Outposts on the Frontier

Last week, Duba & Company began offering a limited number of Pioneer Memberships, so named because in the world of heritage meats it’s all frontier (please also see “The Pioneers”, last week’s blog post dedicated to our first members). And, as exhilarating as the wide-open expanse of frontier territory is, it’s certainly comforting–and encouraging–when you come across an outpost in the form of others out there who have be creating settlements in the territory. This post introduces you to two such “outposts”: two individuals making inroads “out there…”

Meet Chuck Neely of Riven Rock Farm in Virginia with whom I was able to get acquainted yesterday over the telephone. It was lunch hour, and Chuck was taking a break between farm chores. Here’s a guy who speaks the language of a “terroir of beef” (for more on the subject, please see “The Terroir of Beef”) and who further affirmed our experience of the enhanced flavors that come from cattle harvested later in life, say cattle 30 months old or more, beef as rare–and every bit as good as–a 25 Year Old Scotch (for more on this topic, please see “Scotch Beef”). Down in the Highlands of Virgina he’s raising Galloway beef, a heritage breed and one that we intend to make part of our core beef product life. He’s part of a grass-fed and heritage meat co-operative. Backed by community support–and government grants–the farms that make up this co-op have been able to build a small, $2,000,000 USDA-inspected facility to process their animals. With the processing facility within 20 minutes of most–if not all–of the farms, one can be further assured of a higher quality meat. The greater the distance an animal needs to travel to slaughter, you see,  the greater the chance of stressing animals, and stress certainly has an effect on the quality of meat.

While Duba & Company has a tasting panel, Neely spoke of another–one Carrie Oliver, a self-proclaimed “beef geek”–who has developed tasting notes and grades beef based on “texture”, “personality,” and “impression” (for more on the philosophy of tasting, please see “Two Schools of Tasting”). Oliver is of The Artisan Beef Institute, whose website proclaims “Psst! It’s Not About the Marbling,” a reference to the fact that the flavor of beef comes not primarily from fat, but from the diet of the animals.

I just thought you’d like to know that there are others out there who share the same convictions as we do about what makes for great meat.

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