Wilmington family business offers fresh meat at farmers markets

Wilmington family business offers fresh meat at farmers markets

Photo by Robby Nelms
In addition to beef, Ron Koster of Tarheel Beef Co. sells veal, lamb, rabbit and goat at local farmers markets.

Ron Koster, of Tarheel Beef Co., said, “Meat in supermarkets is
raised to fit into the plastic trays we all see, but my stuff doesn’t
do that,” while showing off his marbled prime-aged beef.

Koster got into raising cattle “by accident,” as he put it. In 2000,
his son bought a couple of cows in Texas. That accidental foray into
this business has now grown to around 350 head of cattle and a man
dedicated to raising the best tasting beef he and nature possibly can.

in Texas, he and his son wanted to go straight to the people with their
beef, so they started selling at a local farmers market. Four years
ago, Tarheel Beef started selling at the Wilmington Downtown Farmers
Market and a year later at the Poplar Grove Farmers Market. He now also
sells at the Waterford Farmers Market.

“These markets are
steering the community in a good direction (when it comes to food and
community),” he said. “The farmers get a lot of help out at the Poplar
Grove Farmers Market, from a PR person to the relations with the
individual farmers.”

Tarheel Beef is a family affair, from his
son in Texas, to his daughter who helps in the store and markets, to
his grandchildren who accompany him to the markets.

Koster also sells veal, Kobe beef, rabbit, goat and lamb.

“People don’t realize they can get meat at farmer’s markets,” Koster said.

care he puts into raising and aging the beef, makes his product a nice
addition to any farmers market. The cows are raised in Texas eating
grass, and then he takes them to Greensboro where they are fed on grain
for 60 to 120 days. They are then taken one at a time to Chaudry Halal
Meats in Siler City for slaughter. The beef is then aged for a minimum
of 21 days. After the aging, the outer edges of the meat are trimmed
away to add flavor. This method is in-depth, and definitely not cost
effective, but Koster said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I take pride in what I do,” he said.

enjoy the repeat customers, and I get a big kick out of what we’re
doing – me and my family are doing something right,” Koster said with a