Just after Thanksgiving Damon helped our neighbor Gil Motta to transport 10 grass-fed steers to a natural grass-fed beef market near Carbondale, Colorado. Gils’ steers were 100% grass-fed and grass-finished – no antibiotics, no hormones, etc. In creating this all-natural product, Gil was also using a high-density, low-duration grazing rotation. We discussed this style of Holistic Resource Management in an earlier post. The 4UR does not raise any cattle here independently, but we did have some of Gil’s heads on our land this fall. The grazing style he is using also holds benefits for the soil and nitrogen cycle, so we were pleased to be supporting these practices. Our Colorado dude ranch is getting the benefit of this grazing technique, and also sending our grass to a niche market.
Damon and Gil delivered the steers to Felix Tornare of the Milagro Ranch, an all grass-fed beef ranch on the bluffs above the Roaring Fork Valley. Felix told us about his network of Aspen area restaurants which have slowly adapted to using and promoting local, natural, and slow-food sources. He and his wife got started with a bakery that sold to the restaurants of the area. Aspen magazine did and article on them in their Best of Aspen issue 2007. They have been very successful and it was encouraging to share their story. It is also neat to think of how our family dude ranch has now had a small role in the slow-foods movement.
Damon and the other ranch owners and managers will be having a meeting with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) next month during which they will be developing a plan for the 2010 growing season and beyond. As stewards of this precious valley, we want to provide family ranch vacations for our grandchildren and beyond.