Meat & Seafood News
First, the fish. This case is as well-curated as the Blanton. We can tell you a tale about every fish in it. Each one is locally sourced whenever possible. And every selection follows the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sustainability guidelines. We recommend you strike up a conversation with our fishmongers. They always know the best way to prepare a particular fish and can order you something we don’t have on ice that day.
Which brings us to the meat counter. On any given night this can be the star of your dinner plate. We make our own sausages, rubs and marinades from scratch every single day so it’s easy to bring home something spectacular. Of course we have everything you’d see in any ‘ole butcher case except ALL of our meat is humanely and sustainably raised. We only do business with reputable vendors. Consider what you see in the case as a conversation starter with our butchers. Talk to them about what you have in mind and they can custom cut anything your meat-minded heart desires.
Really Good Chicken — We Promise:
Good Stewardship All our animals are raised compassionately and with a deep appreciation of the gift they give us. We never fed them anything we would be afraid to eat ourselves. By managing the pastures properly and rotating our chickens, we naturally fertilize and restore the earth.
Environmental Responsibility We work with the seasons and the land. We recycle every part of the chicken but the feathers. We minimize the fossil fuel imprint by only selling locally.
Absolute Honesty We encourages farm visits by appointment. (Drop-in visitors will be handed a shovel and put to work!) Come see for yourself.
Community Building We try to source all our supplies locally and we do 95% of our business with small businesses in the area. Our special grain mixture is grown and ground just 15 miles down the road which helps support another farmer in Lee County.
Dewberry Hills Farm, owned by Jane and Terry Levan, has been a partner here at Wheatsville since 2008. Jane’s a former city slicker who’d always dreamed of moving to the country. Terry was raised on a farm in northern Illinois and majored in livestock nutrition while at university. Terry was disheartened by what was being taught—methods that turned animals into commercial commodities with complete disregard to both the health of the animal and the quality and safety of the meat produced.
In 1999, they purchased 20 acres near Lexington Texas, about 50 miles from Austin. After reading Joel Salatin’s books on beef and poultry, they agreed this was the model they would use—diverse, sustainable and run in accordance with nature. They realized that the best use of their limited acreage was to focus on raising really good chicken for their neighbors in the city. They still use sustainable natural methods—rotating their pastures, moving the tents daily and processing onsite.
The life of a farmer can be very difficult. The weather is a huge factor and is beyond the control of the farmer. Here in Texas we have heat and thunderstorms and hurricanes and the occasional cold snap. Another substantial factor is predators. All sorts of wildlife like to eat chickens—from coyotes to predatory birds. There are some collateral pests, like feral hogs, that do not necessarily want to eat the chickens, but want the chicken’s feed and water. The damage can destroy the chicken’s shelter and feeders.
For most chicken farms, the way to deal with both of these issues is to house the chickens in a barn. Controlled climates and four walls will solve both of those issues. Jane and Terry use a different method, based on the Salatin model. “Tents” are constructed in the pasture to work more closely with the needs of the land and the animals. This allows protection from the elements and relative security. A chicken’s digestive system requires small rocks or pebbles to aid in digestion. By letting them roam from an open shelter, they are able to keep busy engaging in what chickens do and they stay happy and healthy. By moving the tents frequently, the fields are fertilized by the chickens.
One of Jane and Terry’s biggest problems, and they agree that it is a good problem, is keeping up with the demand for their chicken. As Wheatsville was setting up it’s own expansion to a second location, Terry and Jane decided it was time to grow as well. Overcoming the limitations of cold storage and the number of chickens they can raise at a time, takes money and time. Luckily Jane and Terry have always supported their fellow local farmers and that kind of goodwill, has been rewarded. Having investment partners like David Perkins at Beatnik Foods and having a guaranteed placement of their product is bringing that expansion to a reality.
Over the years of our relationship with the Dewberry Hills Farm, we have brought in everything that we can, up to and including chicken feet. With the help of Wheatsville owners we have been able to help Dewberry Hills Farm utilize the whole bird and contribute to their sustainability as a business and as stewards of their land and animals.
One of the best things about having such great local products is being able to shake the hand of the person that is raising your food. We have known Terry and Jane now for about nine years and it is always a pleasure to work and grow with them.
Terry’s Simple Roast Chicken
1 Dewberry Hills broiler
Fresh finely chopped rosemary 4-5 sprigs
Fresh finely chopped garlic 3-4 cloves
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Mix garlic and rosemary in olive oil.
3. Gently loosen skin on chicken breast by sliding your hand underneath skin without tearing.
4. Rub skin under breast with oil-herb mixture. Use any leftover mix in cavity.
5. Place chicken breast side up in rack on roasting pan.
6. Roast at 450° for 15-20 minutes or until skin begins to turn a light golden brown.
7. Carefully flip chicken over (Inserting a wooden spoon in the cavity helps with this) and roast an additional 15-20 minutes. Immediately turn oven down to 350°. Turn bird several times as it roasts. It will take about 1.5 hours total to roast a 4.5 pound bird. Your chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted in the breast reaches 165°.
8. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Warning: as you roast the chicken, a wonderful smell pervades your kitchen and may attract members of your family.
To read Jane’s own words about farming visit
Stacy Dudley, "The Paleo Cowgirl", Vice President of Marketing and Hans Van Der Enden, Sales Manager, filled us in on the Pederson's story.
1. How and why did Pederson’s get started?
Based in Hamilton, Texas, we have been producing fresh and smoked natural meat products since 1992. Our mantra is "real people making real food using natural meats raised with humane and environmentally safe practices.
What do you get when you throw two good ol’ boys and lifelong best buds into a business together? Success! Pederson's hired Comanche native Cody Lane for Quality Assurance straight out of college in 2001. With a degree in Ag Business Food and Fiber Marketing from Texas A&M University, Cody quickly gained respect from the owner of the all-natural meats producer. Within a year, Cody was promoted to President of Pederson's Natural Farms. And, it didn't take long for him to realize that this company could grow and grow steadily. With that in mind, he called upon his lifelong best friend Neil Dudley to come work alongside him as Vice President.
Growing up, the pair were respectable and hard working young men. Their personal integrity and work ethic pulses through the company which they've successfully grown since coming on board ten years ago. Since these two Comanche homegrown boys took the reins, the pair have nearly doubled the gross annual sales.
As Cody is celebrating his tenth year with Pederson's, the company celebrates its 20th year as a premier producer of all natural fresh and smoked meat products. Started in 1992 with just two employees and the sale of the famous Applewood Smoked Bacon, Pederson's faced all the obstacles that any small business faces and then some.
Despite two fires leaving the company's production plant in ashes, Pederson's has steadily grown. Pederson's credits its success to its unwavering integrity, and the company is sure to back up their words with actions. With top priorities being safety and quality, Pederson's has taken every rigorous step to become Safe Quality Food (SQF) 2000 Level 3 Certified.
"That certification aligns with everything we value: safety and the highest quality standards. We're of the belief that actions speak louder than words. We can make claims all day long, but this certification brings the highest level of validation,” Cody Lane, President.
The company's down home, honest to goodness business model has been rewarded with loyal employees, a loyal community, and loyal customers – not to mention steady growth. And, Pederson's gladly offers a steadfast loyalty in return. After a devastating fire in June of 2001, the small Texas community of Hamilton rallied around Pederson's in an effort to get the company up and running again. With only one production day lost, Pederson's chose to honor their roots and rebuild in Hamilton County.
The support of countless folks from the very beginning combined with Pederson's principles has culminated in the successful production of superior quality all natural meats. Specifically famous for "makin' bacon", here are some interesting statistics from Pederson's Natural Farms about just how much bacon they make annually:
• 1.5 million pounds of bacon each year
• 21 million slices
• End to end, that's 2,982 miles of bacon
• It's enough bacon to stretch across North America and halfway back
That's a lot of bacon!
Whether asked to reflect on Pederson's first 20 years in business or to look toward the future, Vice President Neil Dudley's assessment remains the same.
“We run our business as a marathon not a sprint. Our goal is to build our business on well-founded relationships! We believe in honesty, safety, quality, and efficiency…in that order. Pederson's Natural Farms isn't the biggest; it's just the best!"
2. How does y’all’s pork differ from other producer’s?
We make food you can feel good about feeding your family. All of our products are made from pork that is humanely-raised without the use of antibiotics or growth stimulants and fed no animal by-products ever. They have no preservatives, no artificial ingredients, and no added nitrites or nitrates. They are gluten free, MSG free, and, aside from the Jalapeño & Cheese Sausage, they are lactose-free, too.
3. Tell us a little about the No Sugar products.
We were listening to our consumers and team members, and we recognized the huge gaping hole in the market. In fact, in 2012, we had a consumer plea submitted on our website that read as follows: "Us health conscience eaters prefer the sugar out of our bacon. Please produce a product that contains NO SUGAR! Your bacon is too sweet for our group of Paleo dieters. Would appreciate your consideration on the matter." Eight weeks later, we took No Sugar Bacon to retail!
So, guess what?! We value the varying and ever evolving needs of health conscious eaters and bacon lovers. We valued the voice of this one single consumer. We made No Sugar Bacon. We are grateful that Pederson's is in the position to provide this kind of superior product to nationally well known and loved markets like Wheatsville that share our same values.
4. What is your favorite thing about Wheatsville?
Wheatsville is a grassroots Texas local co-op that sells good for you foods. They are a big supporter of Pederson's Natural Farms. We deeply appreciate that!
5. Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share?
BIG NEWS! Our Meat Department is now using Fresh Seal packaging (also known as vacuum-pack) at both stores. This new packaging improves the shelf life of our fresh-cut meat and prevents food waste by slowing down the rate of oxidation.
Why we like it:
- keeps meat fresher longer
- inhibits the growth of pathogens
- leak-proof packaging
- prevents food waste
- marinates ready-to-cook better
- perfectly packaged for freezing
It also allows us to:
- offer the same great products
- keep the same great brands
- cut our meat fresh in-house
- offer more variety
As part of our Guadalupe store refresh, we will be moving our meat production to the S.Lamar store and removing our full-service meat and seafood cases (Guadalupe ONLY). While we know that this move disappoints some shoppers, we hope that the increase in variety and superior packaging provides the fresh items you need to make great meals.
If you have a special order or request, we are more than happy to accommodate with 24-48 hours notice. Please make requests at the Guadalupe Deli Counter or call our S.Lamar meat department and request delivery to Guadalupe: 512-814-2888.
Sustainability can be a tricky word. It has ideals and emotions attached to it and it can be challenging to define. We know that what ever we deem sustainable, it should have a conscientious impact on the environment, the life cycle and quality of life of the organism in question. Seafood has been a staple protein in cultures the world over for thousands of years. Technology and mastery of fishing technique have brought us into dangerous territory and it's necessary to make sure that our fishing practices are maintaining themselves for generations to come.
Eco systems and environments have different needs. Fresh water fish are very different than salt water fish and require different standards and practices to maintain their sustainability. Almost all fresh water fish must be farmed to be sustainable. There are plenty of farms, whether they be recirculating tanks or pens in a river that have standards that pass the peer reviewed science of the Monterey bay Aquariums Seafood Watch program.
The Seafood Watch program is Wheatsville's main standard for choosing our seafood selection. We also use the Marine Stewardship Council and EU standards such as the RSPCA.
What does this mean to our seafood shoppers? It means we do the best we can to make sure that the seafood you buy from Wheatsville is clean, safe and socially responsible. Enjoy our seafood selection and feel confident that you are eating responsibly.
Wheatsville has been offering Bastrop Cattle Company Beef for many years now. We are privileged to be able to offer beef that is raised entirely on grass and in pasture their whole lives right here in Texas. Pati Jacobs helps the ranching community here in Texas by utilizing cattle from other local ranchers. This helps keep families on the land and by sharing the same standards, protocols and values we get beef that is raised right and is consistently top notch. Pati was kind to take time to answer a few questions for us:
How did you get started in ranching?
My family went into ranching when I was a child. I learned how to work cattle from my Mom and Dad. After my Dad died and my Mom became sick, my brother and I returned to the ranch (from living and working overseas) to take care of Mom and raise cattle. At the time, I thought there had to be a better way to make a living than just raising the calves and selling them across the auction ring. That's when my brother, Cleve, and I started doing all grass fed (2008) and looking to sell direct to customers.
What is your philosophy about raising cattle?
My folks always raised cattle on grass, but during my Dad's life the USDA started pushing the hormone implants and all kinds of stuff like heavily fertilizing the grass and using herbicides and pesticides. My Mom started getting away from that when she took over the ranch after his death. My brother and I had been looking at the grass fed movement and so we just decided to stop using all the artificial chemicals and went straight natural and organic. Even though we're not certified organic, there hasn't been any chemicals on the ranch in over eight years. We also started working with other family ranchers because we knew we would need more cattle than we could raise by ourselves.
Everyone who works with us commits to NOT using any antibiotics or hormones and no fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides on their ranches.
We also think that the better you handle the animals, the better the beef. We use low impact handling methods on the cattle. This means having them gentle enough where you can call them into corrals and enclosures to work with them. We don't use prod sticks or any rough ways of moving them. We use squeeze shuts to immobilize them when we need to check them.
Also, the processing plant where we take the calves has a humane approved butcher.
How do your ranching practices differ from large scale ranching?
The difference between our ranches and our cattle and the big Agro-industry operations is:
- Our animals are on grass all their life. They are pastured and are free to roam within the rotation programs that we have. This means that they are not standing in their own manure being force fed on grains and other additives.
- They never receive hormones or antibiotics (if an animal becomes sick and we have to treat them with antibiotics then they are not sold for human consumption. They are on natural grasses, fresh water and are not exposed to any chemicals.
- Our cattle are processed at a small, family owned processing facility in Schulenburg where each and every one is inspected by a State Inspector who also makes sure that they are killed properly and that the meat is healthy. This is not an assembly line processing plant. They take great pride in handling the animals properly and they cut up the meat with skill and pride.
What is your favorite thing about Wheatsville?
Wheatsville Co-op has carried our product from the very beginning of the start of the company. You helped me get started by offering a place for me to sell my beef.
Wheatsville is a great place that really cares about what you offer and you are very honest about where those products come from, how they have been raised, grown, handled and made. I come in once or twice a week to do deliveries to you and I always buy my vitamins, cheeses, breads and veggies from you. I know I'm getting what you say it is!!
The TrollerPoint Fishery is a family owned and operated Alaskan fishery, one of the most responsibly managed fisheries in the world. Alaskan seafood is one of the states greatest and necessary resources and Alaskans take their seafood sustainability very seriously.
Mark Hoffman and his family fish for King and Coho Salmon seasonally. They fish using hook and line tools, pulling each fish out the water one fish at a time. This method pretty much eliminates bycatch and has virtually no impact on the environment where they fish. The fish are immediately processed and then flash frozen right there on the boat. These fish go from the water to the freezer in a matter of minutes. This preserves the flavor, texture and freshness. Mark also offers products caught by some of his fisherman friends such as the sea scallops from TrollerPoint, which are sustainably fished by a friend of his.
Check out the TrollerPoint web site and you can also follow them on facebook. http://trollerpoint.com/