ROBBINS, N.C. - It's known as a healthy, delicious meat that is trending it's way to your dinner table, and it's becoming more common in the Carolinas thanks to a couple from California.
From the coast to the countryside, Ryan and Gaby Olufs had an animal epiphany and left life in So Cal.
"We didn't think we were going to do meat processing," said Ryan, that was until they came across Ostrich.
The Olufs settled in Robbins, North Carolina, bought 60 acres and a pair of Ostrich, thus marking the beginning of "Misty Morning Ostrich Ranch."
The rookie bird breeders did a lot of research before buying the birds. Ryan says it took months to learn the intricacies of what it takes to raise ostrich.
One year after starting their new life, the Olufs now have 11 ostrich in the flock with plans to multiply.
"Those are dinosaur feet, not bird feet, that's for sure," Ryan exclaimed after admiring his 10-foot tall ostrich, Ed, who is his male breeding bird.
The animals look like pterodactyls that don't even taste like birds.
"It tastes like beef but it's tender like veal," says Ryan. "It has a slight richness to it."
Don't let the ugly feet fool you, the Olufs say this flightless bird is a healthy substitute to red meat.
"Ostrich is actually lower in fat than chicken and lower in cholesterol than beef," said Ryan.
But how does it taste? NBC Charlotte deferred to the third party, the Oluf's neighbor, Joe.
"It's never going to be a rival for McDonald's but the meat; very, very good," said Joe.
You can order the meat online or try some of the Oluf's ostrich at local restaurants like Chef Warren's in Southern Pines.
"It's really a great, beginner, game meat," said Chef Warren Lewis, the owner of the restaurant who has forty years of experience in fine dining.
"It's delicious and healthy," said Warren, who serves all kinds of exotic animals in his French-cuisine restaurant that's nearing it's 20-year anniversary.
The restaurant obviously does well, and he says the reviews of the ostrich are outstanding.
"I tell them, 'If you don't like it, let me know and I'll make you something else,'" said Warren. "Nobody has ever taken me up on the offer."
There are all kinds of ways to eat ostrich whether it's seared on the stove, served ground in a bowl of chili, or even as a patty between two buns.
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