Tuesday, July 28, 2009

El Morro Valley Ranch: Local Organic Beef

Somebody que up Leonard Bernstein's rousing symphony Rodeo IV: Hoe-down. . . BEEF- it's what's for dinner! Aah, but tonight it's different. My main course wasn't crowded into a small feedlot as a teenager and fed yummy corn, followed by anti-biotics for it's upset tummy. No, corn and drugs didn't turn into bland fatty meat in this steer. See, tonight it's local range-fed beef. Healthy, lean, dry-aged beef, high in Omega-3's and ingrained with the natural flavors of the native blue-gramma and sage it was raised on, is on my grill tonight.

Photo of their brochure cover

I met the rancher, Charlie Mallory, selling his beef just a few miles from his ranch, at the Ramah Farmer's Market in early July. He and his wife cheerfully sold frozen cuts packaged at a licensed processing facility. Ground beef ($4/lb), Sirlion ($9/lb), and T-bones ($10) jumped into my basket. Quarter sections of an animal(about 60 lbs. of equally distributed cuts @ $6/lb = $360) will be available around August, but reserve ahead of time. This seems to be resonable pricing for local food produced on the small-scale that allows for humane and observant care of the animals and land. I'll try to post again later after visiting his ranch in person.

This interesting Wall Street Journal article describes how the down-turn in the economy has reduced demand in the high-end beef market, resulting in lower prices and more wide-spread availability of prime cuts and grass-fed beef. It's in market conditions like this that local producers like El Morro Valley Ranch need local customers more than ever.

So how did the sirloin taste? Perfect. Moist and smooth even when cut with the grain. Salt, pepper, and a searing hot grill for a couple minutes was all it took to have a great meal. Sauted home-grown brocolli and baby yukon potatoes, topped with rosemary chevre from the Windy Ridge Goat Dairy south of Ramah completed this all-local ranch dinner.

El Morro Valley Ranch
P.O. Box 250
Ramah, NM
(505) 783-4521

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