When the clueless city folk talk about cows being one of the greatest environmental polluters and governors start designating certain days as meatless days in their states, we in Montana celebrate our rising agriculture stars instead. So, as a nod to and an encouragement for our ranchers and farmers, here are three (of the many) rising stars of Montana agriculture, in no particular order.
1. TUCKER FAMILY FARM. Located in Victor, Montana and known for their grass fed lamb, pastured pork, and sheep's milk cheese, they're a familiar name in Missoula and Bitterroot Valley, but you don't have to be local to enjoy their delicious Ricotta, Feta, Halloumi, farmers cheese, and hard cheeses. Thanks to their online store, you can have the yummy cheese delivered to your doorstep anywhere in the US.
2. DOUBLE K RANCH & FIFTH SEASON MONTANA. Located in Darby, Montana and operated by the Kouf family, Double K Ranch has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. They produce all-natural beef, heritage pork, and cured meat products, but they also serve as a retailer for their neighbors' grass fed lamb. In addition to being successful ranchers, they're also skilled butchers and creative sausage makers. With the current expansion into the brand new kill floor on their property, they'll be able to guarantee that any meat they sell is practically stress hormone free as the animals grown on the property won't need to be shipped elsewhere for processing.
3. MONTANA BETTER BEEF. This small ranch produces certified organic, grass fed beef in Kila, Montana. Not only do they sell to local health food stores, but if you're in Kalispell or Whitefish, they'll even personally deliver the meat to your doorstep. At the moment, they don't ship beef outside Montana, but you can come stay in one of the three log cabins on their property for your next vacation and taste some of this Montana goodness.
These are just a few of our Montana agriculture stars. If I tried to list every organic or all-natural CSA farm, cattle ranch, sheep or goat farmer in the state, I'd probably have to write for days. Not to even mention our wheat farmers, canola farmers, cherry and apple orchard owners, and many others.
So, next time you're in Montana, do yourself a favor and eat at a restaurant that serves locally sourced products. Apart from having a tasty meal, you'll be supporting our hard working farmers and ranchers. Oh, and remember: in Montana, every day is a meat day!