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To Clean or Not to Clean Eggs

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Since many of our grass fed customers are also looking for pastured pork and free-range chicken eggs, an article this week grabbed my attention and I thought it might be interesting for you. It has nothing to do with cattle or beef, but is about eggs.

One of my main chores growing up was to feed and collect eggs. I grew up watching little chicks grow up into egg-laying hens. In many ways the chickens fed me: through the variety of ways in which you can prepare an egg, through actual chicken dishes, and through teaching me responsibility.

With that in mind, one of the first animals that we brought to our home were two dozen chicks. My children became their caretakers and in turn received the same benefits as I had from my childhood. Today we have many more animals, but the chickens are our mainstay. They are easy to raise and earn their keep through their eggs.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about eggs. When I had a surplus and gave them away, many people were surprised that they were not clean and sparkly like those at the grocery store. Some even complained after I gave them free eggs. They did not seem to care that scrubbing them actually stripped away the protective barrier around the egg making the egg itself vulnerable to bacteria.

Needless to say, some people stopped receiving free eggs. Understand, I don’t crack the egg and let a feather fall into the bowl with the yolk. I wash my eggs before using, but Americans in general are particularly crazy about cleanliness.

Why the U.S. Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t” by Rae Ellen Bichel is an interesting read. If you have ever wondered why other countries don’t have clean, refrigerated eggs like we do, then you should read this article. If you raise chickens and have wondered if you should clean or not clean your eggs, then this is a must read.

Our Weaning Process

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Calves in the weaning process.  Notice the cows on the other side of the fence.

Calves in the weaning process.

In traditional ranching, calves are typically weaned young. The purpose is to get the calves on grain at a much younger age to bulk up. Cows are then allowed to recover quickly from nursing and be ready to be bred again at a faster rate. Traditional ranching is interested in getting beef faster and quicker.

On the other hand, grass fed beef ranching is truly a part of the slow food movement. We are interested most in quality. Therefore, we keep our calves at their mama’s sides for a much longer time. At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we typically aim for weaning at eight months. We feel that this gives the calf the best start.

Of course, we carefully monitor the condition of the mama’s. First calf heifers can sometimes not nurse a baby for eight months without losing condition in her own body. If we observe this, we wean the calf a little earlier.

We have just weaned calves again. We try to make this stressful time for both calf and cow as stress-less as possible. We separate the calves into a well-built pen, but do not cart them to the home ranch immediately. Instead we leave them in the pen with alfalfa cubes, hay, and fresh water for a few days so that the mama cows can be right on the other side of the fence.

The calves settle down in the presence of their mamas. The cows begin to dry up. They eventually will leave to go graze like any normal day. This is our signal that the weaning process is complete. We then will trailer the calves to the home ranch.

A few of our eight-month old calves.

A few of our eight-month old calves.

We want what is best for our calves and our cows. Doing what is best for our calves and cows also translates into what we believe is best for our grass fed beef customers. Cross Creek Cattle Company is dedicated to raising quality beef at affordable prices.

Think Natural

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Tuesday was an exciting day at Cross Creek Cattle Company.  Dr. Ward Bond, a nutritionist and television host, arrived with a small camera crew to spend a few hours at our ranch.  Dr. Bond is the host of Nutritional Living, a program that is in its sixth season, which is devoted to showcasing natural products and nutritional information.

A brand-new show, Think Natural, will begin on August 30th.  It will air on ABC’s Live Well Network in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Bond is doing an episode on grass fed beef.  We are honored that he chose our ranch to showcase.  He interviewed my father, Kenton Holliday, who is the owner of Cross Creek Cattle Company, as well as myself.  It was a pleasure to discuss what we do here on our ranch with a nutritionist.  Dr. Bond was well-versed in the health benefits of grass fed beef.

We also enjoyed taking our guests on a walk through our herd.  We showed them the free choice minerals that we mix from kelp meal, stocker salt, and diatomaceous earth.  The camera man was impressed with the condition of the calves that are in the finishing process.

It was also fun for us to invite them to lunch.  What did we serve?  Grass fed beef, of course.  My father grilled hamburger patties prepared simply to showcase the flavor of grass fed beef.  We also served salad and chips.  I think they really liked our beef since they went back for seconds.

The grass fed patties did not exhibit much shrinkage due to the fact that the meat is naturally so lean.  Cooking the patties at a lower temperature and for less time on each side insured that the patties were not dry.  We seasoned them with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.  If you don’t mind me saying, they really were delicious.

All in all, Tuesday was a great day for our family and our ranch.  Being able to help spread the word about grass fed beef is an honor.  I will let you know when Cross Creek Cattle Company will be featured on Think Natural.  I hope that you check it out as well as support Dr. Ward Bond as he tries to educate people on health, nutrition, and natural living.

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