Game Ranch Produces Elk Meat, Bison Meat and Reindeer Meat for Restaurants
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“We try to use the whole animal,” Barnes says. “Obviously, it’s easier to sell primal cuts: the fillet, the strip loin, the rib-eye.” The chefs use their creativity for the rest of the meat: cured meats, pastrami, elk ham out of the leg muscle, sausages for breakfasts, salamis, stews and even Osso Buco. “Of course, we also make ‘Ranch’ Burgers of 50 percent elk and 50 percent buffalo, ground up.”
Four luxury resorts – two around Banff, one near Lake Louise and another on coastal British Columbia – and five fine-dining restaurants in Calgary are part of the ranch’s holdings. Barnes decides which locations receive which cuts of meat.
“One or two restaurants might get the buffalo tenderloin, while a couple of other properties will receive strip loin or rib-eye,” he says.
Some of the animals have a special history, and Church has plenty of stories to tell. Abandoned, day-old calf Terra was found a year ago during a cold and rainy spell. The herd had moved on, and she was left behind.
“I knew she was abandoned. I suspect her mother had twins. Commonly, the mother will go with the stronger of the twins. Our options are leave the orphan there to die or be eaten by coyotes, or, our choice, bring them home and bottle-rear them. So, from the beginning, Terra considered people and dogs her herd.”
The ranch now includes a direct sales store selling jerky, jam, frozen meat, honey and Elk Velvet Antler pills. Church says, “Elk antler is a natural anti-inflammatory. It brings swelling down. It’s good for arthritis.”
In spring, elk antlers grow and feel like velvet. Normally, the antlers calcify and fall off. “We get (the antlers) before calcification when blood is still in them. The Asian market slices them and makes a broth. That doesn’t go over well in North American markets. We make it into pills,” Church says.
For more information on the Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, its products and store, visit the website at www.CRMR.com
, or write Box 54 RR8 Site 5, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2J 2T9, or call toll-free 866-563-2242.
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