Summer’s All About That Beef

Snohomish Hay + Cattle

Snohomish Hay + Cattle is more than just a local business and farm that produces some of the best beef around, it is a family, one full of an eclectic set of characters, little farmhands, and a lot of love and fun. If you follow along with them on Instagram (@snohomishhayandcattle), then you have an idea of what I’m talking about. If you don’t, do it now, seriously, it’s my favorite account!

At the head of the family is husband and wife duo, Rob and McKahl Enge. They inherited the opportunity just over seven years ago after Ron’s uncle passed away, along with four female cows and a bull. While it wasn’t what was in their plans at the time, the two leapt both feet into it, prepared for the sacrifices that would have to be made, and determined to make a living as cattle farmers.

Fast forward to the present and they now have a herd of Ancient White Park and British White Cattle that is 50 strong, and rent not only a barn and yard, but massive pastures in Snohomish and on Camano Island for their cattle to roam freely, eating the grass that makes them so gosh darn delicious It feels beyond wrong to say that, especially after spending the day with all of them, but it’s so true! I’m not the only one that thinks so either.
“What made me really want to [take this on] was the first time I tried the beef. I was like WOW! It was so good!

The credit goes to the cows though. They are a heritage breed animal, they’ve never been crossed like Angus beef cows which are corn fed. When you try to grass feed a corn fed cow, it just doesn’t have the same flavor.

Our animals, they are strictly hay and grass fed. They have a natural ability to marble the meat and spend 24-36 months on it to get to that point. It takes a bit longer, but you get pure quality without all the crap in it. You’ll try it and you’ll go wild.” – Rob

I’m with Rob, once you go grass fed you’ll never go back. Okay, you will, but beef will never taste the same again. Ever since I first sank my teeth into a high quality grass fed burger, every other burger since has just been ordinary. It’s ruined other burgers for me, and local restaurants and drive-in’s are having to work that much harder to impress me when it comes to their other offerings.

Give me time though, maybe I can convert them over to the local grass fed side and improve all of our dining experiences.

All this beef talk is probably making you hungry, so we should probably get back to the story. The cattle behind the beef, they are the eclectic set of characters I was referring to earlier. On more than one occasion they have literally had me laughing out loud after seeing photos or videos of them on Instagram. They deserve to be on a reality TV show, maybe cows do the darnedest things. Just an idea.

 

At the head of the heard is Mad Max (middle right photo), a one ton, muscley hunk of meat (pun intended).

“Max is the biggest cow we have. He is the bull, the baby maker. He is in charge, but that’s okay, cause he is a money maker as well.” – McKahl

Initially I had some doubts as to just how big he, and some of the other cows are. They looked huge on Instagram, but I blew it off as good angles. After seeing them up close and personal though, and photos of them wearing hats, I was a believer. He is most definitely a big boy, and a gentle one at that, despite his name.

My favorite posts about him, by far, has to be him trying to lick his side. He literally puts his whole body into trying to accomplish swinging his massive head around trying to reach, only to fail over and over. My fellow big people out there, the struggle is real.

Moving on, the queen of the herd (at least according to me), Mae (bottom right photo). Her reddish brown coat makes her stand apart from the rest, and she just might be the nicest cow you will ever meet.

“She is only three days older then our daughter. She is so special to us. She’s a hot mess. She lost her tag, she’s blind in one eye, and has lost a tooth, but she’s like a pet.

She’s a licker, super curious. She follows you. She’d probably even get if she could. She will bug you like there’s no tomorrow” – McKahl

McKahl’s description couldn’t be more accurate. Mae was doing some motherly licking of a fellow cow when we walked into the barnyard, then followed us around attempting to lick us several times with her massive tongue. It was beyond cute.

While a good number of the cows have names, some do not, and sometimes its with good reason. Instead they are called by their tag number. We got to meet one of them out in the field, and he was definitely as big of a character as the rest, just not in a good way.

“He’s nuts! 2123 (said like an inmate number), me and him have battled with large sticks and t-posts. [He] knows who I am, he doesn’t get a name” – McKahl

Big cows aside, the calfs, the little farmhands, the future of Snohomish Hay + Cattle, are just as important. Throughout our visit they were the center of attention, as they very well should be. They are the cutest and funniest members of the family after all.

We were fortunate enough to meet new member Pepsi (bottom left photo), on our visit. It wasn’t hard to spot the little guy either. He was the cleanest and whitest cow in the barnyard and adorably still getting his bearings, That includes trying to find his mom among the many similar looking females in the barnyard.

Maybe he can get some help from the equally adorable McKenna (3) and McKayla (2). Despite their age, Rob and McKahl’s daughters are already very much a part of the farm, each with clearly defined roles about what their future in it will be.

McKenna is destined to be the boss. As we prepared to walk into the barnyard, it was her that said “come see our cows.” She could also be heard throughout our time in it giving us bits of information and telling the cows what to do – “you stay Mae.” She is definitely the future brains behind the operation.

As for McKayla, she is more of a hands on kind of girl, the brawn. She paid us no mind, instead opting to be off pretending to work in the hay and sitting a top a tractor. She was clearly ready to get her hands dirty and pitch it regardless of how small she may be. I wish my pre-teens and teens had that kind of worth ethic.

 

Snohomish Hay + Cattle is truly a family affair, and as I said in the beginning, much more than just a local business and farm. You can appreciate the comedy and beauty of their cattle (yes, you can go visit them too),, as well as the amazing flavor of their beef, but don’t forget that when it comes to choosing the beef you want to use at home.

The Enge’s are the perfect example of why choosing local is important. They are family doing what they love and trying to make the highest quality and most natural product for their customers. They are a family trying to support themselves and make their dream a reality. They are a family that is working on the side, while spending long days and nights at the barn and in the field to make all of that possible. They are more than worthy of your support, and I hope that you do so.

“Everything we make from this and everything we are doing right now, it all goes right back into the farm and the cows. We want to make a living doing this.” – Rob

Find out more about them, and order, at:
www.snohomishhayandcattle.com

The Beef …

Snohomish Hay + Cattle produces 100% natural, USDA approved, grass fed beef. It is available in a variety of cuts, including:

Ground Beef – Hamburger Patties – Carne Asada – Stir Fry – Tenderloin – Skirt Steak – Tri-Tip – Flank – Rib Eye – Chuck Roast

Available through their website and at Snohomish Co-Op, 168 Lincoln Ave.

If you are a monthly print or web subscriber, you can catch my recipe for the perfect summer burger using beef from Snohomish Hay + Cattle HERE.

Did you know that this article, as well as all of the others featured on our website are part of a monthly magazine. Our monthly magazine is available in both electronic and print form (yes, you read right, print!).

Monthly and annual subscriptions can be bought HERE

Let us know what you think! Share your comments and experiences below and don’t forget to spread the love on social media at the bottom of the page.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *