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Written by Lee Pitts   

Certified Free Beef

The past few years niche markets for beef have developed that conscientious ranchers and companies have tried to fill. The natural and organic niches were profitable for producers until Wal Mart and the Big Chains turned those products back into commodities. To keep ahead of them, and to supply an increasingly fussy consumer, ranchers will have to develop new niche markets in the future. Like these:

Cowboy Free—Sad to say, some sophisticated “foodies” don’t like cowboys, the west or cattle. But they still like to eat beef. These people don’t like the fact that some people are allowed to own vast tracts of private property either, so this beef will be produced by a collective of liberal lesbians in La Jolla in petri dishes, or by Monks in Massachusetts. It will cost $600 per pound and taste like mud.

Rain Forest Free Beef—In response to the conversion of the Amazon rainforest to pasture, some consumers will want to purchase beef that is rain forest free. Most of these animals will come from the Arizona desert and parts of North Dakota and the Pacific Northwest where the ground is so hard they must use rocks for fence posts.

Home Raised—Beef from teenage cattle that will be raised in a home. To qualify, cattle must have a roof over their heads, three square meals a day, their own room, allowance, iPod and TV. To be sure you’re getting certified “Home Raised” beef look for the label that says: “All measures were taken to relieve this animal’s boredom.”

Fat Free Beef—This will come from Mexican crossbred cattle that have been roped so often their bellies rub up against their backbones. Because consumers want a “healthier” product, any fat found in the roping steer carcasses will be replaced with chemicals. This beef will have the shelf-life of toilet paper and will be sold in cardboard boxes. With proper seasoning (included), the box will taste better than the beef.

Painless Beef—To qualify for this niche the animals will be raised without the use of hot shots, whips, squeeze chutes, cuss words or anything else that might make an animal uncomfortable. There will not be any castration, branding or vaccination and the beef must come from animals that died of old age.

On The Hoof Beef—For people afraid of food for safety reasons, they’ll be able to purchase live animals and process the cattle themselves in their own backyard. This way they’ll be able to pinpoint exactly who to blame when they get sick.

Lactose Free—Beef from animals that were taken away from their mothers at birth so they couldn’t nurse. Obviously, cows that suck themselves will not qualify.

Water Neutral Dry Aged Beef—In the future water will be king so this beef will be produced without the aid of any irrigated crops. Water neutral bovines will only have access to naturally occurring water sources such as puddles and golf course water hazards. Qualifying cows must return to Mother Earth 100% of the water and carbon they consume as audited by Bernie Madoff.

Certified Free Beef—What the consumer of the future will really want is scrumptious beef that will also make you lose weight, is good for the environment and doesn’t cost anything. Although there will be huge demand for such a product it will be as rare as Martha Stewart linens and pillows in a Nevada bunkhouse.

Cruelty Free Beef­—This does not refer to the cattle but to the people who raise it. The demand for such beef will be in response to the poor working conditions in third world countries and on our farms and ranches. Such beef will come from ranchers and cowboys who were never subjected to any abuse or harsh working conditions. To produce beef for this niche ranchers must earn a livable income above minimum wage, have health insurance and a pension comparable to that received by postal service employees. Needless to say, this beef will be harder to find than Certified Free Beef.