Mike Gale Chileno Beef

Spring 2016 Newsletter

Greetings from Chileno Valley!

What a difference an El Nino year makes!

The abundant rainfall has filled both our dams, our four ponds are overflowing, and the seven springs are as healthy as they have ever been. It is truly a wonderful sight to see all the grass and wildflowers. After all those years of drought, we are now building up again — and it is a good feeling! The overall rainfall to date is 24 inches, our yearly average, and there seems to be more on the way. The ONLY drawback to all this rain is that we only start the beef harvest after the grass begins to turn so we may be starting a couple of weeks later this year — time will tell.

In 2015, we lost both of our two black and white Springer Spaniels, Mac and Toby, to illness. It was, as most dog owners know, a loss in the family that we grieved over for several months. However, in December, Sally and I drove up to Portland to pick up Pip, our new Tri-color Springer who made 6 months this week. Also, we have adopted a ‘bummer’ (abandoned) lamb, which we named Nutmeg. His prognosis was not good at birth, but he has made steady gains and is now over 6 lbs. Pip loves this little guy and they spend a lot of time together. Nutmeg will be a huge hit with the kids at the Sunday apple U-picks in the Fall.

This is the time we let you know about the availability of beef and lamb for 2016: the cost will remain the same for both beef ($3.50/lb.) and lamb ($7.00/lb.). The final cost is based on the “hot,” or hanging, weight of the carcass. The hanging weight is the weight of the carcass when it comes into the butcher shop and is put into the cooler to age. As the beef carcass ages, and during the cut and wrap, the weight will shrink about 15 to 20%. We believe that this is the fairest way to price the beef.  Lamb is not aged, so there is no shrink.

As in the past, organ meats — liver and heart — are included with the order at no additional cost. If you wish oxtail, tongue, or cheeks, they can be purchased separately. When the butcher calls to let you know that your order is ready for pickup, let them know of your interest in any of the organ cuts as they are not automatically added to the packages.

To start the process of purchasing beef, you need to send us a deposit. The amount of your deposit check continues to be $350/qtr. or $700 or a half or side of beef. You will receive an email from us letting you know your confirmation number and an estimate as to when your beef will be ready. When you pick up your beef at Ibleto Meats in Cotati, you will leave Vicky Ibleto the second check to make up the difference between the deposit and the hanging weight, and you will also pay Ibleto’s separately for the cut and wrap. There may be a few cases where we owe you the difference and we can either add some additional hamburger or have a check waiting for you at Ibleto’s.

PLEASE NOTE: the deposit is based on the expectation that the hot weight of a typical beef carcass will be around 500 lbs. That weight of 500 lbs x $3.50/lb = $1,750. Added to that figure is $140, which covers the cost of trucking the animal to Petaluma for harvest and the actual “kill charge,” for a total of  $1,890. With a deposit of $1,400 for a whole beef, the balance due would be $490, or $122.50/qtr. If the weight is significantly higher, as it can be, the balance due can be substantial. There is a small advantage for the customer in a greater weight, as the fixed cost of $140 is spread over more take-home lbs. My best guess is that the final weights will be above average as the abundant grass is putting on pounds at a faster rate than in the past.

Our artisan butchers, Ibleto Meats in Cotati, continue to cut and wrap the old way, with double layered butcher paper. Their cut and wrap fee is $1.00/lb, which is also based on the hanging weight. Vicky or Mark Ibleto may be reached at (707) 545-1054. For those customers who prefer shrink wrap, we use Bud’s Custom Meats in Cotati. Their cut and wrap fee is $.90/lb.

Our beef is available from May through October. Orders are filled on a first paid basis, except for orders of a whole animal, in which case the customer can tell us exactly when they wish to have the order ready for pick up. We usually sell out by the end of summer.

ORDERING BEEF:  As before, you may send your checks to:

Mike Gale (Check made out to “Gale Livestock”)
Chileno Valley Ranch
5105 Chileno Valley Road
Petaluma, CA 94952

707-765-6664 / Email Mike


ORDERING LAMB: If you wish to order lamb for the late fall of 2016, please send a check to:

Sally Gale
5105 Chileno Valley Road
Petaluma, CA 94952

707-766-6664 / Email Sally

Deposit amount is $100 for a half a lamb or $200 for a whole lamb. This will ensure your place on the list of lamb buyers. There are 40 lambs available.

Note that, as with beef, we need your phone number and email address, and that there are also fees associated with the harvest, transportation, butchering, and wrapping.