This week we hear from Pat McCarthy, President of Kobe Classic Beef of Camrose, and also enjoyed some amazing Kobe Beef as part of our evening meeting meal.
The Buzz – May 9, 2016   By Ray Hook
  1. President Tony called the meeting to order at 6:00 P.M.  at the Best Western Banquet Room
  1. Guests There were 19 guests in attendance – welcome to all.
  1. Health of the Club –Paul reported that Carman has nine treatments remaining and that he should be finished this series by a week from this Thursday (May 19th). Paul also reported that some 15 Rotarians and spouses were in attendance at Abe’s funeral and that Mrs. Friesen greatly appreciated our presence.
  1. Announcements
    1. President Tony reviewed the recently received letter from the “Support The Ski Jump committee, and he was still looking for feedback from the Club on whether we could support the concept or not. After discussion, it was decided to refer the matter to the Executive Committee for their consideration, especially because of the political sensitivity of this request and the emotion surrounding the issue. There was a feeling that we should not touch this matter until the City has made a decision to go ahead or not.
    2. Regarding the Fort Mac situation, President Tony asked for an informal show of support for donating from the Club to either the Red Cross, through ATB or the District Rotary Foundation Fort Mac Fund. Although there seemed to be general support for this idea, it was suggested that the Executive also consider this suggestion and come back to the Club with a recommendation. President Tony briefed the meeting on a recent e-mail from the Mayor about the city’s initiatives in helping evacuees from Fort Mac. Anyone interested in volunteering to help in any way should contact the City Manager Malcolm Boyd to see what they could do. Tony did ask for a volunteer to act as a conduit between the city and the club for any support, and Lou Henderson did step up – thanks Lou.
    3. Jenn reminded folks of the STOP HUNGER NOW event on Sunday – looks like the fund raising was a great success, as they can donate some funds to the local food bank after the event this Sunday. Well done to Jenn and her committee!!
    4. Dan spoke briefly to the Gala results, advising the Club that we grossed about $60,000 and should net between $40 and $43k. Thank You letters will be available next week so that gift collectors can thank the donors and sponsors. As this is Dan’s last year as chair of the Gala Committee (taking over as President), he/we is/are looking for a new chairperson! As this is our major fundraising event of the year, having a leader is critical to the event’s success. The Club does owe Dan a huge vote of thanks for his tireless efforts as Chair for the past few years – THANKS DAN!!!,
  1. Ashley’s Talk – Ashley spoke of the importance of this year’s Mother’s Day celebration, and how special it was because she could celebrate having two Moms this year – she heard from her first host family on Mother’s Day and learned that she HAS to go to Vienna to start her exchange. Expressions of “sympathy” were heard throughout the room….  She will have a 15-year-old “sister”, who is about to go off on her own exchange to the USA (Colorado), despite asking for Canada as her first choice. Ashley is now studying German with a passion…
  1. Judge/Greeter Ray called for Happy Bucks, and they came from far and wide, but as the Buzz      Scribe (Ray) was busy, names weren’t available at press time. The only fine went to Dawn A, after congratulations and thank you from Ray (on behalf of the Club and guests for all the work that she (and no doubt Dan) had put into the evening. Special thanks to the Chef as well.
  1. Guest Speaker – Patrick McCarthy, President of Kobe Classic Beef was our guest speaker today, as well as the purveyor of the fabulous steaks that were specially bar-b-qued for the meal tonight.  Patrick spoke of his company’s history, and that he is proud to be based in Alberta, with his office in Camrose. His company “Kobe Classic Beef Inc” is a division of Wagyu Ltd of Canada. He is especially proud of the fact that he is a successful family owned and operated business, and based in Camrose. Their primary business is in Ontario, Quebec, the USA and overseas.
WAYGU is a farming company and KOBE produces specialty high quality marbled beef, for which    they needed Japanese permission to use the KOBE brand name. As well, they needed to create a Corporate brand to use and market this beef. So – Kobe Classic Beef was born. Kobe beef originated in Japan before the 1870s, and they raised oxen to provide the meat. These oxen were well treated back then, and this process has been consistently maintained to this day. Here in Canada, Patrick used Black Angus cattle on the maternal side, along with Japanese WAYGU sires to create his business. The BREEDING PROGRAM sees the young cattle put on a 500 day finishing program after being weaned away from the mothers. Their treatment is humane, with excellent feeding premises. Compared to a Canadian average weight for slaughter (1350 lbs). Kobe cattle weight in at 1700-1800 lbs – the result of better care, a better feeding program - Japanese style of high fibre and lower energy diet – which produces a larger animal (with more and better beef). The feeding and slaughter facilities are federally inspected, to maintain this level of production and quality. They do cater to specialty orders, and all of their processes are strictly monitored for QA (Quality Assurance), and they have a very good Trace Back System, allowing the best possible control over their product.
            Patrick pointed out that it is the marbling (streaks of fat throughout the meat) that gives their meat the tenderness and softness. And as steaks and burgers are their focus, this is critical to their success. They only want to produce great tasting steaks and burgers. For smaller and/or special events, they can offer Friends and Family pricing for special events, BUT they aren’t in the retail game – they don’t need it. Their wholesale business is very successful. Their biggest market is still North America. Patrick advised that they deal with between 27 and 29 Kobe – affiliated farms in the area, representing approximately 5000 head of cattle. 
            After an interesting Q & A session, Dawn thanked Patrick for his very interesting and informative talk and presented him with a certificate representing 50 oral doses of polio vaccine b eking given in his honour.
  1. There were two special door prize draws held – Patrick had donated two packages of 12 Kobe Beef sliders (frozen!). Jerry Blanchette and Ray Hook were the lucky winners.  
  1. The 50/50 Draw was won by Dawn, but she failed to draw the Ace!
  1. The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 P.M.
Next Meeting in on Monday, May 16th at 1145am in the Best Western Plus Regal II Ballroom.

Guest Speaker is Ray Hook speaking about his recent WWII battlefield tour.
Greeters are Ted G and Jim R.