By Brandi Perry
Bernie Rogers had always been in the cow business, and when he and Jaclyn got married, she wanted to know why they could not sell their beef directly from the farm. Little did she know the steps she would have to take to get Honestly Beef where they are today. After finding out they had to be federally inspected to sell small cuts of beef or sell across state lines, they also had to find a state-inspected plant that was willing to work with them. “At the time, there were not that many plants in the state, and we kept getting ‘no.’ Finally, the one in Summit finally took a chance on us, and they have been loyal to us and us to them ever since,” Jaclyn explained. Since then, the Collins, Mississippi, farm has not slowed down their production or sales.
The farm only has two types of cows, Angus and Charolais. Their cattle are grass-fed and grain-finished, and they spend their entire lives free-ranging. They count them on paper every month, and twice a year in January and July they count every head. Many times, to ensure the cattle are getting all the nutrients they need; they are fed grain. Different from most farms in Mississippi, Honestly Beef mixes their own from a variety of human-grade products that are going out of date.
They buy products that are fresh and local as often as they can. For instance, they get peanut skins from the M&M factory, cotton seeds from the Mississippi Delta, and orange peelings from an orange juice factory out of Florida. The roasted coffee beans come from the Folgers plant in New Orleans and the brewer’s mash from the Abita Beer Factory in Abita Springs, Louisiana. They mix the feed from the items that are nearing expiration in order to give the cattle the best mix. The feed found at your local feed store has something added in it that allows for it to have a long shelf life. Additionally, they will use silage when available, which is corn from their Pearl River County farm that has been chopped up and fermented for 30 days.
Once the 24 months are up for the beef, they are harvested and each one is dry-aged to perfection, which is usually seven to 14 days. Then each one is hand-cut and trimmed into the delicious steaks and beef products that they are so proud to offer their customers. Their primary goal is to bridge the gap between the farm and the dinner table. This allows their customers access to locally raised beef they can feel good about serving to their family. “We want to offer our customers the beef that is best for their family. What we can provide is lean and nutritious and it will provide known health benefits that only grass-fed animals can,” Rogers explained. Their beef is packaged Kosher, so consumers do not have to worry about what is hidden inside.
Customers can shop for all types of cuts online at honestlybeef.com. The farm offers a huge variety of cuts and products that range from ground beef, roasts, brisket, filet of tenderloin steaks, New York Strip steaks, ribeye steaks, top sirloin steaks, flanks and flat iron steaks, short ribs and rib rack, to soup bones, oxtails, tongue, liver, heart, kidney, cheek, smoked link sausages, beef jerky and even liver doggie treats. If you do not live in Mississippi but still want some of the best beef you have ever had, they can ship anywhere in the country. At present time, they regularly make shipments to California and Colorado. Honestly Beef has specially made boxes that will keep any order fresh frozen for 72 hours. If a shipment is going to take longer than that, the Rogers will use dry ice to ensure your beef is still fresh when you receive it.
If you do live in Mississippi and would like to pick up your order, there are also options for that! Arrangements can be made with Jaclyn to be picked up in Collins, Magee, Laurel or Brandon. Jaclyn also regularly attends farmer’s markets all over the state and Louisiana. These are perfect opportunities to talk with her about what is going on at the farm, order some of their delicious product or try it. She is at the Camelia City Farmer’s Market in Slidell the second Saturday of every month, the Downtown Hattiesburg Farmer’s Market every Tuesday, Vicksburg’s Farmer’s Market every third Saturday and Hancock County’s Farmers Market every first Saturday. These appearances are all dependent on weather.
Honestly Beef is also a part of Genuine Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce started this in an effort to make it easy for consumers not only from Mississippi but all over the world, to be able to find products that are created or produced in the Magnolia State by farmers or entrepreneurs. Genuine Mississippi does a spectacular job of showing the entire world our state pride and in turn, helps keep the state’s economy strong by encouraging tourism.
There are also ten restaurants in Mississippi that you can try the beef. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, these restaurants that serve Honestly Beef are Wholey Foods in Bay St. Louis, Craft Advisory Brewing in Ocean Springs and Beach Side Grill in Long Beach. In the Laurel area, you can find this beef at Edgar’s Steakhouse, Bird Dog Café, Oak Leaf General Store and The Knight Butcher Shop. Finally, Gitano Grill and Bakery in Taylorsville and GW & Jo’s Café will be more than happy to serve you up a delicious plate of beef.
Honestly Beef is located at 84 Cattle Drive in Collins, Mississippi but please call to arrange an order or pick up before you. You can reach them at 601-299-4202. Head on over to their website and place your first order with Jaclyn and Bernie.