Your source for Wagyu beef in Cullman, Alabama!
Q: What percentage of Wagyu genetics is required to make a great steak?
A: Well, if we are being honest, zero. I've seen some beautiful steaks from Angus steers. That said, if we are talking about the LIKELIHOOD that any given steer will make a great steak, I firmly believe that Wagyu influence means a lot. The best way I can describe it is to think of it as a range of marbling from say "Choice" to the most fabulously marbled steak you can imagine. With all things with feed and environmental treatment being equal, an F1 (50% Wagyu) steer can fall anywhere on that range. An F2 (75% Wagyu) should shorten that range by trimming off some of the bottom end. An F3 should narrow it further, and so on until you get to Fullblood cattle, who should finish in a nice, tight, highly marbled range (never below Prime).
Q: Why do all your registered animals have funny names?
A: Well, they don't ALL have funny names but some do. Naming animals was always the job of my kids and we went through a series of Disney princesses, flowers, and deserts. I always thought it silly to try to make up a Japanese sounding name, and how many times can you reuse "Sanjiro", etc. with his great grandchildren. We have to name them something, so why not pick a name that makes people smile?!?
Q: What can I expect to get out of a side of beef?
A: The actual yield of a side of beef varies depending on your instructions to the butcher. Based on our experience, you can expect to receive between 50-55% of the hanging weight in the weight of your packaged beef. Actual numbers of cuts received vary based on your instructions. For instance, the thickness that steaks are cut will affect the number received. Do you want round steaks or ground round? Beef ribs? All the decisions you make will impact what you take home.
Q: What about getting the unusual stuff like the tongue, heart, bones, hide, ...?
A: That would be something to work out with the butcher (and potentially the owner of the other half of the steer) but it shouldn't be a problem. We had a customer last year get the big bones for his dog. I think that was one happy pooch!
Q: How much freezer space is required"?
A: That depends on how many frozen pizzas are destined to share the space! We have a big fridge size upright freezer and have carefully squeezed in two sides one time. Even the smallest chest freezer will likely hold a single side (with maybe a little overflow to your fridge's freezer) if that is all that is in it. One of our customers managed to fit a side into his household fridge freezers (he had two), but it should be noted that you run the risk of freezer burn (if not vacuum sealed) if you store in a frost free freezer.
Q: Is Whitesell Farms an "Organic Farm"?
A: The simple answer is no. We fail the organic test on several fronts including the use of commercial fertilizer and treatment for weeds. Frankly, I don't know how to grow good forage without properly applied and managed fertilizer and we have a serious problem with thistles in this area and would be quickly overrun if we didn't treat them.
Q: Is your beef hormone and antibiotic free?
A: We do not use any growth hormones in our cattle operation. In the case of all the animals listed on the Available Stock page, none of them have ever been treated with antibiotics. As a practice, however, I don't have a problem with proper treatment of a calf or cow that is sick with antibiotics if it is required. I believe that the issue people are concerned with is the use of antibiotics without regard to the appropriate withdrawal period. Additionally, our calves have been vaccinated for blackleg which is a problem in our area and a horrible way for a calf to die.
Q: Is your beef "Grass Fed"?
A: Well, our steers are never off grass and have access year round to high quality forage. That said, we don't have the type of forage or land setup that would be required to produce high quality beef on grass alone. For our situation, we are convinced that to get a well marbled, tender, and tasty steak, a well managed, high quality feed regime is required.
Q: What do you feed your cattle?
A: Our steers go through three phases when it comes to their diets. Information on these phases is provided in the Available Beef Supply web page.
Q: How is your method different from that used in Kobe, Japan?
A: There are significant differences, largely to do with the amount of freedom of movement the steer enjoys - ours are never confined. The one of the best articles I have found explaining the Kobe method can be viewed here: http://www.luciesfarm.com/artman/publish/article_39.shtml .
Q: Do you have any pictures of the end product?
A: Sure! The picture of this ribeye was made by one of our restaurant partners. The ribeye came from a well finished 100% Wagyu steer.
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