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Rebuilding a Dexter Beef Business Post Covid


Bob & Carrie Curlee own Crest Point Farms in Grass valley, CA. Their 80+ acres in northern California are certified organic as is their Dexter beef that they were raising and selling via a contract with a local restaurant. They had a multi-year business plan that would accommodate the grass-fed beef needs of the then new upscale Watershed restaurant in downtown Grass Valley.


But when Covid shut everything down, the Watershed, like so many other dining establishments could not financially weather the duration of the pandemic and eventually closed its doors.



Luckily, people did not stop wanting and eating excellent beef and the demand is stronger than ever, so Bob and Carrie started looking for alternative ways to sell their Dexter beef.


They first found a local online website (TheFarmersMarketplace.com) that connects farmers and buyers.


Bob says, ”A person can go to the website Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, shop the products that are available, place an order and pay all from the site. We are notified what was ordered on Wednesday. Then we deliver the product to the pick-up site by noon on Thursday. The Farmers Marketplace then distributes it to the buyers. Unlike selling at a farmers market, I don’t have to be there. This makes it very easy for us. We were already getting our beef USDA certified so the switch from one contract with a restaurant to quazi-retail sales was an easy one.”


Bob and Carrie also found a PMA (private membership association) Renegade Ranch Provisions in Penn Valley, CA who have an actual store that they sell product from local farmers/producers to their members. This “membership” buying model eliminates the need, expense and hassle to USDA certify their beef and also allows a ranch slaughter, which Bob and Carrie believe is much more humane to the cattle which is an added selling point.



Carrie says, “We were asked by Renegade Ranch to be a part of their grand opening. We were happy to bring ground Dexter beef to cook right there so people could taste it and enjoy. Dexter beef is so delicious. The response was excellent. Our first 20 lbs of Dexter beef sold out in less than a week, so we are excited at the potential as more folks get to try it.”


“Losing our restaurant contract due to Covid was challenging, but we are optimistic that by combining these other alternatives we will come out of this pandemic crisis in good shape, without the need to cull our herd number down.”


Bob Curlee serves on the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association board as a Regional Representative and hopes to influence the creation of a Purebred Irish Dexter Beef certification program to standardize, legitimize and promote the sale of authentic grass-fed Irish Dexter beef.




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