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At Wild Earth Texas, the cattle eat where they roam

December 20, 2018

Rachel Wilson, born and raised in Beaumont, has traveled the world, but she came back to bless Southeast Texas with grass-fed beef. Wilson’s company, Wild Earth Texas, raises and sells 100 percent grass-fed cattle.

“Wild Earth grew out of a long family history of beef cattle ranching in southeast Texas, a desire to become a business owner, and a passion for local food,” Wilson said. “Our family has been raising beef cattle in Jefferson County for seven generations — over 196 years. I graduated with an agriculture business degree from Texas State University and I was proud come back to continue my family’s work on the ranch.”

The ranch home — built of two “shotgun houses” pushed together — dates to 1910. Wilson lived on the ranch with her family in grade school before moving into town.

“My dad laid a great genetic foundation for our herd for quality beef and practiced true land stewardship and management of the coastal prairies and marshes that make up the ranch,” she said. “It’s a tough environment for animals and humans alike but with historical wisdom, modern technology, and natural management it can be very productive.

“Four years ago, we decided to test the waters and actually see what our beef tasted like as completely a grass-fed product. Two years later we were taking our first steer to processing. We were so impressed by the quality, marbling, and flavor profile that I decided to build a business on it.”

She says diners will notice the difference.

“What many people don’t know about grass-fed meats is the flavor profile is based entirely on the pasture it’s raised on — much like different types of honey. You’ve had clover, tallow, lavender, orange blossom honey, and beef is similar. It will taste like whatever its diet is.

“This means that the flavor can change season to season and annually depending on your pasture management. That’s where the taste testing comes in. This gives the opportunity to create and offer a bio-regional flavor profile that is completely unique to our area.”

Wilson lives and works on the ranch with Lily, her 6-year-old golden retriever. Lily is always by Wilson’s side, even though she is allergic to grass. The two work hard to keep the ranch running smoothly every day, whether they are feeding chickens, delivering beef or maintaining a digital inventory of the cattle.

“One of my favorite aspects of my job is that you rarely have the same day twice,” Wilson said.

Wilson says community involvement is crucial in her line of work. There can be just as many benefits for the community as there are for businesses when the community becomes involved in the quality of food that it receives.

“I think the food production industry generally has been taken for granted a bit,” Wilson said. “We can stop by the grocery and have foods from all over the world in seemingly endless variety. As a society we have forgotten the amount of true work it takes to bring food from creation to plate.”

Wild Earth Texas is sold at Gather: Paleo Café and Market in Nederland and Monica’s restaurant in Beaumont.

It also is at the farmer’s market on College Street, Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m March to December.

Betty Davis Pruitt is a freelance writer for cat5

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