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Archive for the ‘Grassfed Beef’ Category

Candy Connection to Cattle

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Halloween candy is everywhere. You walk into a grocery store and have to practically wade through aisles and kiosks filled with chocolate and sugary sweets. It makes me think back a couple of years to when the owner of the United Livestock Commodities group, Joseph Watson, recommended feeding stale candy to cows.

No, you read correctly. Candy for cows. And, no, I cannot make this stuff up. Truth is almost always stranger than fiction.

When corn is expensive and/or scarce, Mr. Watson felt that candy’s high sugar and fat content would be a good substitute. An additional bonus was that the paper wrappers could add fiber and fill to the cattle. His plan was a win-win for the beef producers and the candy companies. The latter had a way to unload their surplus product and the former had a way to cheaply feed their animals.

This plan does not seem to be a win for consumers though. I tried to find studies on what feeding candy did to the beef since two years have passed since the recommendation, but I could not find any information. Without a scientific study into the beef of candy-fed cattle, I am left with my own opinion.

I know what candy does to people. I know it is not a healthy part of anyone’s diet and should be eaten only in moderation. Therefore, I cannot imagine how anyone would have thought this was a good idea, much less publicly state it.

Grass-fed cattle do take longer to reach a harvest weight compared to grain-fed and/or candy-fed cattle. All that sugar and fat does make a cow or a person gain weight. As producers and consumers, we both have to show patience and trust the natural process. Then we know through countless studies that grass-fed beef has health benefits.

I tell you, the older I get the more I think our society has lost its mind. It is truly a strange world in which we live. As you pass out candy corn and bubble gum at the end of the month to costumed children, think about how you are keeping this candy out of the feedlots. I never could have imagined a candy connection to cattle.

Open Air Meat Market

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

meat market smaller

My husband, our only daughter, our 13 year old son, and I just returned from a mission trip in Uganda. We had an amazing time together serving the community, the missionaries, the church, and the Lord.

If you have ever traveled to Africa, you know about sensory overload. There are so many sights to take in and so many things that you don’t normally see that your mind swirls trying to process everything. As we passed through a bustling town filled with customers and vendors, we pulled over to purchase drinks for the remainder of our drive.

I looked to my left and there was an open air meat market. Beef was hanging from hooks while butchers were cutting off hunks of beef for waiting customers. It was fresh beef. The hooves and head were laying on the ground. On a table were the organs and other miscellaneous pieces. One vendor was weighing out organ meat to sell.

Beef is expensive in Uganda. At restaurants, beef costs a lot, chicken is more, and pork costs the most. So it is quite the opposite from the United States. In a culture where villagers live off of a diet high in starch, most of their protein comes from beans and peanuts, which they call ground nuts or g-nuts.

When we were served beef on occasion at a villagers home, it was usually beef bone broth. I knew how healthy the bone broth is as well as how uncommon it is to have beef on a daily basis in Uganda. They were putting out their best for us.

Inevitably when you return from a third world country, you cannot help being humbled by how blessed we are as a family and a nation. I wanted to show you this photograph and describe the open air meat market because I thought it would interest you as grass fed customers and/or fans of ranch living.

There is a movement to go back to how things were done in the past. Slow food movements, lacto-fermented foods, and traditional sourdough breads are among the trends of my health-conscious generation. I have a feeling that many of you would feel uncomfortable purchasing your beef in this fashion. Please let me know if I am wrong by leaving a comment.

Martin Family Review

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

In this day and age, it is so easy to read reviews of products. When I shop on Amazon, I can spend as much time looking at products as I spend reading customer reviews. Assuming that you are a like-minded consumer, I feel it is important to occasionally share feedback from our customers. The following is a recent one I received via email, but there is now a whole page on our website devoted to customer feedback. We call the page, “Testimonials.” Check it out if you to read more than the following.

Hi Lara,

I wanted to provide feedback on how much we have enjoyed the meat we purchased from you. When we bought the beef,we were just hoping for meat that was from a reliable company without the additional hormones, fat and ‘unknown’ additives of store purchased meat (no matter how ‘organic’). What we received was wonderfully lean, quality, full-flavored meat. Although it originally seemed like a lot of meat so that it might be hard to use it all in a reasonable time, I am surprised at how we have gone through it at a record rate.

Your company made buying the meat and the butchering process easy and straightforward so that we could optimize the cuts that we use the most. The ability to butcher and store the cuts in the thickness and weights that we use the most was also very helpful.

My husband loves to cook and is inspired by good quality ingredients. He loves to cook with this beef! We can taste the difference in freshness and although he has had to adjust his cooking style a bit to account for less fat, this has been a good adjustment.

We can’t wait for our next cow and knowing exactly where our beef came from adds to that enjoyment. Thank you for such a positive experience!

Regards,

The Martin Family


Thank you, Martin family, for your positive feedback and kind words. We look forward to supplying your family with more grass fed beef in the future.

Lean Beef Lowers Blood Pressure

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

People choose to eat grass fed beef for many different reasons. Some are health-related and some are not. On the whole, grass fed beef has been found to be lean and a healthy red meat choice.

Recently in Drovers Cattle Network, there was an article, “Study Shows Lean Beef Can Help Lower Blood Pressure,” by Mary Soukup. In it she discusses the DASH diet, which is for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, of which I had never heard. Researches knew that a diet high in protein helped lower one’s blood pressure, but they experimented to see if the type of protein mattered. Their hypothesis was no; therefore, they were shocked by the findings.

They compared a diet based on plant-derived protein, one with 4 ounces of lean beef a day, and one with 5.4 ounces of lean beef a day. Surprisingly, the larger intake of lean beef resulted in the larger reduction of systolic blood pressure.

So the “stay away from red meat” mantra from many well-meaning health experts might not be the best advice. Grass fed beef is the most popular source of lean beef available. As our customers enjoy the flavor and health benefits of our grass fed beef, now they can know that according to this study they just might be lowering their blood pressure. Just an added bonus, if you ask me.

Boys to Men

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, among other country legends, but I never did understand their song, “Mama’s Don’t let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” Not because of the lyrics, but simply because of the title. I grew up around a bunch of ranchers and they were all good, hard-working, manly men.

As a proud mama of four boys, I want my boys to grow up to be good, hard-working, manly men, too. My husband and I encourage them to play outside, work with their hands, etc. as well as read great books. We place just as much emphasis on real life skills as academics.

So when cows need to be worked and calves need to be tagged for identification purposes, we don’t leave them home playing video games. They come out to the ranch truck with jeans, boots, and lariats. Our two youngest boys are now 7 and 6 years old. They asked my husband if they could ride horses with their older brother, Jake. He gave his permission.

What a beautiful sight! Watching my three youngest boys from 13 to 6 in age, push the entire herd up the alley and into the working pens on top of eager and alert horses. The cattle respect the horses and don’t try to charge past; however, the boys had to work them back and forth in order to keep the mass of cattle tight and traveling together.

I regretted the fact that I did not have a camera or even my phone on me to capture this moment in time. It would have been a cool photograph to share with you, but instead I tried to imprint the image in my mind.

My boys were not only commanding animals that outweigh them by hundreds of pounds or herding cattle exactly where they needed to go, but they were working together. As a team, they accomplished the job set before them.

There were two kinds of teams. The first was a team of brothers. Boys that spend a good portion of the day wrestling, arguing, and being rambunctious were being calm, helpful, and focused on the shared goal. Then there was the rider and horse teams. Isaac was riding Ladd, Andrew was riding Dolly, and Jake was riding his horse, Jack. Together they all worked as one team.

After the work was done hours later, I watched my two youngest trot their horses up a hill in belly-deep grass blowing gently in the breeze. They were taking care to see that their horses had an opportunity to drink from the water trough before trailering back to the home ranch. No one told them to; they knew what needed to be done to take care of their teammate, and they did it.

My husband and I are not perfect parents. We make mistakes all the time. Some of you reading this might think that this day was riddled with parental failures. You might think we are completely out of our minds to let our boys near cattle on horseback. Maybe its the country in us, but we don’t see it that way. It is not only a way of life. It is part of how we raise boys to men.

Summer in Full Swing

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Summer on the ranch doesn’t differ too much from year to year. Really the only thing that changes is the amount of rainfall. Other than that, most things are unchanged. The heat is a dependable presence. Summers in Texas are hot and the temperatures have really begun to soar. These high temps combined with high humidity make for an awesome day. You step out of your nice air-conditioned home into an oven, and your body immediately begins perspiring.

This year in particular we have enjoyed nice rains. Therefore, we have more grass than ever. Not bad when you are in the grass fed business. Recently we had our first hay cut. We asked for round bales only. These are easier to feed a herd of cattle in the winter. We now have all the hay out of the field and stored for colder days.

The higher temperatures of summer mean that warmer water temperatures. We don’t have a swimming pool, but we do have several ponds. My children, especially the boys, love to jump in the water in an attempt to cool off. The cows do too, especially the Devons. Well, they don’t jump in, but they do like to stand mid-belly deep in the cool waters. Summertime means finding ways to cool off for both humans and animals.

Gardening is also in its prime time. Vegetables are ripening at lightning speed. We are getting to enjoy the fruit of our labor. Summertime is usually filled with putting up our produce and giving away our excess.

Summers are also a time filled with camps, fun outings, and trips. We like to spend time with our children enjoying this season together. From backyard barbecues to family floating trips, we seize time to spend with family and friends.

This is what summertime looks like at Cross Creek Cattle Company. We are busy doing both hard work and having family fun. We are truly enjoying the sunshine and cool waters. The smell of fresh cut hay fills the air. As I breathe in deeply, I know summer is in full swing.

Stellar Review from the Margiottas

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

I received this letter last week. It is from a sweet family from Buda, Texas, who became Cross Creek Cattle Company customers last year. I wanted to share it with you. Jaime gives her reasoning behind choosing grass fed beef. She also gives good information about how long an order lasted for her. It is truly a great review for these reasons. If I was searching for a place to purchase grass fed beef, I would find this letter extremely helpful. I hope you agree with me.

Lara & Family,

We want to take a moment to thank you for your phenomenal beef! What started us on the journey to purchase a whole animal was reading labels. As I prepared a meal with store bought organic, grass fed beef I noticed that it stated the beef was from 4 different countries. This concerned me, I couldn’t track even the country this beef had come from! It was clear on that day we needed to go local. We purchased our first fresh beef 2 years ago from another rancher – the beef, while high quality had a strange fishy aftertaste. We weren’t sure we liked fresh grass fed beef. We decided to try another rancher and purchased a whole cow from Cross Creek Cattle Company and split between 4 families. We were anxious to give this beef a try!

When making hamburger patties with this meat, it doesn’t shrink and it produces some of the juiciest burgers we have ever eaten! Our kids even state how much better this meat tastes! The strip steaks are perhaps my favorite cut, although the rib-eyes are a close second! It takes our family of 5 about 7 months to go through ¼ animal. We also appreciate the time Lara took to go over the cut sheet with us, and the processor for doing an excellent job meeting our needs. The packaging was done in a manner that allowed our family not to have waste. The customization of cuts was amazing and beyond our expectations.

When we picked up the beef Lara took the time to take us out to the pasture and meet the cows. Our 3 year old son made the journey with us from Austin and was amazed at the farm animals. Lara took him out to pet the horses, sang to the cows to get them to come out and our son received an invaluable lesson in where food comes from. She took time to explain why they raise their animals in a loving environment, and it shows that happy cows do make better meat.

There are not enough good things to say about the DeHaven family, the quality of beef and the humane way these animals are raised. We tell everyone we know about the beef and recommend the Cross Creek Cattle Company to all!
Kudos to you and your family for doing it the right way! You provide high quality, nutritious beef at an affordable price. You have customers for life with this family.

The Margiotta Family
Buda, Texas

Summer Forecast 2014

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

As grass fed beef ranchers, we are not only concerned with the health and growth of our cattle. We also try to keep our eye on weather patterns, amount of rainfall, etc. This summer experts are predicting an El Nino effect over the Atlantic Ocean.

Therefore, they are looking for less hurricane and tropical storm activity. Experts are only looking for about one major hurricane this season. However with that low prediction, they keep reminding everyone that one storm is all that it takes for disaster to strike.

Hurricane activity does impact us to a degree. We get winds and rainfall. We always have the possibility of a tornado spinning from the atmospheric imbalance of the storm. However, we are far enough from the coast where we do not feel the complete devastation of the hurricane.

Rainfall throughout the summer is what mainly concerns us. Drought has effected us for years now and we are finally out of it. With it fresh in our minds, we do not want to slip back into that devastating pattern. We need the proper amount of rain for good growth in our natural grasses for our cattle.

Last year we had pretty good rain. Our pastures responded including our hay fields. We are hoping for a repeat.

It looks like because of the predicted El Nino, we could definitely enjoy a wet summer without a lot of hurricane activity. Not a bad forecast. Now if only the prediction comes true.

Up and Running Again

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

photo (8)

photo (9)

Awwww…the simple things in life! You don’t have to be a rancher to understand that cows in tall, green grass is a good thing. It is natural. It is relaxing. If only I had recorded the sounds of them chomping on the grass. They were all so seriously going after their dinner that they unintentionally serenaded me with a nature song.

I remember listening to recorded nature songs of thunder storms, waves breaking on the shore, and the haunting sound of whales singing. Maybe someone should record happy cows munching on green pastures. Although, I am not sure on its wide-spread popularity. I do know that to grass fed ranchers, it is truly music to the ears.

Things are so different nowadays if I were to record the “music” I would not burn a CD. Instead, I would have to figure out how to sell the single on iTunes.

Writing articles for this blog is a great way to get news out about our ranch and grass fed business, but it requires some technological savvy. Not much savvy, just enough.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been unable to post because of some technological issues with the blog only. Luckily the website was up and running. Admittedly my technological skills are limited; however, we are back online with the help of some key people.

Despite the technologically advanced society we are all a part, it is still the simple, everyday things that bring me great joy. As happy as I am that the blog issues are resolved, it brings me exponentially more pleasure to be outside in the sunshine, standing on the rain-soaked earth, and watching our calves do what they were created to do.

So whether you too are spending today in the great outdoors or you are sitting in a downtown office without windows, I hope that you enjoy the pictures and can spend a moment living vicariously through them. Know that even when the ranch is offline, we are still hard at work raising grass fed beef for our customers.

A Family Farm

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

In Drovers Cattle Network this week, an article called “Farming and Ranching-It’s a Family Business” peaked my interest for obvious reasons. Click on the title to read it for yourself.

The article gives many statistics about the farming and ranching business in the United States. The point the editor, Mary Soukup, is trying to make is that agriculture gets a bad wrap sometimes by “anti-modern agriculture distractors.” They use terms like corporate giant or factory farms to describe agriculture today.

Her point is that 97.6 percent of all US farms today are family farms, and they are responsible for producing 85% of what I would assume are available products for consumption. However, that is not explicitly stated. What really interested me is the major products provided by family farms. Corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat are the major field crops. Poultry, eggs, and hogs are also high on the list. 75% of all dairy products are provided by family farms.

This is so different from my experience. I am not refuting the facts listed in the article. I don’t have any hard evidence. However one glance around here and you will see that there are many Sanderson chicken farms, which I guess technically are owned independently by different families. Most of the local dairies that were in full swing when I was a little girl are all closed. Also almost every pasture is home to cattle of some breed. Cattle and/or beef are not even mentioned in the article.

Now I realize that Grimes County, Texas is not a picture of all agriculture in the United States, but I am explaining my surprise at what this article describes. It also makes me wonder who is then raising all the beef for human consumption if it does not even make the list.

One thing that I cannot argue with is at the end of the article. In the second and third to last paragraph, Ms. Soukup writes,

To be successful in today’s agricultural sector, one has to have a savvy business mind and sharp technical skills. It takes a special knowledge to know when to sell a bin full of corn versus when to hold it or how to skillfully help a mama cow deliver a baby calf coming breach. It also [takes] a special sense of pride, commitment and tradition. It takes both. Family farms and ranches come in all shapes and sizes. They were built on years of sacrifice and hard work. They were maintained by making good business decisions. They live on, in part, because of the tradition.

At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we are proud of the fact that we are a family farm raising grass fed beef for ourselves and our customers. We work hard in perfect weather and less than perfect weather to care for our land and animals. We hope to pass the knowledge and business down through the ages. Without a doubt, it is a true family farm.



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