Grass fed. It’s really that simple.
Cattle are ruminants. That is, they have evolved to eat grass (thus the four stomachs!) and turn it into, well, cow. It may seem like a basic idea to feed cattle grass, but the cattle industry has gained efficiencies through industrial practices. Corn is the primary diet of most cattle in modern times. They are kept confined in feedlots, given steroids and preemptive antibiotics to prevent the inevitable sickness that would arrive due to their diet and living conditions.
By grass fed, we mean our cattle’s lifetime diet consists of grass, hay, and forage and are 100% free range (apart from the occassional ride in the trailer). Our cattle are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Processed at a small USDA facility, they have no exposure to other cattle during packaging.
The many benefits of grass fed beef are well documented, but not well known. Grass fed beef is low in fat. Grass fed beef has more Omega-3 fatty acids. Grass fed beef has more vitamen E and CLAs. Not only is grass fed beef better for you, it is better for the animals, the environment, and the local economy.
Lastly, it just TASTES BETTER. Try it and see for yourself.
We strive to connect with you to be your primary beef provider. Enjoy the rest of the website and we hope to be hearing from you soon!
The cattle are raised on 1600 acres of native prairie grass 15 miles south of Yuma CO (northeast corner). The land is too sandy and hilly for grain production but lends itself ideally for cattle. We practice rotational grazing to better distribute and mitigate impacts on the land. Caring for our land is caring for our business.
There’s a lot of lingo in the cattle business – grass fed, all-natural, free range, ad nauseum. We pride ourselves in our certification as a grass fed operation according to the American Grassfed Association (AGA) grass fed standard. This organization has codified what it means to be grass fed – which is an uncompromising 100% grass fed, free range, all-natural requirement. We believe, and customers believe, when the label says GRASS FED, that it means it. The AGA is an important organization and we hope you look for producers advertising this label.
Sun Prairie was the name of Tom’s veterinary practice for decades before being forced to change it due to legal mumbo-jumbo. We are proud to have it back.
We work with Atlas Meats, a small, local, USDA-certified slaughterhouse and butcher facility in Fort Collins, CO. Atlas Meats processes the beef into cuts per our instruction.
We are the only customer Atlas Meats processes on any single day. This ensures there is no contamination from non-sourced cattle during processing. Atlas Meats maintains a clean, professional facility and are subject to USDA inspections.
Aging beef allows it to tenderize through natural processes, the longer the aging the more tender it becomes. Sun Prairie beef is dry-aged – hung as sides, free standing, in a controlled, refrigerated environment for a minimum of 14 days. This is contrary to the now industry standard ‘wet-aging’ process where the sides of beef are wrapped in plastic bags for a handful of days, often transported via truck from slaughterhouse to butchering facility – increasing efficiency, retaining moisture (and therefore weight) but sacrificing tenderness and flavor.
The beef brats come from the French country culinary tradition. They are savory without being heavy with a clean finish. They are great on the grill – a nice counterpart to the hamburger. Alternatively, they can be broiled or panfried. Some customers prefer the brats as a breakfast sausage. They excel as a meatball base for any Italian dish (eg lasagna, spaghetti bolognese). Simply slice and panfry, adding ingredients as you go. Kids particularly love the brats.
The brats are all-beef combined with olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs de provence, and salt. We use whey to help hold it all together. Thus, our brats are gluten-free (but not lactose-free).
Be careful not to overcook the brats! They will bleed out the entirety of the flavor-infused olive oil leaving you with a tough and flavorless sausage.
The recipe is derived from Sharon Payne – chef, owner, and former operator of Parnassus Farm & Garden in New Zealand (she has retired after 15 years at the helm) . While our respective recipes are ultimately quite different, the inspiration comes from our relationship with the Payne family and the many morning teas with their home-grown grass fed farm sausage. David (a life-long dairy farmer and agriculture entrepreneur) and Sharon Payne have been inspirational to both Tom and Keith. A the kiwis would say, we owe them heaps.
We have a strong following of repeat customers, many of which we now consider friends as well as clients. We regularly receive comments on the flavor and quality of the beef. Those comments are really important to us, and we post a handful of them here on our website – if gives us hope that we’re doing something right!
We realize everyone has their own reasons for choosing grass fed beef. It may be health, animal husbandry, environmental stewardship, or a local, secure food source – or all of the above. We appreciate everyone’s commitment to “good” food. In return, we stay committed to the principled ranching by providing free-range, all-natural, 100% grass fed beef.
In March 2002, Michael Pollen wrote a seminal article for the New York Times Magazine chronicling the life of a conventional steer. While we were familiar with feedlots and the problems therein (Tom is a large-animal veterinarian), the clarity of Pollen’s article was startling. The article started us thinking about how we could change our operation to fulfill the promise of pasture to plate eating. We had already morphed our operation from conventional beef fattening to an all-natural program where we sell fully grown cows to local ranchers. We talked, planned, researched, and visited existing grass fed producers. We felt we could do more, yet we didn’t know how to reach customers. Things stalled.
With Keith moving to Denver in March of 2005, we decided to give it a go, though small scale. We carved out a small part of our already pasture-based, all-natural beef and finished them on grass. Keith used e-mail, cajoling, and pleading to get enough friends and colleagues to buy our first three animals. It was a success, if not somewhat stressful and amateur! That experience started us down the path of pasture to plate production that has brought us to where we are today – Internet, UPS delivery, five Front Range deliveries, and year-round availability. We continue to expand our customer base and would really like to meet you too.
The nascent success of our operation got us thinking we needed to be not just providers, but advocates. Tom has served on the Agriculture Council of the United States Humane Society charged with recommending humane treatment standards for animal production. we provide education through speaking engagements and tours of our ranch to urban citizens and rural activists/artists alike. Our mission has grown from a business to a new way of thinking – local, value-added production for local agrarian jobs that pay modest, but livable wages for those that have a desire and passion for land and land management.
We trust you will enjoy the benefits of sourcing quality meat by eating better, healthier, and tastier meals. Enjoy!