Ranchers stake their claim again with 2nd annual Meat-In Day
For Sky-Hi News
Grand County’s 2nd annual Meat-In Day took place over the weekend, giving businesses that rely on meat and agricultural production a chance to showcase themselves. The benefits of Meat-In Day were two-fold. First, businesses could draw in customers through specials and discounts. Second, the event highlighted the importance of agriculture production in the community, especially the raising of livestock.
In Kremmling, Middle Park Meat celebrated the day with the grand opening of their food truck, the Meat Wagon. The Meat Wagon offers barbeque takeout, such as brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, pork or beef quesadillas, polish sausage and jalapeno cheddar brats. Manager Rachelle Wolfe plans to have the food truck eventually deliver barbeque in Kremmling, alongside their pizza delivery service, Mustang Mania Pizza. Their pizzas offer a BBQ twist and are laden with meat.
Middle Park Meat also offered specials inside their storefront. Customers were able to enjoy hamburger and sausage for $5/lb., and 10% off everything else. The business sells a variety of meats, fish, cheeses and sweets. They also offer catering for events.
The store is a long-standing institution in Kremmling, beginning as a meat-processing plant in 1950s. It later became known for selling local meats and supporting ranchers. Current owners Mitch and Christina Lockhart also own Troublesome Meat Processing, which focuses on wild game.
At the event, Kremmling Mercantile, owned by Dave and Karen Hammer, offered free hamburgers. In Granby, Fitch Ranch Meat and Market offered 25% off all their current beef inventory, as well as live music on March 20. The Fitch Family also own Debbie’s Drive In and FR Steakhouse in Grand Lake, they have a long history as a ranching family, and they recently purchased a meat processing plant in Craig.
What all these businesses have in common is that they rely on the agricultural industry for their livelihood. Ranching is built into the fabric of Grand County. In the late 1800s, settlers chose the area for its grassy meadows and abundant water supply, perfect for raising livestock such as cattle and sheep. This tradition has continued into the modern day, with 290 farms operating in Grand County, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The county is also known as a paradise for hunting, drawing in hunters from around the country for elk, deer and moose. For state data, there were 38,700 farms and ranches in Colorado in 2020, with farm cash receipts totaling $7.48 billion in 2019.
The importance of ranching in Grand is undeniable, so when Governor Jared Polis championed a statewide “MeatOut Day” in March of last year, it quickly backfired. Grand County residents wanted to celebrate local meat production and livestock raising, not abstain from it. The Board of County Commissioners declared March 20, 2021, and that date every year after, to be the “Grand County Ranching, Livestock, and MEAT-IN DAY,” according to their resolution. The commissioners stated this was “in order to promote the importance of, and to support, the livestock and agricultural industry in the State of Colorado.”
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