A lot of people ask us why, at our age, we are in ranching at all, and then, why we are taking on the extra hassle of raising and selling grass-fed beef. The answer is that we love it! We love raising the animals, being involved in the birthing process, helping our neighbors with their round-ups, and being part of the natural and organic food movement. It feels good to be part of something that will make the world a better place.
One of the reasons people first started buying our grass-fed beef was because they loved the way we took care of our ranch, and they appreciated the gentle and humane way we raised our animals. We believe we are caretakers of the land in this small part of the planet, and that as we are here for only short time, we should do our best to take care of it.
For the good of the land, we have fenced our cattle out of our creeks, and planted native trees there to provide habitat for wildlife and prevent soil-loss. Chileno Creek flows through our property into Walker Creek, which flows into Tomales Bay, one of the most pristine bays on the West Coast. With our efforts, salmon will return to spawn in Chileno Creek, as Steelhead do now. Neo-tropical songbirds flourish in our stream-side willows, when only five years ago our creeks were bare and devoid of vegetation. Our neighbors have recently fenced off their creeks, creating several miles of protected habitat on private land.
Additionally, we practice rotational grazing, ensuring that our grasslands remain productive for our ranch operation, and also that the native wildflowers thrive without the competition of introduced grasses that shade out native plants. Cows keep introduced grasses low so that the smaller, shorted native perennials can get the sunlight they need.
Other best management practices keep our native forest population healthy, provide water and forage for wildlife and present a beautiful scene to passers-by, just as Mother Nature intended!
Several factors affect the way beef tastes. These have to do with the way the animal is handled, fed, treated, moved: the way the animal lives its life. Our animals are not crowded into small paddocks or kept on minimal pastures to forage. They are able to roam their whole lives over our green hills. We believe this improves the taste of our meat just as a wild salmon tastes better than one raised commercially. An animal that moves around naturally seems to build flavor into its muscle tissue.
When we feed our animals, we move among them. They are tame and calm, and therefore easy to move when we need to. We do not scare or force our animals into doing what we want them to do; we coax them with hay. This affects the meat. Stressing animals has a spoiling effect on the meat, producing toughness.
And lastly, we feed them nature’s diet of sun-warmed grass, not corn. This also gives the meat a superior flavor.
Our beef is offered by the split-quarter, half, or whole. A typical quarter weighs approximately 100 pounds, and includes prime cuts, lean ground sirloin, porterhouse steaks, and great soup bones.
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The quality of meat is amazing and the price is incredibly fair. I’m so spoiled by the quality that I can’t stand to eat meat from the grocery store or most restaurants anymore. Thank you, Mike and Sally! – Ian