Happy cows=Happy taste-buds: Destin locals raise all natural beef (photos)

Savannah Chastain
Co-founder and Cattle Manager for Heureux Beef, Doug Boatwright ensures the best care is taken of every animal on the farm. “I kind of baby them,” he said.

Happy cows mean delicious beef says Scott Ennis, co-founder of the Heureux Beef company. Ennis, who is a Destin plastic surgeon by trade, originally started the beef endeavor in order to find healthy, hormone free beef for his family.

“This all started three or four years ago just to raise beef for me and my family,” said Ennis, who partnered with cattle manager David Boatwright to found the beef company.

Boatwright, who has a degree in cattle management from the University of Mississippi, had also been on the quest for homegrown beef, and the two connected with the common vision to bring quality beef to the local community.

“He and I got together just to see how to raise natural beef that tastes better than anything you can buy in the grocery store,” said Ennis.

“My original vision was a farm-to-table idea,” said Boatwright. “Well originally a farm-to-my-table until I saw that there was a need there. I saw a need, and an opportunity, and decided to give it a try.”

The Heureux Beef method of raising cattle is to allow free-range grazing throughout the day, supplement their diet with quality foods such as peas, corn and peanuts grown on the property, and keep the cows free from any harmful chemicals and injections.

“The cattle are all natural; they are not fed hormones to make them grow fast, and are not pumped with antibiotics to be shipped across country,” said Ennis. “We raise our cows in small batches, and since the cattle are not transported long distances they are not exposed to viruses.”

The name for the beef company came from Ennis’s 15-year-old daughter Anna, who is currently studying French.

“Heureux is the French word for happy,” said Ennis. “My daughter actually came up with it because one of our big focuses is raising happy cows. We’re raising happy cows, in a very low stress environment.” 

“When I first heard the name, ‘heureux,’ it made me laugh,” said Boatwright. “Then I thought about how our motto is ‘the home of the happy cow’ and it made me happy, and that’s what we’re projecting.”

Ennis told The Log that news of the beef company spread quickly among friends and neighbors and it wasn’t long before restaurants and grocery stores were interested in the Heureux Beef product.

 “As the popularity of it grew we started marketing around,” said Ennis. “Now we are in Chan’s new burger place (The Craft Bar) in Destin, and two grocery stores in Dothan.”

“Everybody wants it because everybody is getting more conscience about what they eat,” said Boatwright.

The Heureux Beef farm, located just north of DeFuniak Springs, is home to 50-70 head of cattle along with some horses and pigs.

“I grew up on a farm in Alabama and we had horses and cows back then,” said Ennis. “I grew up raising livestock and its fun to get back to it.”

“I’ve been raising cattle all my life,” echoed Boatwright. “I grew up on a farm, and in 2008 I returned to raising cattle with the intention of trying to be as self-sustainable as possible.

As the company gains recognition, the two plan to continue expanding the business, but ensure they will always be locally-minded and continue to raise animals in small batches.

“One of the most interesting aspects of it is the concept of farm-to-table menus,” Ennis said. “If you go to a stock yard that has hundreds of thousands of cattle you can buy 40-50 of the same type of steaks, but in a farm-to-table model, you might buy one animal, which yields a limited number of steaks. A restaurant that does more of a farm-to-table method is going to have a limited number of each item and will build menu around the animal.”

Ennis explained that the farm-to-table method is more resourceful as less of the animal is wasted, and although the meat choices may be limited the flavor is worth the trade-off.

“The meat has a lot more flavor to it because of what they are being fed, and the lack of stress in their environment,” said Ennis. “You won’t find meat this good in a grocery store. This is a good all-natural product without hormones and without the use of pesticides.”

“We treat them with respect from the time they are born ‘til the time they provide us with food,” said Boatwright. “We do it the old fashioned way, no hormones or antibiotics, it’s an all natural pasture raised beef, lean and very flavorful.”

Heureux Beef is offered on the menu at The Craft Bar inside Chan’s Wine World in Destin, or for sale in KBC Butcher Block & Market in Dothan Ala. For more information about the company, visit www.heureuxbeef.com, or their facebook page at www.facebook.com/heureuxbeef/info.