By Rebecca Maynard
We’ve all heard the phrase “buy local,” and Ruth Almeter of Big Whiskey Cattle Co. in White Post is truly passionate about
Almeter, who owns the Big Whiskey Cattle Co. ranch with her husband, Paul, and seven children, said that choosing to buy even one item from a local farm rather than a supermarket makes a difference.
“The rate at which small family owned farms are disappearing is staggering,” she said. “Supporting local agriculture supports the community, and without that support, farms won’t continue to go.”
Almeter and her husband both grew up on dairy farms and met at a country western bar in Alexandria.
“I knew I wanted the country life,” Almeter said. “I love the different seasons and the rhythms, like the fall
“We work hard to raise a quality product from start to finish,” she said. “That begins with great genetics in our herd for things like steak size and marbling, as well as ease of calving and birth weight and size. We graze our cows on our pastures their whole life, creating stress free days for them. In addition to pasture grass, we finish our beef with oats and barley for an extended finish time of 180 days on free choice
“We also dry-age the whole carcass 28 days, longer than the industry standard, giving premium flavor and tenderness to every cut. Everyone knows the saying ‘What you put in is what you get out.’ It couldn’t be truer for our beef. We put in extra time, energy, and attention into our herd, and in return we get better tasting beef to offer
Almeter says beef that is dry-aged has additional off the charts flavor and tenderness. It requires extra time, commitment, and cost, but it is worth it in the end when you slice a steak like butter or bite into a burger packed with flavor. “It locks in the flavor, even ground beef,” Almeter said, explaining that her family loves burgers seasoned with nothing but salt, because the beef has so much of its own flavor.
Not all protein is the same, she explained. Beef benefits from aging after slaughter to promote tenderness and intensify flavor. Most of the beef in the United States today is rushed from slaughter, prepped for transport, delivered to grocery stores and butchered into cuts.
Big Whiskey Cattle Co. delivers locally once a month, with September 6 as the next delivery date. Orders can also be picked up at the ranch anytime, and pricing information can be found at www.bigwhiskeybeef.com.
“We put a lot of love and work into those animals,” Almeter said. “I did not expect to love it as much as I do.”