BREWSTER, Wash. — A fourth-generation Okanogan County rancher, probably better known for apples and cherries than cattle, has launched a new venture in beef.
The opening of the Cattle Producers of Washington’s slaughter house in Odessa last fall enabled Cass Gebbers, owner of Gebbers Cattle and president of affiliated Gebbers Farms, to begin processing and selling premium Angus beef locally.
Gebbers Cattle is selling beef to a few grocery stores, restaurants and individual customers from Wenatchee north to Oroville on the Canadian border and in Wilbur and Spokane, said Rich Hutchins, director of sales and marketing of Gebbers Cattle. He has sold beef to Wenatchee schools and wants to sell to other school districts.
“Buyers prefer our beef and are reordering every week. It’s high-quality genetics, grass-fed and speaks for itself. People are very happy with it,” Hutchins said.
Previously, Gebbers cattle sold all finished cattle on-the-hoof to slaughter companies in Davenport or Toppenish and that concluded sales, Hutchins said. Most of it is still sold that way, but Gebbers became one of 80 members of the new cooperative slaughter house and three months ago began processing a limited number of selected cattle through that facility and selling packaged beef.
Hutchins would not disclose production volumes but said regular sales of the new program are sustainable and growing.
“We’re just scratching the surface at about 10 percent of what we want to be,” he said.
Hutchins makes deliveries himself with a refrigerated truck on a regular schedule from Odessa.
Students and teachers in Wenatchee schools overwhelmingly like Gebbers beef, said Kent Getzin, director of the district’s food service. It’s been used the last couple of months of the school year and at year-end school barbecues, he said.
“Our cattle are produced in the center of NCW (north central Washington) where they are grazed in the local foothills, plateaus and mountains of Okanogan, Douglas and Grant counties for around nine months each year and then fed locally grown feed stuffs during the heaviest winter months or until finished for harvest,” Cass Gebbers said in a school district news release.
For information about Gebbers Cattle beef, contact Rich Hutchins, director of sales and marketing, at (509) 322-4004 or firstname.lastname@example.org