Five years ago, retired news anchor Bill Kurtis founded Tallgrass Beef in Sedan, Kan. “Our all-natural, grass-fed beef comes from cattle that roam freely in open pastures. These stress-free, confinement-free cattle are fed no unnatural supplements, no synthetic hormones and no antibiotics,” says Kurtis. Former Mississippi State University animal geneticist and meat consultant Allen Williams is the CEO of Tallgrass Beef. Some key health benefits of grass-fed beef are higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, which have been shown in animal studies to protect them against cancer.

Tallgrass Beef products are sold in grocery and specialty stores across the Midwest. Products also can be ordered from the company’s website. Popular beef cuts include New York strip steaks, beef rib-eye steaks and steak burgers. The company uses ultrasound technology to safely and humanely see inside their living cattle and to detect the right amount of marbling and muscle to produce tender-tasting beef. A companion book, called The Prairie Table Cookbook (2008, Sourcebooks Inc.), containing some of the country’s well-known celebrity chefs’ recipes using Tallgrass Beef, also can be purchased.  

Signature Foods

Deer Valley Resort, in Park City, Utah, has a line of retail food products called Deer Valley Signature food--all derived from the popular demand of the resort’s restaurant and banquet menus. The product line includes the resort’s best-selling turkey chili mix, jumbo cookie mix (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and double chocolate chip), honey-Dijon vinaigrette, sherry-pecan vinaigrette, grilling marinade, cilantro lime glaze and a Southwestern seasoning mix.

Executive pastry chef Letty Flatt was the brainchild behind this concept. “We listened to our customers, and we gave them what they asked for.” Chef Flatt is currently working on an energy bar not loaded with sugar and caffeine. If successful, it will also be sold and marketed under the Deer Valley Signature Foods brand. Ten years ago, he wrote a cookbook called Chocolate SnowBall, which has several of Deer Valley Resort’s recipes from its restaurant and banquet menus. This resort consistently ranked number one in food and beverage by readers of the Zagat Guide and Ski Magazine.

Food Trends

One of the newest culinary trends is when a chef takes a traditional (old) recipe and builds upon it by using new flavors. FIN, also located in Utah, has a menu that reflects this trend--an Asian-inspired restaurant, using mountain/Western-influenced ingredients. On the menu, there is an appetizer/small plate section containing Pork Belly & Tuna (braised, fresh bacon, Ahi tuna-avocado tartar, pine nut wonton crackers, wasabi peas and coulis). There is also an entrée called Duo of Rabbit (seared tenderloin and braised rabbit leg with five-bean salad and red-rock feta and parsley vinaigrette).

This trend also has moved to the retail market. Partners Crackers has taken the flavors of crackers to a new, gourmet level. The company’s goal was to produce delicious and unique products for the consumer. The company’s new line of product flavors includes Asiago & Black Pepper, Olive Oil & Sea Salt, Roasted Garlic & Rosemary, Parmesan & Herb and Sun-Dried Tomato & Herb. They also have a line of gourmet flat breads.

Beet It

Beets are usually marketed as pickled products. However, owners Marie and Danny Lena, of Papa Lena’s Company, launched a line of beet hummus products. They also have a line of retail Beet Chips and Spicy Hot Pepper Chips.

The hummus product line includes a Regular Flavor Beet Hummus, Beet Garlic Hummus and Spicy Hot Beet Garlic Hummus. They are marketed as all-natural, gluten-free, 100% vegan and trans fat-free. The popular, Spicy Hot Beet Garlic Hummus is made of garbanzo beans, water, sesame tahini, soybean oil, Papa Lena’s Beet Chips (beets, olive oil, sea salt), Papa Lena’s Hot Pepper Chips (poblano peppers, Serrano peppers, ancho chilies, red pepper flakes, olive oil, sea salt, roasted garlic seasoning, lemon juice, olive oil, cultured maltodextrin, salt, sugar, modified cornstarch, granulated toasted onion.)  

Teton Valley Ranch introduced a new line of frozen, side dish potatoes that are quickly prepared in the microwave. They are fully cooked potato pieces, packaged in a 26oz bag. The flavors are Bacon Cheddar, Broccoli Cheddar, Sour Cream & Chives and Chipotle Cheddar. Robert Weis, director of marketing, stated these toppings and flavors were chosen based on years of research that concluded Cheddar cheese with bacon was the most popular flavor, followed by sour cream and chives.

Duncan Hines has a new product called Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Decadent Carrot Cake Mix. Duncan Hines reported three out of four consumers who tasted this product said it is equal to or better than a homemade carrot cake.

Website Resources:

www.tallgrassbeef.com – Bill Kurtis’ grass-fed beef company
www.papalena.com – Papa Lena’s hand-made, specialty foods
www.deervalley.com – Information on the variety of dining options at Deer Valley Resort