thinking it will yield similar results in quality.
Question: WHY DOES RED ANGUS PRODUCE HIGH QUALITY GRASS-FED BEEF?
Answer: Without getting too technical, we use Red Angus that has been line-bred. With the rise of industrial farming in the 1940′s and 1950′s, many ranchers started cross-breeding genetics with larger framed, faster growing animals, that were designed to get fat quickly by feeding grain. Our Angus come from a very good line-breeding program that has preserved the heritage grass fed genetics, that were in place before the rise of corn-fed industrial ranching. Heritage line-breeding produces a consistent animal that is suited to the environment it resides in and produces a consistent size and quality carcass. The end result is very high quality grass-fed beef.
Question: WHAT DOES DRY-AGING BEEF FOR 14 to 21 DAYS ACCOMPLISH?
Answer: Dry aging beef produces a remarkable concentration and depth of flavor. Only the highest grades of beef can be dry aged, as the fat needs to be evenly distributed. The process changes beef in two ways. First, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This greatly concentrates the beef flavor and taste. Second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef. Dry aging for as long as we do results in about a 20% weight loss in the beef.
Proper dry-aging of beef is rarely seen due to it’s high costs and it’s considerable reduction in weight due to moisture loss. Because we are a small ranch and we use a small humane, USDA-butcher, we remain committed to dry-aging all our beef, so that we can produce only the highest quality beef.
Question: CAN SHIPPING GRASS-FED BEEF FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACTUALLY BE MORE ECO-FRIENDLY THAN EATING “LOCALLY” RAISED BEEF?
Answer: Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes. While we believe that food sources should be as local as possible, the requirements of raising Grass-Fed Beef cannot reasonably be met in Southern California, a desert where grass does not grow for most of the year and whose limited water supplies are strained by a huge population. Given these factors, it makes little sense to irrigate local pastures to satisfy the grass growing and drinking water requirements of raising cattle.
We believe it is far more sensible, not to mention healthier, to raise animals in British Columbia on native grasses and ship them out at harvest than to truck in tons of outside hay to an area that has no grass for the for the 24 months it takes to grow the animals. Shipping in tons of hay uses nearly 10 times the fuel, and has a far more extreme carbon footprint, than shipping out the animals at harvest time. (See detailed calculations and assumptions below.)
Raising a Grass-Fed Steer from birth to finish in Southern California requires 26 gallons of fuel. On the other hand, raising a Bella Coola beef Grass-Fed steer from birth to finish requires no fuel whatsoever, since all our grasses grow natively on our farm, in the valley and the alpine meadows. The Bella Coola Valley is a prolific glacial watershed at the confluence of three raging rivers. Water is plentiful, in the form of creeks, rivers, ponds, and natural pasture sub-irrigation. (see link to Google Earth)
Since there is no need for us to bring in outside hay, no fuel is required until we ship the animals out at harvest time. The fuel usage in transporting the animals ranges from 2.8 to 5.4 gallons per steer, and these amounts are halved when the trucks carry other products on the return trip – whether to the farm or to our warehouse.