Cattle Ranch sees sales surge as pandemic fuels concerns

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TRABUCO CANYON, Calif .– Due to new attention, these are grass-fed cows turned to cash cows. Why?

“When you are a hunter and you go into a field that is usually overflowing with game and there is nothing standing in the field, you stop what you are doing and go look elsewhere”, Frank Fitzpatrick, owner of 5 Beef bar, said.

In this case – the buyers are the hunters, the fields that normally team up with the game are the grocery stores, and the other part – is 5 Bar Beef, Fitzpatrick’s ranch. Off the beaten track of Orange County, this sprawling family ranch has around 700 head of cattle. And never before had Fitzpatrick seen such a demand.

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“I have sold more meat in the past three weeks than I have sold in the past six months,” he said.

Fitzpatrick has been in the cow business for 40 years. He says he normally sells 50-75 halves a year, and he’s sold 44 in the past few weeks. But not just half cows; people buy whole cows.

They get the meat in the mail and then freeze it. Meat from half a cow costs $ 2,300, a full cow costs $ 4,600. Fitzpatrick says a full cow would last a family of four a year.

“When the shelves in the grocery store run out, people look for alternatives,” Fitzpatrick said. “If you google meat in SoCal, I’m the first on the list. People are looking for something to eat. They want a clean food source if this thing goes a little long term.”

Fitzpatrick says the demand has come a long way; all over LA and Orange Counties, even down to Santa Barbara.

The Acosta family have been buying beef from Fitzpatrick for years. And now more than ever, they want their grass-fed meat because they try to stay as healthy as possible.

“We are getting closer to what we eat. Broths from bones, livers, trying to strengthen our immune system, ”said Joaquin Acosta.

Fitzpatrick knows these desperate times call for extreme measures, but he’s hoping people love the meat on his ranch, so it’s more than 15 minutes of fame for these cows.


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