Cates Family Farm

Photo by The Conscientious Omnivore (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

J was craving some no-cooking-required meat over the weekend, so we stopped by Metcalfe’s at Hilldale while we were in the neighborhood. They were out of Willow Creek ham slices, but we discovered something we hadn’t tried before: summer sausage from Cates Family Farm. We’d purchased and enjoyed their ground beef and steaks before, but the summer sausage was a real treat to find. We’ve been eating it with Hook’s one-year cheddar and some nice crackers. Soooooo good!

As the Cates website describes,

Our farm, in the Cates Family for over 40 years, has produced beef on its pastures for over 100 years. Our Angus and Jersey steers are raised “free range” and without growth hormones or antibiotics. Steers are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished spring through autumn. Flavor and tenderness are enhanced through the “aging” process prior to packaging. Our beef has less excess fat than conventional feedlot-finished beef, and research is now showing that grass-fed beef and dairy products are significantly higher in naturally occurring compounds which help the body to prevent cancer and heart disease. Our beef is a delicious and healthy product. It is available as steaks, roasts, lean ground beef, summer sausage, beef sticks or jerky.

Proprietors Kim and Dick Cates were profiled by Fran O’Leary in a cover story earlier this year for Wisconsin Agriculturist. (You can find O’Leary’s reporting online in three separate PDFs.) O’Leary quotes Dick Cates describing managed grazing:

Although we don’t have natural fire anymore, by moving livestock to fresh pasture every day or so, we’re mimicking the natural grazing habits of the buffalo and elk that were here historically before the land was settled. We’ve replaced the wolves that were natural predators with the land managers, Kim and I, and we replaced wildfire with a mowing machine so we keep woody brush from growing up.

Check out the links above for more info. Also, although the video quality is low, it’s worth checking out the YouTube video below to see some photos of the farm and hear Kim and Dick talk about their farming practices and philosophy. Lastly, to get yourself some Cates Family Farm products, stop by Metcalfe’s or the Willy Street Co-op, or visit the Cates Family Farm website to place an order.

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One comment

  1. zazzman

    They are adorable in the video. I love that they are slightly uncomfortable, but they roll with it. And, yes, the summer sausage snack was delicious!

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