Co-op Business Partner Profile: Maple K Farms LLC

Tom and Cheryl Kammerzell, owners of Maple K Farm LLC, have been raising Scottish Highland cattle since 1997.  They currently have 54 head of cattle: ten breeding cows, two bulls and 42 heifers and steers. Highland cattle are one of four breeds that have never been genetically altered.  They have short legs, long hair and long horns. Tom and Cheryl care about the quality of life of their cows. Their cows are raised naturally with no antibiotics, steroids, or hormones.  Tom and Cheryl have loyal customers who have been buying their cattle for 18 years because of how the animals are cared for.

The cows are grass-fed from the day they are born until they are harvested.  Tom said, “Grass-fed cows taste way different.  Our customers liken it to light elk.”  The lean, flavorful meat requires different cooking techniques, so new customers are given cooking instructions and recipes.

The couple also makes harvesting as stress-free as possible for the cattle.  Their processor comes to their property to avoid hauling the animals elsewhere.  Tom had a front row seat when Temple Grandin came to speak at WSU.  He was inspired by her suggestion to look at things from the perspective of the cows. This led to moving some fencing and adjusting flight patterns – keeping the cows more calm.

Tom and Cheryl live on the property Tom's grandparents purchased in 1936. His grandmother used a wood stove for cooking and heating up until 1994.  They have since updated and added an addition to the house. 

When he was young, Tom spent much time on the farm with his grandparents and found farm life very satisfying.  When he was older, he went to work in a feed lot in Kansas, where they used artificial means to increase production, including hormones and antibiotic implants.  As he observed this process, Tom became concerned about the beef he was feeding his children. He realized that the process was all about the money and getting cows to harvest faster.  He feels good now about producing beef that is natural and healthier for people and cows.  Their cattle are raised for 29 months, unlike the 18 months typical for traditional cattle production. 

Cheryl grew up in Illinois and moved to Florida and West Virginia before coming west. Her background is in special education.  She worked in Steptoe as a teacher and administrator for 15 years before quitting to focus on the cattle business.  Thinking of Temple Grandin's techniques, she finds it interesting to apply psychology to animals instead of children.

Tom and Cheryl taught an intern class for the University of Idaho. Their students experienced various aspects of the business hands on.  The students who were most successful were those willing to listen and learn.  One student told them he learned more in six months with them than he did in his university classes.

Tom and Cheryl wear many hats. They have worked on projects to improve water quality, utilizing cross fencing, and on wind power.  Currently they are working on creating wetlands on their property as wetland mitigation for the land that will be lost with the new airport realignment. So far, 29,000 native trees and bushes have been planted over 200 acres. 

To learn more about Maple K Farms LLC and their naturally grown beef, check out their website: http://maplekhighlands.com/

MAPLE K FARMS LLC IS A MOSCOW FOOD CO-OP BUSINESS PARTNER

·      Through our Business Partner Program, Co-op owners receive a discount on locally owned businesses that partner with the Co-op, and the Co-op promotes our locally owned partners.

·      At Maple K Farms LLC members receive a 5% discount on their first order.

·      Maple K Farms LLC can be contacted at maplekfarms@gmail.com or 509-397-4589.

·      For more information about the Co-op's Business Partner Program, please ask for a brochure and/or an application at the Customer Service Desk or click here.