Carmelo Peak Ranch beef is from pasture-raised and finished steers that traditionally spend their lives grazing pastures during the spring/summer months along the Big Sur coastline; during the fall/winter months they return with the rest of the herd to Carmel Valley for the calving season. The cattle are under my personal care for their entire lifetime. Their diet consists of native grasses from the hillsides and ocean bluffs. The cattle are utilized as management tools to optimize conservation goals and to maintain species' habitats. The cattle are never exposed to grain, feed additives, growth hormones, or antibiotics.
In early spring, when the calves are weaned, steers are selected from my Black Angus herd based upon their conformation and disposition for my specialty pasture-raised beef program. The steers continue to graze the grasslands for an additional year; at the time of harvest, they are approximately 23 months of age.
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, I request that the steaks are one and a half inch in thickness; the roasts average less than three pounds; I request that the ground beef is lean with no more than a fifteen percent fat content. All cuts of the 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 I select Black Angus bulls specifically for our region and for the genetics that enhance the characteristics of my pasture-raised cattle. Additionally, the cattle herd is also able to roam freely in pastures of Carmel Valley and the surrounding coastline. 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 my care for their entire life span. Another important and key ingredient to producing superior beef relates directly to the butcher that I entrust and rely upon for the decision making during the aging, cutting, and packaging of the beef product.