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Everything's bigger in Texas
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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair question.

First off, there probably isn't much of it in comparison to the population.
The livestock is mostly dairy cattle, which are indirectly bred for leanness.
Iron content aside, the flavor in meat mostly comes from the fat. The leaner it is, the harder it is to tell apart by flavor alone.

Second it's probably a matter of economics. True, all cattle need grass or hay or other roughage for digestion. To fatten cattle, you feed them grain. Because of climate, geography, soil, etc. corn is easier to grow in the Midwest. Because of rail and barge systems, the inputs are cheaper, so it's more profitable/plentiful, too.

Thirdly, in states like Pennsylvania, you need to build barns to shelter the cattle from the winter, and to protect their water from freezing. Pastures are basically useless for 5 months of the year. The rest of it you have to store feed for them and deliver it to them every day. So there is a lot of overhead expense. Also, cattle can lose weight when it gets too cold, so it takes longer to raise them. More days, more expense.

Actually, when I was a kid, Texas, Florida, California and Hawaii all had big cattle industries because they required little in the way of buildings, and the grass grew almost all year. Real estate markets have affected that, but there's still lots of land in Texas.

That's probably more than you wanted to know about it. Any questions?
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Mr. Blue
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what it comes to is that you could raise good beef cattle in the east but there's no point because there are better places to do it? That doesn't really explain why you can't get good beef here except by going somewhere expensive. We aren't really plugged into the river transport system, but it should be easy enough to transport steaks here by rail.

Maybe its part of a cultural trend. We could have good tasting bread, but we mostly settle for cheap pre-sliced flavorless stuff and count on our peanut butter to cover up the taste. We could have good quality chocolate like they do in Europe, but mostly we eat trash like Hershey. Everyone laughs at our beer. America has become a tasteless society.

By the way, as a confirmed hater of vegetables, I sympathize with the Texan rancher in your joke.
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" ... the mistakes that we male and female mortals make when we have our own way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it. " George Eliot
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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The river transport system ties into things like fertilizer and grain, rather than finished foods. Nitrogen fertilizer is basically pulled out of the air and concentrated in to a solid in a process that uses a lot of energy, usually natural gas. So it's made in Texas, then barged up the Mississippi to the grain belt, and the barges come back down full of grain for export, or cattle feed. So it's about input costs.

But you have an excellent point with the second paragraph. We have a cultural problem. A mass-producer, be it beer, bread, coffee, whatever... undercuts the competition and drives it out of business. Once that happens, and if it hangs around for a generation, next to nobody knows the difference between good and bad.
They just accept what they've always known. Have you ever had orange juice in Florida or California?

Well, maybe if you lived in California where the vegetables are fresh year round, you wouldn't hate them. Razz
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Roland
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Over the past 30 years, with the growth of craft brewing in the US, we now have some of the best beer in the world. Craft brews now account for about 8% of US beer sales by volume. They account for 100% of my beer purchases!
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Mr. Blue
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info Rusty. I've never been to Florida or California, so no I haven't tried their OJ. I suppose you could be right about the veggies.

Roland, I don't even drink beer so I can't argue with you. But if I understand you correctly, you're saying that over 90% of American beer is lousy. Still, one must be grateful for small mercies. For once the the hapless consumer (in both senses of consumer) has scored a limited victory.

I'd drink to that Arr! except I don't. Laughing
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" ... the mistakes that we male and female mortals make when we have our own way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it. " George Eliot
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fleetp
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"But if I understand you correctly, you're saying that over 90% of American beer is lousy."

I've been know to be wrong (quite often, if you ask my spouse), but I don't think he's saying that at all.

CAUTION <PUN ALERT>

A Texas black bear walked into a bar in San Antonio and ordered a bottle of Lone Star Beer. The bartender said " We do not serve beer to bears in Bexar County, Texas."

The bear went to a rack containing individual serving bags of chip and after tearing it down, ate all of the chips.
A woman at the other end of the bar said, "That's got to be the ugliest bear I've ever seen."

The bear once again asked the bartender for a bottle of Lone Star. Once again, the bartender said " We do not serve beer to bears in Bexar County, Texas."

The bear then went to the jukebox and smashed it. The woman at the other end of the bar said, " Not only is he ugly, he also stinks."

Angered, the bear attacked and ate the woman. Immediately afterwards, the bear collapsed into a deep sleep. Awakening several hours later, the bear asked the bartender what happened. The bartender replied, "I'm not sure, but I think it was the bar bitch you ate"
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Roland
Boatswain
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Blue wrote:
Roland, I don't even drink beer so I can't argue with you. But if I understand you correctly, you're saying that over 90% of American beer is lousy. Still, one must be grateful for small mercies. For once the the hapless consumer (in both senses of consumer) has scored a limited victory.

I'd drink to that Arr! except I don't. Laughing

You're not alone. About 30% of Americans do not drink at all. Another 30% average less than one drink a week. (I average about 1.5 drinks per week.)

Beer consumption, like the consumption of most products, is not evenly distributed among the population. A mere 10% of Americans consume 90% of the alcohol that is sold in the US. Drinkers in the top decile average 74 drinks per week. Most alcohol is consumed by problem drinkers, who tend not to be picky about what they are drinking. They are the marketing targets of the mass producers.

Connoisseurs who focus on quality rather than quantity are practically a separate market. The federal government has recognized this by instituting a lower tax rate for small brewers - just $7 per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels, rather than the normal rate of $18 per barrel. There are now two competing bills in Congress to reduce it even more.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The US has seen a wonderful increase in the number and quality of craft brewers. 30 years ago they almost did not exist and most people drank weak, tasteless been like Bud, Miller, Coors etc. Nowadays we see hundreds, possibly thousands of small craft breweries that produce every type of beer and ale imaginable. Out local grocery stores now carry 50 or 100 different beers! Some of these are so good they are exported back to Europe.
I personally prefer Alaskan Amber brewed in Juneau, Alaska. I can purchase it at any local grocery store around here in the Seattle area. I also like the beer from the Sam Adams Brewery but there many, many other good ones out there now, thank goodness! When I was in Germany from 1978 to 1980 I developed a taste for German beer and upon returning to the USA the beer tasted too weak and without character. Now, I am a happy drinker of Alaskan and usually drink 8 or 10 bottles a week. Wink
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