Katerra’s meat comes from the Bierschwale family ranches in Katy and Leakey, Bierschwale said. The animals are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and the vegetables, cheese and honey are supplied by nearby farms that forgo herbicides and pesticides, he said.
The family started raising bison in the mid-1990s when outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease,” occurred in the U.K. Patrick said his father had just inherited the family ranch from Bierschwale’s grandfather, who had kept bison as pets.
“So, the price of beef dropped and the price of bison shot up,” Bierschwale said. “So [my father] sold all the cows and bought a bunch more bison from South Dakota and brought those down.”
Patrick grew up on the ranch. Later, he managed a gym and coached while competing in mixed martial arts.
“I was always eating bison and people were always coming up to me asking, ‘Where can I get bison? I want bison,’” he said. “And so, pretty soon it kind of clicked—hey, there’s a business here.”
Bierschwale began buying his father’s bison individually and butchered them himself to sell at the gym. He eventually began taking meat to the Farmers Market on Grand Parkway, 1225 Grand Parkway, Katy.
He built a client base and expanded to more farmers markets.
“Eventually, I figured out that I could make more money and have more career longevity doing this than getting punched in the face for a living, so I retired,” Bierschwale said.
He quit MMA in 2013 and bought his father’s herd the following year. He also began raising chicken and goats, and trapping wild hogs to butcher. Bierschwale said boars must go to the processing plant alive before they can be butchered and sold.
Bison present their own challenges, he said. Fencing must be made from steel tubing, and the chutes through which bison move require metal cages to discourage jumping.
The store opened in 2016 so Bierschwale could sell year-round. Business slowed in January 2017 when the city of Katy began renovating the downtown streets, he said.
“I was very thankful that I had the farmers markets to fall back on, because that was still steady,” he said. “But then when Harvey hit, that just killed everything.”
Since the construction ended in December, Katerra has seen increased traffic, he said. The store is updating its products and Bierschwale said he was proud of his ability to raise livestock that are as “wild” as possible.
“Basically, we try to raise the happiest, healthiest animals we can,” he said. “We love these animals. People always laugh when I say they’re our pets, but we eat them because they taste good.”
5627 Third St., Katy
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m , closed Sun.