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Where's the beef? Look near the milk



Published: Wed, August 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Milkshakes andrib-eye steaks arehot items at the fair.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- The products are different, but the moos are the same.

Side by side near the cattle barns at the Columbiana County Fair, dairy boosters and cattlemen sold their wares Tuesday morning at breakneck speed.

Milkshakes and rib-eye steak sandwiches were hot items on the fair's first full day.

The Columbiana County Buckeye Dairy Boosters opened their ice cream stand at 10 a.m. and by noon had sold more than 200 milkshakes. The group also sells ice cream cones, sundaes and milk.

The 20-ounce thick shakes, in creamy vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or root beer flavors, sell for $2.

"It's been nonstop all morning," said Renae Unkefer. "Chocolate seems to be the most popular today."

She had three shakes on the mixer, two more ready to go, and about a dozen people standing in line.

FIrst-time venture: The Columbiana-Mahoning County Cattleman's Association is operating a food trailer at the fair for the first time, selling steak sandwiches, hamburgers and all-beef franks.

With antique and lawn tractor pulls the only events on the schedule Sunday, the group sold nearly 100 rib-eye steak sandwiches. They started Sunday with 250 steaks, and the remainder sold quickly Tuesday morning, long before noon.

"We're stocking up and we won't run out again," said Mark Kohler, association vice president. "We opened this morning, and they just went. It was amazing."

Steak sandwiches are $4, double hamburgers $3, singles $2, and all-beef franks $1.50.

For both groups, the purpose is to promote their products.

"We didn't start out as a money-making venture, but if you're selling 100 milkshakes an hour, you've got to be making some money somewhere," Unkefer said.

"We give generous portions, the 20-ounce milkshake and large scoops of ice cream, so people will remember us," she said. "We want them to keep dairy products in their minds."

Kohler echoed similar sentiments about the cattleman's purpose at the fair.

"Beef has taken a bad rap," he said. "There's a lot of rumors and misinformation about mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease. We don't want people to be afraid to eat beef."

Moving up: Kohler said there are 10,500 head of dairy and beef cattle in Columbiana County. The cattleman's association is experiencing a resurgence, and cattlemen are hoping the group will grow.

Besides their sandwiches, the cattlemen are dispensing information, offering free literature on foot-and-mouth and mad cow diseases, beef grilling tips and beef recipes.

tullis@vindy.com




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