River Rock Farm, located in picturesque southern MA, epitomizes the ideal grassy landscape for raising some happy cows. No antibiotics or growth stimulants to be seen here, just some beasts roaming around the paddock with trees for shade and room to spread out. As if that weren’t enough, the meat from these fine animals is dry-aged anywhere from 25-32 days. Happy cows + dry-aging = seriously flavorful beef.
We recently spoke with Charlie Sayer at River Rock Farm to get some insight into why you should check out his product, and what makes it so damn delicious.
SFB: What makes your product different than others?
Charlie: There are more and more grass-fed farms and Mom ‘n Pop operations out there now than at any other time in modern agriculture as awareness has grown about big beef, big Ag, and CAFO beef. With that said, there is a lot of diversity even within the local movement. We pride ourselves on putting out a consistent product that is as reliable as nature allows. Every steer finishes with slightly different proportions, but the consistency of the diet and the aging process allows us to offer the best beef imaginable on a regular basis.
We pride ourselves on putting out a consistent product that is as reliable as nature allows.
SFB: Why is dry-aged beef better?
Charlie: Dry-aged beef is more tender and more flavorful than conventional beef, or wet-aged beef. As the beef hangs, all the moisture evaporates, concentrating the flavor. Just like a good cheese, as the outer layer breaks down and goes to mold, what is left on the inside is more tender after the enzymatic reaction has occurred. It is an old fashioned method, and we lose a significant amount of weight in the process, but you can taste the difference in every cut.
SFB: Which items in particular are dry-aged?
Charlie: After we harvest the animal, we age the whole beef by the side. The carcass is split and hung for 25 to 32 days (in alternating weeks), and then custom butchered to order. This allows for everything to be aged, from trim and ground beef all the way up to the tenderloin.
SFB: Why did you decide to go into this business?
Charlie: I got into the business with a passion for food, a love of working outside, and mostly to honor an old friend. Jon Konove started this farm back in the ’90’s after we volunteered together at the Heifer Project International in Arkansas. He decided to throw some animals on his parents’ land in Central Mass and put up a few fences. He invited me out to work for him and his Dad, Ron, and we built the first post and beam fences in 1996. He kept on building fences, adding animals, and building a business all through college and then took it on full time after he graduated. Meanwhile, I moved to Colorado where I was managing a sales team in Breckenridge for a family run hotel and resort.
Tragically, Jon died in a car wreck in ’08. It was devastating for everyone who knew him. The farm carried on under new management with his father, Ron, carrying the torch. Some years later, the farm needed some revival so my wife and I moved back from Colorado to take over the farm, buy out the family, and keep Jon’s torch burning. Not without our fair share of challenges, things are going great here and the future looks bright.
SFB: Is there anything about your product that you wish more people knew?
Charlie: I think it is important to know that we have antibiotic and hormone free, dry-aged beef. There aren’t too many competitors in that category, and certainly not at our prices.
SFB: What kind of cows do you have?
Charlie: We use mostly Simmental and Angus cows, but we will buy most kinds of beef cattle, as long as they are eaters with good shape and good prospect.
One week pre-order for all cuts needed. Order will arrive on Friday.
Questions about ordering River Rock? Call us (617.427.3200) and ask to speak to Tomas.