Our beef is raised solely from our own cow herd which is being managed to work with the ecological principals of nature that enable us to enhance the pastures and habitat for our cows and the native wildlife.
Working with Nature
Quite simply, this means that we match the cow herd's highest nutritional demands (the last 2 months prior to calving) with the peak of the grasses nutritional value. Hence our calves are born on lush pastures and warm sunny days and not in the middle of winter as many conventional ranchers do. We work in concert with nature and follow wildlife's pattern of birthing in May/June, similar to when the deer drop their fawns, and breed up in the fall around September. By nature, our beef herds are the most sexually active at the time of the equinoxes - or when the sun is directly over the equator. In the northern hemisphere we key in on the autumnal equinox, which is about Sept. 23. Our cows are then exposed to bulls through both artificial insemination and natural service in the fall equinox. May-through-July breeding ignores this opportunity.
Importance of Genetics
In our quest to provide you with the most succulent, flavorful and healthy beef we have improved our Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn genetics by introducing Red Devons from Gearld Fry, a leader in sustainable cattle production. Our cows have been ultra sounded by Gearld Fry and Ridge Shinn of Bakewell Reproductions and by myself, (to measure for tenderness, back-fat thickness, and intra-muscular fat). Many other items are measured and scrutinized to provide us with a scientific picture of our cows. Each cow is ear tagged so individual records can be kept. In doing all of these measurements we have been able to accurately select cows that have a genetic predisposition to tender gourmet beef. The addition of Red Devon genetics are enhancing our native gene pool by bringing their traits of quality, quantity, tenderness, easy marbling, calm dispositions (less stress) and ability to finish solely on grass to fruition.
Pasture raised and finished cattle live a very low stress life and we use every effort to handle our cattle in a stress free manner. This is an important factor as meat from less stressed animals is much more tender and has a better quality. Once you have considered all the health benefits of eating Grass Fed Beef, it will not be surprising to learn that cattle raised on green pastures are also much healthier due to an improved immune system. Fertile soils provide the means for plants and grasses to be able to not only have both high protein and energy concentrations, they also provide the needed essential minerals allowing the cows to benefit from both. It is this process, from soil to grass, mix in a little sunlight, that makes sugars (energy), proteins and minerals bio-available to cows. Cows eating this nutritious food convert it to protein and fat. This lends credence to the old saying you are what you eat.
Our calves are raised alongside their mothers until about 9 months of age, when they are then weaned and moved to new pastures to finish growing. The growth stage from weaned calf to finished grass fed cattle is about 12-16 months. Eating only grass is a time consuming method to finish cattle, but infinitely healthier for the cattle and the land than finishing them with grains (which fattens the cattle quickly, but also changes the quality of the beef and diminishes the quality of life for the cattle).
Summer Grasses - The Finishing Touch
"We just wanted you to know how much we are enjoying the delicious beef we bought from you last fall. So far, every cut of beef has been a delight. We can't get over how much more tasty your meat is compared to what we were getting from COSTCO. Thanks for everything."
Larry and Karin Henderson
To this end I must thank Jay Russ for partnering with us in providing the expertise and the lush green organic pastures to finish our grass fed cattle through the summer and fall months. This is a time when our range land transitions from green grass to dry summer grass till our fall rains begin.
The Gold Standard
Raising animals on pasture with "all grass, all the time" will always be the gold standard, as described by Jo Robinson, author of Pasture Perfect. This method produces food that is better for us, keeps the animals on their natural native diet (no grains or animal by-products), and uses pasture to its maximum potential. This practice ensures environmentally friendly agriculture, which helps to sustain small Family Farms and promotes a healthy ecosystem.