Canadian beef is back on the menu at Earls restaurants in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and Wednesday afternoon, the company announced the producers that will supply the beef.
The restaurant’s main partner will be Spring Creek, which will supply beef from Aspen Ridge Farms, Beretta Family Farms, JBS Foods and White Moose Ranch.
Earls President Mo Jessa said “it was loud and clear that customers cared” about how the restaurant sourced its beef.
“Earls has been through a bit of a roller coaster through the last little while, addressing this beef situation,” he said. “We’ve had to listen to our consumers, we are a really proud Alberta business and it just wasn’t good enough for us that Albertans were disappointed with the way we were sourcing our beef.”
Earls said it spent the six weeks looking for suppliers and ranchers who can provide beef that’s raised without the use of steroids, antibiotics or added hormones, while adhering to a standardized auditing process for ethical farming practices.
“It does matter to consumers to get beef of that quality, but it matters even more to them where it comes from and we have had to change how we do business,” Jessa said.
“We know Canadian beef is the best beef and to say that it has this criteria and to have it come from Canada, there’s nothing more proud I could say about how proud Earls is to be able to do that.”
“We’ve been raising our cattle to meet the standards that Earls has been seeking because we believe it’s in the best interest of the animal as well as the consumer, so we’re happy that Earls has made this type of farming a priority in how they source their beef,” Kirstin Kotelko of Spring Creek Ranch said.
Earls will serve Canadian-born, raised and harvested beef in all 27 of its restaurants in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Jessa said it will take time to expand that practice into all of its Canadian restaurants.
The announcement comes nearly two months after Earls reversed a decision to cut ties with its Canadian beef suppliers.
WATCH: Effective today, all beef on Earls menus in Alberta and Saskatchewan is 100 per cent Canadian. But what about other restaurants in Canada? Quinn Ohler finds out.
In late April, the Canadian restaurant chain announced plans to source its beef from the U.S. because of its new humane meat policy.
While some applauded the move, the decision was mostly met with opposition, particularly in western Canada where politicians like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta’s Opposition Wildrose leader Brian Jean blasted the chain over the decision.
The public outcry led Earls to reverse its decision, saying it “made a mistake” when it moved away from Canadian beef.
“We want to make this right. We want Canadian beef back on our menus so we are going to work with local ranchers to build our supply of Alberta beef that meets our criteria,” Jessa said in a news release in early May.
The founders of Earls – Leroy Early “Bus” Fuller and his son Stan – said it wasn’t an easy road, but they value the patience of their customers.
“Not only is Alberta beef back on the menu, but we were able to achieve what we never thought we could, consciously-sourced beef in every one of our restaurants,” the family said in a statement Wednesday.
As a way to show appreciation for its customers, Earls is offering $5 off steak and hamburgers from June 22 to 29.
With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News.