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That's the thought that comes to mind, when you're looking over the pastures at Rocker 3 Racnh, home of Oreganic Beef, outside of Madras, Oregon. The Ceciliani Family, which has five generations of cattlemen, rotates their herd across the lush green fields that roll from a high rocky butte down to the Deschutes River.
Steadfast Provisions takes our sourcing seriously. In fact, we take it personally. We believe that you need personal relationships with the farmers, ranchers, animals, and even the land that produce your food, in order to understand its true quality.
For thousands of years, trust grew from handshakes and eye contact. And for us, nothing has changed. That's why we went to visit the source of our grass-fed beef.
Devin Ceciliani and his father, Darrell Sr., holding a Steadfast Pemmican brick.
It was early Spring when we got to Rocker 3, and the grass hadn't quite gotten its spring growth spurt, yet. But there was still plenty of green for the cattle to forage. Darrell Sr., who manages the books and the administration of the ranch, met us in their parking lot, along with his two sons Darrell Jr. and Devin. They took a break from training up a new horse to try some Pemmican made from their beef (they loved it).
And then Devin gave us the "Nickel Tour" of the ranch. We drove through one of their broad irrigated hayfields to the bluff overlooking the river. Photos can't do that beauty justice: it's God's country.
Juniper-strewn steppe prairie sloped between basalt cliffs. Wherever it was flat enough, the land had been cleared, seeded, and irrigated. Cattle roamed freely, separated into family groups that ambled through the trees or calmly grazed the green. In the distance, the sharp and snowy profiles of Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson overlooked the bucolic scene.
Devin described the rhythm of their operation: calving was just about finished, and next up was branding, when the calves would get roped by men on horseback and then given the Rocker 3 brand.
Because they grass-finish all of their beef, Oreganic is a true slow-food operation. Each animal ranges around the ranch for over 24 months, eating nothing but grass, hay, and a bit of alfalfa.
By comparison, conventional beef animals take only 18 months to finish, after being trucked off-farm to a crowded feedlot.
Devin sent us home with a couple of Oreganic Beef ribeye steaks, to test. And I can tell you, as a beef connoisseur: it's phenomenal. You can taste the freedom and the wild energy of the land where these cows lived and grazed.
Nutritionally-speaking, the slow-grown grass-fed beef from Oreganic brings a lot to the table. For one thing, it's quite lean, which perfect for Pemmican (we mix lean meat with rendered fat - they have to start separate). It is also chock full of the nourishing vitamins and minerals found in the wild grasses and herbs that these cattle eat.
This beef has terroir.
We're delighted to be working with Oreganic Beef because of their meticulous devotion and stewardship to land and animal health. These are real people growing real food, family-owned, family-operated, with traditional quality values. Good pasture like this is important - and you can taste the difference.
“shake your ranchers hand” sounds a lot like the philosophy espoused by The Beef Initiative. You guys might want to check them out: https://beefinitiative.com/
Hey Michael, this map may help:
We are in need of a list of Pasture raised ranchers here in Lower Michigan. Does anyone have source or a list.
Thanks in Advance & God Bless