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Soup’s on: Breakfast at the Calf-ateria

Locations: News Published

It’s early morning just outside of Carbondale and the Cowboy Calf-eteria is bustling. Chefs Tim and Ted Nieslanik, along with the help of their sous chefs, William Steindler and Clayton Skinner, prepare breakfast for about 300 customers who eagerly await to be served.

Calving season is in full swing for the local Nieslanik families. 

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In years past, the breakfast menu consisted of one entrée: hay, and a side dish of minerals. This year, however, the main course has been tweaked a bit. Because of the drought, many ranchers couldn’t grow enough hay last year and have had to outsource for additional supply, some of which lacks essential nutrients. 

To supplement those nutrients, the Nieslaniks have partnered with the Marble Distilling Company and Woody Creek Distillers to provide a solution: stillage. Once grains make their way through the distilling process, the byproduct is called stillage. It’s waste for the distillery, but the ranchers can use it as a feed supplement for livestock because it’s high in protein, minerals and fats. 

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The stillage (or “mash”) must be picked up, mixed in with the hay and served in a timely manner. It’s labor intensive, but a sustainable solution for the distilleries and ranchers and results in a yummy breakfast for the cows.

If you happen to hear some unusual tones in the cows’ mooing, don’t worry. Some members of the herd may be a bit “loopy” after breakfast. Perhaps they even had an extra helping in celebration of John Nieslanik turning 90 on March 15. Happy birthday, John!

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Photos by Jane Bachrach

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Stillage being poured in with the hay as Tim and Ted Nieslanik supervise.

Transferring stillage into the hay.

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These mamas anxiously await their gourmet meal.

Sweetie, a cow dog in training, isn’t quite sure if she should herd this calf or lick it.

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Tags: #calving season #Marble Distilling Company #Nieslanik #Woody Creek Distillers
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