By Jack King
When Margaret George and her husband Jacob began preparing natural beef for themselves and a few friends four years ago, they had no idea it would turn into a business with outlets around eastern New Mexico.
Today the Georges sell beef from their ranch near Trujillo, under the label “Living Waters Ranch,” through distributors in Clovis, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Las Vegas and Conchas Dam.
Living Waters Ranch beef comes from cattle who have been given no hormones or antibiotics, George said.
“They’re grass raised on our ranch. Then we put them in a wheat field. We have our own lot, with large yards, where we put them for finishing on a high-corn mix from Mesa Feeds,” George said.
Finally, she said, the animals are slaughtered, then processed in Clovis at Brian’s Custom Processing and Cortese’s Meats.
“So, we have close control from the birth of the cattle through processing,” George said.
Natural and organic beef is becoming popular around the nation, because people are becoming more health conscious, George said.
But, for many Living Waters customers, the issue is just taste, George said.
“Our beef comes from Black Angus cows, which are known for the marbling, tenderness and flavor of their meat. We hang the meat for 17 days — we can hang it for a longer or shorter time on request — and we can provide custom cuts,” she said.
“We’re now processing two animals a month and we can’t keep the steaks in the stores. They’re gone 48 hours after they appear,” she said.
At its outlets, Living Waters also offers roasts, lean ground beef and premium cuts. The company also can provide special cuts, halves and quarters on request, George said.
In Clovis, Living Waters Ranch beef is sold only at the Wholey Cow deli, 121 East Seventh St.
Doug Krueger, owner of the Wholey Cow, said the partnership has been good for both his delicatessen and Living Waters Ranch beef.
“It gives her a place to sell her beef and customers come in and see our other products, such as our gourmet cheeses, soup mixes, salads and sandwiches,” he said.