Our calves are born at the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District's Palo Corona Park in Carmel, California where our mother cows graze. The park is fortunate to be home to four endangered species and strategic grazing is able to enhance their critical habitats. To implement numerous conservation goals, our cow-calf pairs are rotated throughout seventeen different grazing units during the year. Whenever you visit the park, there is a good chance that you will be hiking among the cattle.
In May, when the calves are weaned, steers are selected from our Black Angus herd based upon their conformation and disposition for our specialty pasture-raised beef program. The steers continue to graze the grasslands at the park for an additional year. At the time of harvest, they are approximately 23 months of age and have been directly under our care for their entire life.
During the harvest, the steer is processed in a humane way with very little stress at a local, state of the art family owned business that was founded in 1914. Each step of the process is completed at this USDA facility. The meat is dry-aged for a minimum of 21 days; this practice is rarely done except for specialty markets. The process of dry aging enhances the flavor profiles of the meat. In a sense similar to Estate Bottled Vintage Wines, the meat flavors reflect the environment from which the animal was raised. After dry aging, the meat is then cut to specifications. For example, we request that our steaks are one and a half inch in thickness; our roasts average less than three pounds; we request that our ground beef is lean with no more than a fifteen percent fat content. All cuts of our beef are vacuum-sealed in cryovac, frozen and placed in a box that accommodates a split-side. This process from start to finish takes approximately thirty days.
The quality and flavor of the beef offered by Carmelo Peak Ranch is reminiscent of yesteryear. This is due to the fact that we select Black Angus bulls specifically for our region and for the genetics that enhance the characteristics of our pasture-raised cattle. Our cattle herd is also able to roam freely in pastures in the Carmel area. A unique quality that ensures consistency is the fact that the steers in the beef program, and all of our cows, are guaranteed to be under our care for their entire life span. Another important and key ingredient to producing superior beef relates directly to the butcher that we entrust and rely upon for the decision making during the aging, cutting, and packaging of our beef product.