The reason this rib eye is so good is that Skip Hougland
and Wally Congdon have spent the past 10 years perfecting it.
...Skip, the fire marshal at Montana State University, and Wally, the Beaverhead County deputy attorney, together own and lease the 5,000 acres that comprise the ranch lands of Big Sky Natural Beef.
At least according to Skip
and Wally, who are unimpressed with America's more mainstream cattle-ranching methods.
For the farmers who grow the beets, carrots and potatoes that accompany Skip
and Wally's steaks, sustainability means rotating crops to avoid taxing the soil, and eschewing chemicals.
...In 1999, Wally met Skip, who had worked as a cow trader on and off for 12 years and, like Wally, considered ranching his true calling.
and Wally figured out an alternative to traditional ranching, which aims to get cows fat as quickly as possible, shipping them long distances to feedlots to be "finished," or bulked up with grain and hormones in a final, frenzied 90 days.
and Wally decided that raising Highland cows using sustainable ranching methods and selling the meat to local customers was a better solution.
To improve the quality of their beef, Skip
and Wally raise the cattle for 36 months before slaughter,twice as long as the industry standard.
and Wally are also devoted to protecting their land.
Where Ikea has it over the woodworker is where distributors like Sysco have it over Wally and Skip
: getting the product to the consumer.
If your food travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate (and it does), it's hard to believe that Skip
and Wally, who lack the infrastructure of a major trucking company, can have more trouble getting their steaks the 150 or so miles from the ranch to the Savory Olive
and Wally don't have plans to quit their day jobs either.
"Some people love dogs or horses," says Skip