Yampa Valley Beef works way into jerky market

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The homegrown Yampa Valley Beef company is branching out with a new product this week beef jerky.

"It's being made right now," said Jen Batchelder, the CSU graduate student who is overseeing the project, which will gradually test the area's beef jerky market.

"We're looking for ways to create new revenue for Yampa Valley Beef and jerky's a good use for the top round meat," she explained from her desk at the local Agricultural Extension Office.

YVB was formed by Routt County ranchers in 1997 as a cooperative to sell and market locally grown beef.

It began making money in 1999 and has clients that include the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., and a variety of fine restaurants from all over the county.

Batchelder is working the phones in an attempt to look for clients who may want to carry the beef jerky. The Clark Store in North Routt and Steamboat Lake Outfitters plan on stocking YVB's jerky.

The jerky is being produced in Craig by Mountain Meats.

"Gary Baysinger is making it for us and I've tasted his jerky before it's great," Batchelder said.

She added YVB's jerky will not have as many preservatives as the kind found on grocery shelves.

"It's a fresher product," she said.

That means the jerky can't be left out on the table for weeks at a time, but should be refrigerated if being kept for long periods.

"You can throw it in you backpack or saddlebags, it's not going to spoil between breakfast and lunch, or even today and tomorrow." Batchelder said.

"For a few days it'll be fine."

YVB's board of directors decided to start off slow, jerking only about 100 pounds of meat.

"We didn't make a lot of it, we're just trying to test the market," said Mary Kay Monger, vice president of YVB. (Frances Hohl is a reporter from the Steamboat Springs Pilot/Today.)

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