April 23, 2015 (Boise, ID) – Strolling through the Capital City Public Market, I was drawn to one of the booths not by a colorful sign, nor an enticing aroma. Instead, it was a tall, young man, dressed like a rancher, and wearing the signature Stetson. His name was Hoss. He had an easy smile and warmly greeted people walking by.
Next I was struck by a photo at his booth of a hairy cow that looked more like a woolly mammoth. The horns were long and spread wide like long horn cattle I had seen elsewhere, but the shaggy hair is what made it so intriguing. It can grow up to about 13″ in length. The reason it doesn’t look like a regular cow is because it is not. These are Scottish Highland Cattle. They are the oldest bovine on record, going back to at least the 16th century in the Scottish Highlands. The hair is their protection against harsh terrain and bitter winds. They were first shipped to America in the 1800’s and have been growing in popularity ever since. Though it’s still hard to find a local rancher who raises them. It is estimated that there are only 50,000 registered Scottish Highland cattle in North America.
The young rancher explaining this to me was the personable ranch foreman, Hoss, son of owner, Shad Cupp. They are manning their Capital City Public Market booth today along with Hoss’s sister, Calli. Chatting with them is like visiting with old friends. This is not just a local business. It is also a family business in the true sense of the word. Everyone has a part in the operations, and they love what they do.
They are passionate about Big Valley Ranch and the cattle they raise. The roots of their business are interesting. They first started the ranch five years ago to be able to feed their family good, clean nutrition that they found lacking in so many supermarkets. From there, it flourished into a family business. The nutritional statistics on Scottish Highland Cattle are quite astounding. The cholesterol per serving is less than half that of traditional beef or tuna. While the fat grams per serving on commercial cuts of conventional beef are over 15%, theirs is a mere 4.5%. Even chicken with the skin on measures in at twice the fat of theirs. The reason for this is simple. Their long haired coat offers sufficient protection from the cold that they don’t need a thick layer of fat under the skin. It is also substantially higher in protein than other cuts of beef or chicken.
Would you be surprised to learn that the cattle at Big Valley Ranch love to be brushed, enjoy human contact, and are a gentle and sweet breed? Even King Bruce, their bull, knows his name and responds when he hears it. They are great foragers, and the natural elements in which they roam no doubt add to the quality of the steaks, roasts, and other tasty cuts. Being raised
humanely, with no hormones, steroids or antibiotics, results in a meat that is tender, succulent, well-marbled, and full of flavor.
You can also purchase pork products from the Cupps. Come visit them at the market and pick up a roast, some steaks, sausages, or burgers for the barbeque. You can also buy in bulk and fill your freezer. If you call Becki Jo at 208-870-4286 you can arrange a visit to the ranch, pet the cows, meet some of the family, and even pick out the animal of your choosing for a bulk purchase.
We couldn’t write about this without checking it out for ourselves, so my husband and I bought steak for the barbeque. We were not disappointed. It wasn’t just tasty and tender, but we knew where it came from, and how the cattle were raised.
Why does the family behind Big Valley Ranch love the Capital City Public Market? “This is our second year here and the people are great” says Hoss. “They help each other setting up, and come around to talk. We’re local. We’re neighbors here.”
It’s a brand new season at the Capital City Public Market. As usual it’s bustling with energy. Come on down. See some familiar faces you know from past years and meet some new ones too. Check out the farmers, ranchers, wine makers, artisans, bakers, and everyone in between. Drop by the Big Valley Ranch booth, meet the family, and tell them hi from us.