Last October, the Patersons were contacted by the Operational Space Medicine Group (OSM) of the space agency and were asked about their biltong. OSM is the division responsible for the health of Canadian astronauts. The agency made detailed inquiries about the shelf-life of the cured meats.
A second email from the agency arrived just before Christmas stating the products were tested and taste testing would start early this year.
Based on a recipe developed about 300 years ago by the first European settlers in South Africa designed for easy transport in saddlebags, biltong is a traditional, air-dried meat made from slabs of inside round beef. The Patersons began making traditional meat products as a home business after moving to British Columbia from South Africa seven years ago – and business is booming.