The 450 pounds of frozen beef in Christie Casey-Braun's garage represent the modest start of a home-delivery service for her family's grass-fed beef.
Alpine Ranch Grass-Fed Beef, raised on the Casey family ranch 60 miles east of Fallon in the Clan Alpine Mountains, partnered with Bootleg Courier Service to deliver prime cuts of beef to customers in the Truckee Meadows. The Caseys typically sell about 1,000 head of cattle each year to a broker, but this year they decided to try a direct approach and build a customer base.
"We have never been able to get our beef directly to customers; we always had a middleman," Casey-Braun says.
Casey-Braun, a stay-at-home mother of two, partitioned off a section of the three-car garage at her south-Reno home to pass USDA inspection and become certified as a food-storage warehouse. Wolf Pack Meats and Ponderosa Meats process the family's beef, which is kept in two commercial freezers until it's shipped to customers in Reno and Sparks.
Customers can order single rib eyes, fillets or New York strip steaks, or as much as a whole cow - between 400 and 500 pounds of beef. So far, the delivery service has served up about eight whole cows worth of beef, Casey-Braun says. Bootleg Courier Service typically delivers orders at nighttime when customers are more likely to be home.
Casey-Braun says the company hopes to expand home-delivery service to Carson City and the Minden-Gardnerville area as Alpine Ranch Grass-Fed Beef builds its brand and customer base. Hungry Mother Organics in Minden carries the company's beef, as does Great Basin Food Co-op in Reno.
"It has definitely boosted sales," she says. "Before we were only able to sell a whole, half or quarter cow, and a quarter is about 100 pounds. Not everybody has room for a second freezer."