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Cal Ripken selling gourmet burgers at Giant

Tuesday - 5/29/2012, 4:10pm  ET

By MARIA ZILBERMAN
The Daily Record of Baltimore

BALTIMORE - Baltimore's Iron Man is now in your Giant's freezer.

Cal Ripken Jr. and Monkton-based Roseda Beef have teamed up to bring "Ripken Gourmet Burgers" to 30 Giant Food stores in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia with plans to double the number of distribution locations soon.

Stores started selling the $9.99 boxes of four six-ounce burgers on Friday.

Each store received 450 of the green-and-orange trimmed boxes designed with a picture of the legendary Baltimore Orioles player, for a total of 54,000 burgers available in the region just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

"We have been serving the Roseda gourmet burgers at our complex in Aberdeen for over a year and they have been a great hit with the families attending camps and tournaments there," Ripken said in an emailed statement.

The Ripken Baseball complex in Aberdeen is home to the Aberdeen IronBirds, a Class A minor league team affiliated with the Orioles.

Partnering with a local company was important to Ripken, who spent his entire 21-year career in Charm City. Giant will be the exclusive carrier of the all-natural, dry-aged burgers.

Roseda Black Angus Farm, which was started in 1996 by Ed A. Burchell with the purchase of six heifers from a ranch in Kansas, has grown into a $12 million business. Burchell first started selling his beef to neighbors and grocery stores in 1999.

The 350-acre farm in Monkton is home to 150 Angus bulls. Roseda, which is named after Burchell and his wife, Rosemary, annually processes 2,500 head of hormone-free cattle, Burchell said.

"Obviously with the Giant account, that's going to grow," he said.

In 2010, Burchell partnered with Bill Ruppersberger of Geo. G. Ruppersberger & Sons Inc. to form Old Line Custom Meat Co., a 17,000-square-foot meat processing company on Monroe Street in Baltimore.

The beef from Roseda's cattle is processed and dry-aged for 14 days at the Baltimore facility. The dry-aging process adds taste and tenderness, Burchell said.

"Cal's reputation obviously speaks for itself," Burchell said. "The last thing I would want to do, having been born and raised in Baltimore my whole life, is try to interface a product with (Ripken) that somehow didn't meet his standards of excellence."

Apparently he hasn't.

Ripken, who was a spokesman for Baltimore-based Esskay hot dogs during his major league career, thinks Roseda makes "the best burger he ever had," said John Maroon, president of Maroon PR, which represents Ripken.

Thomas Carter, 74, checks out the display of Ripken Gourmet Burgers at Giant Food store in Rodgers Forge on Friday.

"Since we run baseball complexes with kids playing baseball and families watching baseball, serving hamburgers seems like a natural fit, so when Roseda approached me about this I was interested right away," Ripken said.

The deal is officially with Ripken Baseball, the Baltimore-based sales and marketing company founded in 2001 by Ripken and his brother, Bill. The company oversees the businesses and philanthropic ventures of both men.

A portion of the sales will benefit the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 2001 by Ripken and his brother, Bill Ripken, to teach life skills to at-risk youth through baseball and softball programs.

Giant will make a contribution to the foundation based on sales.

Although the Ripken burgers are only in Giant stores, customers can order other Roseda products online or find them in select grocery stores, such as Graul's Market.

___

Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore, http://www.mddailyrecord.com


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