Oregon Artisans – Of Meat and Mountain Meadows
Beef that closes the circle
Who: Stroupe Family Farm
The eats: Local Angus beef, raised on pasture, hay and fresh fruits and vegetables. Really.
Back story: Father and son Duane and Casey Stroupe run a landscaping material company in Tualatin, where they turn yard debris and other waste products into gardeners’ gold. So when they started a livestock operation back in 2006 (to get a ready supply of manure for their soil mixes), they approached feeding the animals with the same close-the-circle philosophy. They planted pastures where the animals graze and found another ready supply of food in vegetable and fruit trimmings from wholesalers who sell and package fruits and vegetables for stores. The cattle “really love it,” says Casey Stroupe, who picks up fresh trimmings at least once a day, sometimes as often as three times a day. “They almost get mad at you when you run out.” The produce, everything from watermelon to celery to green chiles and red onions, looks nearly as good as what you’ll find in the supermarket – and it’s probably more fresh, Stroupe says.
What’s special: The pasture/produce/hay diet, which is supplemented with a little corn two to three weeks before slaughter. The trimmings are free but with trucking costs factored in, only slightly cheaper than other feed options. Plus the produce rejects are wet, and not so easy to handle. That’s OK, says Stroupe. “It’s helping the food chain out. Instead of having to throw the material away, it’s a good use of it. And we believe it gives the animals a better marbling and taste.”
Details: Processed at Mount Angel Meat, dry-aged for 21 days. The USDA-inspected meat is leaner than conventional beef, so, like grass-fed beef, it should be cooked medium-rare tending toward rare.
Who’s buying: Fans of local, sustainably raised meat.
Find it: Through home-delivery service Organics to You; at local Farmers Markets; also at S&H, the Stroupe’s Tualatin landscaping supply yard.
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Reprint of an article in The Oregonian, by Leslie Cole