- 1. Is your beef organic?
No. we are not a large enough producer to warrant the cost of becoming certified "organic" by the USDA. In this time where speed and convenience are often highly valued, it is also imperative to be an informed consumer and know where your food comes from and how it was raised. We feel that pasture-based grassfed and locally produced are more important than the USDA's definition of organic. We would rather buy hay from a small local grower than to ship organic hay in from out of the area. Our pastures are in locations that have wildlife and occasional people passing nearby, and sometimes we have to deal with noxious weeds. If herbicides are used in a pasture, we do not graze that pasture for at least a year. We also feel that feeding a forage-based, local and grass fed diet is more important than feeding an organic diet. We adhere to the guidelines established by American Grassfed Association with respect to our animals being on pasture, not in confinement, and never fed hormones or antibiotics.
- 2. You don't feed antibiotics, but what do you do if one of your cattle gets sick?
Large scale beef production usually involves several months in a feedlot where cattle are fed diets high in grain, often corn. Cattle are not designed to eat grain; they are designed to eat grass and other leafy plants. This unnatural diet of grain upsets the bacterial balance in their digestive tract, and so feedlot operators feed anti-microbial agents (ionophores and antibiotics) to limit the proliferation of certain types of bacteria (e.coli) in the intestinal tract of cattle.
Our cattle are eating a grass and forage diet, what they were designed to eat. The microbes in their digestive tract are in balance and play a crucial role in the digestion of the fiber in their diet. We do not feed sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotic as is done in a feedlot. In the rare event that a steer gets sick however, we will treat with therapeutic levels of antibiotics if needed and as directed by our veterinarian. This is part of humane care for our animals. We withdraw an animal that we have treated with antibiotics from our grassfed program. We would not sell this animal as grassfed beef, it will be sold into the traditional beef market.
- 3. Why is managed or "planned" grazing important to me?
Because "All Flesh is Grass": The green plants growing in our pastures are nature's original solar collectors. They store solar energy in their leaves, stems and roots. This energy is stored in a special type of chemical bond that can only be broken down by microbes that live in the digestive tracts of ruminants like cattle. Grazing cattle harvest solar energy that we would otherwise be unable to utilize. Plants are designed to be grazed; grazing stimulates leaf and root growth. Healthy pastures serve as carbon sinks, and sequester CO2 therefore growing plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and "fix" it into the soil as organic matter. We manage our grazing by moving steers to new pastures so that grasses recently bitten have a chance to recover and grow. By allowing the plant sufficient rest and recovery after being grazed, it not only replaces the leaf that was grazed, but also increases the root mass below ground. It is the community of roots, microbes, insects, organic material, and decaying waste products in the soil that contribute to a healthy pasture, and will maintain the cycle that sustains life.
- 4. How much meat can I expect to get?
Each animal will vary slightly by hanging carcass weight. A half (side) of beef will generally consist of 220 to 375 pounds hanging weight before it is aged, cut into portions, packaged and frozen. Our meat is dry-aged for 14 to 21 days for increased tenderness. If you order a half, after cutting and wrapping you can expect to take home 150 to 250 pounds of beef.
- 5. How much freezer space do I need?
25-35 pounds of meat takes up approximately 1 cubic foot of freezer space.
- 6. How can I order and when do I get my meat?
Give us a call or send us an email. We need the following information:
- Your name, address and contact information
- Whether you want to reserve a whole, half or quarter animal.Confirm your order by sending us a $100.00 non-refundable deposit. We will confirm your order when we receive your deposit. We will be in communication with you in late summer or fall to discuss your cutting order and other details regarding where, when and how to pick up your beef order.
- 7. Are there benefits to grazing cattle on mountain pastures?
Yes! You can find grass fed beef that spends its entire life at the lower elevations of the Front Range. However, these animals will need to be pastured on irrigated pastures to have adequate access to fresh green grass. Green grass is critical for the distinctive flavor and nutritional value of grass fed meat. Irrigated pastures require water and often electricity to pump the water. Mountain pastures stay green throughout the summer, watered by the winter snows and monsoon rains, thus they do not require additional inputs. We do spend additional time, labor and some fuel moving cattle to new pastures, but our preliminary analysis indicates that cattle managed in this manner may have a smaller carbon footprint, than those grazed on irrigated pasture lands.