(UPDATED 10/21/17) The pungent smell of steer manure surrounded our small group as we stood inside the U.C. Davis beef feedlot to learn all about Mootral – an all-natural feed supplement that reduces methane emissions from ruminant animals.
It was the day before the September 29th start of the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) here in Sacramento. I joined a group of IFBC attendees on the pre-conference excursion to not only learn all about Mootral – but also to enjoy a special beef dinner. We were going to be the first people in North America to taste “climate-smart beef”!
Professor Ermias Kebreab, an expert in sustainable agriculture, Don Harper, the U.C. Davis feedlot manager and Breanna Roque, who is working on her masters, made us welcome. Among other things, we learned about the various cattle feed components utilized in California. Feed components vary in different areas of the country depending on availability. For example, almond hulls are abundant in the Central Valley and are often utilized here in cattle feed.
We also delved into the details about how U.C. Davis is conducting its research to quantify the percentage reduction in methane gas produced as a result of the addition of Mootral to cattle feed. Numerous questions were asked – as you would expect from a group of food bloggers.
The active ingredients in Mootral are natural plant extracts from garlic and citrus which act to improve the animal’s digestive process. Reduced fermentation in the digestive tract reduces the amount of methane gas produced.
Methane gas, as we all know, has been identified as contributing to climate change. On the tour I learned that what I believed – that the methane gas from ruminants was released via the “back end” – was inaccurate. In reality, the methane gas is released via burps – on average one burp a minute.
After our tour of the feedlot we re-boarded the bus and made our way to our dinner site located at the U.C. Davis GATEways Gardens.
A wooden deck located under the canopy of several trees on campus was the site of our dinner. The weather was perfect and the setting was beautiful. We settled ourselves at white tablecloth covered tables, a vase of flowers on each table adding to the ambiance.
Everyone chatted, discussing a myriad of topics and getting to know each other.
We also had the opportunity to meet Caleb Sehnert, the U.C. Davis meat store manager and our beef chef for the evening. The size of the prime rib was most impressive. Chef Sehnert carved the prime rib on site as some of us watched.
Climate-Smart Beef Dinner Menu
The appetizer was served as we approached the site of the dinner – Goat Cheese Crostini with Red Pepper and Ancho Chile Jam. Yum. I happen to love anything with goat cheese – and this combination was very tasty.
The appetizer was followed by a refreshing Baby Spinach Salad (with mandarin oranges, sweet bell peppers, jicama and tangy orange vinaigrette).
The Entrée – or Main Event as it was called – was described as Climate-Smart, dry aged, smoked Prime Rib Beef. The beef was raised, processed and prepared at U.C. Davis. Note: A vegetable entrée option (Curried Rice Stuffed Bell Pepper) was also an option.
The entrée was served with Bogle Winery Reserve Pinot Noir (a certified sustainable wine). It was a perfect pairing. Bogle Winery, located in the nearby Delta, happens to be a favorite of mine. A number of those at the dinner were out-of-area or out-of-state and were not familiar with the Bogle brand. I can at least speak for the people at my table – they all loved it.
(UPDATED 10/21/17) Bogle Vineyards was voted #1 in the Sacramento Magazine 2017 Best of Sacramento category Regional Winery.
Two side dishes were served – Roasted Golden Yukon Potatoes (roasted quartered Yukon potatoes tossed in olive oil, butter and fresh herbs) and local, seasonal vegetables tossed in salt and pepper and sautéed in olive oil.
To top it all off we were served for dessert a Handmade Rustic Fruit Tart (house made, freshly baked flakey puff pastry, seasonal fresh fruit, with a sugar and cinnamon glaze).
I was very glad for the opportunity to take part in the Mootral pre-conference excursion. Not only was it very informative and interesting – but I also had the opportunity a meet some very nice and interesting people – not to mention enjoy a tasty and “special” meal.
If you participated in the Mootral Pre-Conference Excursion – do you have anything to add?
Am I the only one who had the misconception that the methane “gas” production from ruminant animals was as the result of a “fart” as opposed to a “burp”?
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