LIVING The best beef, like the ideal suit, is only as good its makers—and Genesee Valley Ranch is grade A above the rest
Photographed by David Hyde
There is nothing quite like the feel of a suit that was designed with your body in mind. The fabric of a garment, its origins, and its production process all dictate the end result—and it’s easy to tell when you’ve found the perfect fit. For beef lovers, the palate experiences such bliss when the meat makes your mouth water just thinking about it, and how it’s produced—from pasture to plate—is of the utmost importance. That process makes all the difference in the world. At Genesee Valley Ranch, product development is on par with a work ethic tied tireless dedication; quality ingredients sourced and maintained with incomparable care; and a prestigious provenance that makes the company one of a kind.
Situated in the centre of legendary California gold country, the Genesee Valley Ranch is nestled within the Plumas National Forest in the Sierra Mountains. The historic and pristine landscape is described as the ‘Napa Valley for exquisite beef’, and with good reason. The combination of an abundant water supply, the high elevation, and sheltered surroundings result in an extraordinary property on which to raise and care for the most superior cattle in the world, resulting in the production of 100 per cent pure-bred black Wagyu beef. But the wine and beef connection doesn’t end there.
The Genesee Valley Ranch owners, Julio and Amalia Palmaz, both hail from Argentinian ranching families where pasture-raised, grass-fed animals are embraced as the norm—not the exception. The ranch is the realization of the Palmaz family’s intention to return to their roots by transforming a forgotten valley in the Sierras with the heritage and values they grew up with in Argentina. Already renowned for their winemaking expertise in Napa Valley with Palmaz Vineyards, two generations of the family have expanded their innovation and invention in that industry into revitalizing a cattle ranch rich in regional history.
Restoring glory to the Genesee Valley region
Throughout each season of the year, the customized care of the Genesee Valley Ranch’s 400 purebred Wagyu cattle herd—which are raised on a diet of organically grown, diversified grass pastures—is led by ranch manager, Michele Haskins.
Haskins, who hails from a fifth-generation ranching family, practises and values a commitment to raising food she feels good about. To ensure that the cows under her care are thriving, Haskins focuses on humane animal husbandry and sustainability, which are beneficial for both the animals and the environment. Every field is rotated with a variety of native grasses to make sure that the land, as well as the cattle, will reap the most benefits from a management program in tune with the environment. Maintaining a respect for the land, and being able to anticipate the herd’s needs in a holistic manner, are top priorities for Haskins and the Palmaz family.
With the support of the Palmaz family, Haskins seamlessly combines traditional ranching practices with 21st-century technology. Agricultural practices at the Genesee Valley Ranch have been optimized with ultrasound to monitor for marbling, and aerial imagery to enhance field rotation, water usage, and harmful weed management. The result is luxurious and humanely nurtured beef of outstanding quality that succinctly combines luxury and sustainability and is definitively different from other commercially raised counterparts.
How high quality reflects limited quantity
As with most premium products, because the quality of the Genesee Valley Ranch beef is so excellent, the quantity is limited and accessible to a small contingent of customers every year. These lucky few are select members of the Brasas Food and Wine Society. The membership offers subscribers the opportunity to experience the Palmaz family’s passion for amazing food and wine. Throughout the year, subscribers receive a bi-monthly shipment of a complete one-sixth of a cow in simple to store and prepare eight to ten conveniently portioned packages. Unlike many luxury food goods, no part of the animal has been wasted because responsible indulgence is of critical importance to the Palmaz family.
Delivered straight to subscribers’ doors, the packages include a variety of prime cuts with corresponding information of each one’s origins, cut descriptions, recipes, and suggested wine pairings. Your refrigerator won’t just be stocked with the best beef—you will also learn more about butchery and explore how different cultures approach cooking with the most coveted, sustainably raised, and responsibility sourced beef in the world. It’s easy to have this waygu delivered to your door through the Brasas Club. There are three ranch memberships available ranging from two to six memberships a year. Each shipment contains approximately eight cuts of meat and ranges from US$525 to US$550 per shipment. À la carte orders are also available by cut or occasion. For example, two 12 oz flat iron steaks are priced at US$40, and for those who love their steak and want to grill for the wow, a rib cut such as a tomahawk cut weighs in at 2–3 lb and is priced at US$210.
Family ambitions and the future
As with the most cherished family ambitions, the next generation of the Palmaz family is currently taking the lead by continuing to revitalize the cattle operation at the Genesee Valley Ranch while enhancing its holdings with the Genesee Store, a former stagecoach stop and restaurant (see sidebar for more details). Under their leadership, the Genesee Store has become a popular destination and local resource for residents of the community as well as intrepid travellers. It’s well worth a visit to indulge in the lavish bounty of the area and to take in the spectacular scenery that offers a wealth of breathtaking views among lush and awe-inspiring surroundings. For those eager to join Brasas Food and Wine Society now, you can sign on for subscriptions at the Genesee Valley Ranch website, or find out more at www.brasasclub.com. •
A cornerstone of cuisine:
Genesee Store is where farm to fork merges with taste and tradition
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