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It's true: Local really does taste better

February 20, 2017

Though the music may be nice on satellite radio, I always seem to learn something interesting when I opt for the terrestrial version. Last week, on what turned out to be a brilliantly produced radio show, I heard an interview with Travis Reid, the boss over at Reid Angus LLC, a beef cattle farm in Frankford. Travis and his wife Stephanie not only breed and raise high-quality Angus cattle, but they also sell the resulting products locally and online. Travis grew up raising beef cattle as the sixth generation of the Knaper family from Dallastown, Pa. Stephanie is a lawyer who currently does contract work and estate planning in Maryland and Delaware. 

The Angus breed originated in Scotland, and is distinguished as one of the best sources for top-notch beef. Travis and his team not only market the products derived from these creatures, but they also provide breed stock to other ranches and cattle farms; always with an eye for keeping the genetics consistently pure. And savvy consumers and seasoned chefs can tell the difference. 

Another reason why the steaks and meat products from Reid Angus taste so good is the dry-aging process. Much of the standard grocery-store beef is aged in the plastic shrink wrap in which it is shipped, where the naturally present enzymes break down the muscle tissue over a couple of days. This is known as wet aging. Dry-aged beef, however, is held for a longer period of time in closely monitored humidity and temperature conditions. The enzymes have the time to break down and tenderize the meat even more, resulting in a superior texture and flavor. Reid Angus uses no antibiotics or growth enhancers (implants), permitting the cattle to perform and develop to their genetic potential. 

So where can you taste this dry-aged goodness? Travis’ products are available at the Historic Lewes Farmers Market, the Milford Riverwalk Farmers Market and the Fenwick Island Farmers Market. He also sells directly to the public at the farm in Frankford, and you can even order his products online at ReidAngus.com. 

But what better way to experience his products than to have them prepared by professionals! Bethany Blues offers Angus burgers and 21-day dry-aged steaks on their menu. Lion Gardner, chef/owner of Blue Moon, buys beef from Reid. So does a(MUSE.) boss Hari Cameron. Award-winning Chef Matt Kern serves it at Heirloom in Lewes, and Danio Somoza features Travis’ dry-aged beef at 99 Sea Level in Bethany. Zach Dick, the kitchen boss at Chesapeake & Maine in Rehoboth, also uses that local product. Highwater Management installed Tom Deptula into the executive chef position at Baywood Greens, and Tom also purchases beef from Reid Angus. Josh and Jess Wiggins at Millsboro’s Blue Water Grill, along with One Coastal in Fenwick also purchase and prepare these local products for their guests. 

Out of respect for these magnificent animals, very little of the yield is wasted. To this end, one of the by-products of Reid’s operation is jerky. Cuts of lean meat are trimmed of fat, cut into strips, and then dried with salt to prevent spoilage as the product desiccates. One of the stars in the jerky department is flavored with Bethany Blues’ spicy BBQ sauce. The jerky recipe was developed in conjunction with operating partner (and BBQ maniac) Kevin Roberts. The sauce, originally created by the equally maniacal Chip Hearn at Peppers in Lewes, adds an amazing flavor to the high-quality meat. If you’re fortunate enough to find it at Travis’ farmers market stand, give it a try. 

The business of eating just gets better when we’re fortunate enough to get first-rate products from local farms, orchards and ranches. A stroll through our Cape Region farmers markets points this up again and again. From chicken and pork to beef and bison; from peaches to apples, melons, baked goods and everything in between, Southern Delaware Tourism’s Local on the Menu logo says it best: “Local just tastes better.”

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

    Masthead photo by Grant Gursky. Used with permission from Coastal Style Magazine.

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