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Cattle

Winter 2016

Wagyu

Seattle chef Thomas Dodd’s customers demand the best, so the only steak on the menu is marbled, tender, and flavorful American wagyu.

He sees orders climb each week for the breed developed largely from Washington State University research to help Northwest ranchers compete with Japan’s famed Kobe beef and other specialty brands.

“When people were tasting it for the first time, they were kind of freaking out over how flavorful it is, saying things like it’s the best steak they’d ever had,” says Dodd, executive chef at Liam’s. “Now we’re starting to see this expectation because people know … or have heard about American wagyu.”

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A member of the 3 Sisters herd
Spring 2012

How to cook lean beef

Most of us are accustomed to eating beef from cattle finished on grain. The finishing process builds up intramuscular fat and can result in tasty, fat-marbleized meat. But many of Washington’s small and medium-scale cattle ranches finish their cattle on forage and pasture, resulting in a much leaner beef with lower levels of fat and cholesterol. And this leaner meat requires a different approach to cooking.

Here are a few tips from 3 Sisters Cattle Company and the American Grassfed Association to achieving the best results with pasture-fed beef.

Because the meat has less fat, it could use a little cooking oil … » More …

Ron ’86 and Shelly Muzzall with their daughters
Spring 2012

A Cattle Drive

Penn Cove may be known for its mussels, but just across the Whidbey Island bay from Coupeville is another operation—the Muzzall family farm, known to local grass-fed beef fans as the Three Sisters Cattle Company.

The farm was founded in 1910 by Ron Muzzall’s great-grandparents. For generations it was a dairy. When Ron ’86 returned from college, the farm had 50 cows. With his wife, Shelly, who grew up with family farming in Eastern Washington, he planned to follow in his parents’ footsteps.

But the dairy business was changing so fast. To keep up, the Muzzalls had to continuously add to their herd—something … » More …

Fall 2010

Cows deposit piles of diversity

Holly Ferguson knows her cow pies about as well as anyone. In the first study of flies in managed pastures in the Pacific Northwest, the entomologist has spent an unusual amount of time traveling the state and assessing its cow pies.

No matter the obvious jokes, dung dispersal in pastures is serious business. Wherever there are cows, there will be cow dung, and lots of it. A beef cow can produce nearly a ton of manure per month. And if that ton sits there untended, there will be problems.

Oddly enough, the conditions of the cow’s other major habitat, the feedlot, reduce the problem of … » More …

Essay: Cattle and Women

A cultural link between women and cattle seems unlikely in this age of turbo-powered technology. Yet, cows are all around us as decorative symbols, from the large fiberglass art-cow statues that decorated the streets of Chicago and New York recently, to their widespread presence in gift shops and department stores. Their whimsical countenances appear on a myriad of kitchen towels, coffee mugs, and cookie jars. This surge of interest in all things bovine by giftware manufacturers, who market a plethora of calendars, aprons, refrigerator magnets, and so on, all depicting clever or cute cows, is directed at women.

At first encounter, we may think the … » More …

Fall 2006

Laurie Carlson: Doing the things she likes

On the 90-minute commute from Cheney to Pullman to attend graduate school, Laurie Carlson’s eyes often strayed from the road to the cows grazing the rolling hills of the Palouse.

Carlson, who was completing her Ph.D. in history at Washington State University, found herself wondering what the animals were eating, how they were fed, and what their days were like.

To answer her questions, she decided to raise them.

Her interest in the animals also inspired her to write Cattle: An Informal Social History, looking at the symbiotic roles of cattle and humans.

It’s often like that. She recently published a children’s book … » More …

Fall 2004

McDonald at home on the range

At 77, Esther Johnson McDonald is still active in the day-to-day operation of the 9,000-acre Triangle Ranch in Philipsburg, Montana, with her husband of 51 years, John W. “Pat” McDonald. The two met at a bull sale in Missoula. Her mother operated a ranch in Darby, so Esther had an idea what she was getting into. She also had the foresight to earn a degree in animal sciences in 1948.

In years past, she cooked for ranch hands, while raising three sons and five daughters. The ranch is 75 miles southeast of Missoula in a mile-high mountain valley. “Some of the best feeder cattle come … » More …