Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chalosse beef, a passion for quality

Chalosse cows resting in the sun
Our butcher breaks down in tears every summer when everybody wants to barbecue and everybody wants the same piece of meat = Boeuf de Chalosse. Just thinking about this meat makes my mouth water. The meat has strict quality rules to the whole production process, so the cows must graze for two years before ending the third and last year eating almost only corn, giving a particular parsley like taste to the meat. The breeding is slow, making for an excellent meat, marmorated with fat, tender... a knowlegable friend asked how we had prepared the meat, what spices... he couldn`t believe me when I told him it was only salt added, nothing else.

Both me and my husband being huge fans of Boeuf de Chalosse, we wanted to go and visit a Chalosse farm. I phoned the Association de Boeuf de Chalosse and they advised me to visit the Sprouylhs farm and its passionate farmer M Ducasse. He loves the region and his cows, takes pride in his traditional breeding and the quality of his meat, but he is deeply pessimistic about the future. Prices have been standing still or sinking for tens of years, he says. The only way to resist is to create bigger farms, with a more industrial production to share the fixed costs on more animals. Small farms like mine are doomed. We are the last generation to work like this. There is no profitability any more.

The farmer M Ducasse

I was sad to hear his outcry and I only hope the future will wrong him. That more people will be willing to pay an extra for the quality and the ethic of meat produced this way. I went home feeling profundly happy knowing where my meat comes from. We take one last look at the cows and calves resting in the sun, peacefully, and start driving home.

View from the Sprouyls farm in Chalosse

This is the view from his farm. The corn has been harvested and the left overs will shortly be cut and used as winter food for the cows.

Cow and new calf

A mummy cow with her baby stays in doors until the calf has grown a bit bigger.

A Chalosse bull

One of two bulls. 1.3 tons with his socks on!

M Ducasse Sr

Daddy Ducasse, the founder of the farm. He dreamt as a child to create a farm, started with five cows and left over 80 to his son. Today the farm has about 160 animals.

Beautiful Chalosse cow butts

Good looking butts! At competitions the butts are the main criteria for evaluation. The rounder, the better. Wish women were judged in the same way.

Prize collection

Some of the prizes. There were plenty!

1 comment:

  1. Le boucher doit pleurer de joie quand il voit arriver Pascal pour une commande de côtes de boeuf : Pas une mais cinq côtes de boeuf s'il vous plaît....


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