Landcrafted Foods

Made in Virginia 2017 Awards – Food (Category Winner)

Landcrafted Foods

Smoked Beef Sticks, Grayson County

Inefficiency is a four-letter word to a farmer. So when Gary Mitchell and Brantley Ivy, partners in the grass-fed beef company Grayson Natural Farms, recognized that extra meat left from the fresh beef orders they were filling for restaurants and grocery stores could be used in another product, they got to work. 

The result is a new line of beef sticks the pair launched last summer.

“Tenderloins and ground beef are easy to sell,” says Ivy, a lifelong farmer who holds a degree in animal science and has been in business with Mitchell for about 10 years. “But it’s impossible to sell everything from an animal. These sticks fix all that.”

Available in four flavors—original, sweet, habanero BBQ and spicy Cajun, the smoked sticks are gluten-free and made from 100 percent grass-fed cattle with no added hormones or antibiotics. They are processed at the company’s newly constructed 7,000-foot smokehouse facility in Independence.

“Our mission is quality beef,” says Mitchell, a Virginia Tech-trained civil engineer who left his job to manage the business in 2008. Other meat snack makers often use cheap meat from older dairy cows. At Landcrafted, he explains, “We’re using desirable cuts from younger animals. We make our sticks from whole muscle cuts, even the loin, so it’s a healthy alternative to any meat snack out there.”

Smoky and chewy, toothsome and tender, each of the four flavors hit their target note. That’s because it takes time, and money, to raise beef of this quality. “For us,” says Ivy,  “it takes about two years to finish to our standards”—about twice as long as it takes to finish grain-fed animals. 

But Mitchell and Ivy’s mission includes more than producing a great product: they hope to impact the local economy by establishing a value-added market that will support the region’s fast-disappearing family farms. All the cattle the company sources are born and raised in Grayson County pastures. “We want to return more dollars to local farms,” explains Ivy. “That’s how Grayson Natural Farms started.” $2.49 each.

See all of our Made in Virginia 2017 Award winners!

Nightingale Ice Cream, Richmond

Ragged Branch, Charlottesville (category winner)
Dead Reckoning Distillery, Norfolk
Veritas Vineyards & Winery, Afton
Trussings Craft Fizz, Midlothian

Daniel Rickey Furniture, Richmond (category winner)
Gum Tree Farm, Middleburg
Evolution Glass, Charlottesville

Heart and Spade Forge, Roanoke (category winner)
Ledbury, Richmond
LC Fabrications, Grottoes
Yak Attack, Burkeville

Winners were selected by the editors from among hundreds of submissions received earlier this year.

Click here to see 2016 winners.
Click here to see 2015 winners.
Click here to see 2014 winners.
Click here to see 2013 winners.
Click here to see 2012 winners.
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