Diary 2005-2006

2005

Welcome back, ‘03 & ‘04 were fantastic years around here, not only did we finally get a new house built (it was finished in late ’02) we went through some wonderful changes. First, our philosophy has been tweaked a little on the type of beef we are raising. Don’t worry, we are still running Black Angus (really, what else is their?) and we still live by the Holistic approach to caring for animals, as well as the environment. But we have changed our opinion a bit on Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed. (See our Black Angus page for more…)

What changed our minds the most this past year was our customers. I guess you could say we finally went public with our beef sales. We started selling at the Ephrata Farmers’ Market in the summers’ of ’03 & ‘04, and what an eye opening experience! It was amazing to meet and talk with so many people that were looking for an alternative to the retail beef available in the stores. We heard so many horror stories of tuff, bad taste-ing, sometimes sickening experiences w/retail beef! And the problem was, the only alternatives were over-priced mail-order or organic beef. As I’ve said before, we believe in the Organic philosophy of no Hormones, Anti-biotics, or Steroids. And of course, no animal bi-products! But, the reason we’re not CERTIFIED ORGANIC is its hard to find Organic feed. And even if we could, we’d just have to pass on the additional costs to our customers, and we’re not gonna do that! So, we are still, and always will be “All Natural”, grass AND grain fed, and promise to bring you the safest, best tasting beef experience you will ever find!

And, to make things even better, we had a 100% calving season in ‘03! That means we had every cow in our spring and fall calving herds calve, unassisted, and every calf was alive and healthy! To this day I can honestly say that every calf ever born here in our 5+ years has lived at least to their 1st birthday! We’ve also been real lucky with the Bulls we’ve sold, they’ve all done real well for our buyers, one 15mo. old in particular that we sold to a cattleman in Stanwood, Wa., bred 34 Heifers in his 1st (3 month long) breeding season!

This summer (’05) is gonna be a very special time for our Ranch and our families. First, we are finally getting into the west-side market with our “All Natural Beef”. Several Health-Food stores in the greater Seattle area are giving our beef products a chance! It’s real exciting getting a chance to serve such a huge market and we hope any of you reading this from over there will give our product a chance and let us know what you think of it. Next, on the weekend of June 24-26 we are celebrating the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my parents, Bob and Barbara Smith, as well as my dads’ 70 Birthday! This will be a family reunion / open house / weekend of Beef, Booze, and music!! Anyone remotely related, friends of the family, customers of the Ranch are invited.

So pack up the family, the camper, the boat, and some food and come on over!

2006

This has definitely been another year of changes! We started a crop-share venture with a neighbor of ours this spring, planting about half our deeded land into Organic Barley. It was amazing! What a change for our ground. What used to be sparse with grass, and mostly covered in sage brush, is now being grazed well into winter. It also provided the majority of our straw needed for winter feed! After a year of buying all our hay, we went out and bought back the Rake and Baler we sold, and next year we will be baling enough of our own grass and straw to not only feed our herd thru the winter, but we’ll probably have a bunch to sell! It looks like we’re gonna break out some of our Leased land next year as well, so we can improve the grazing there and make our land owners a little money too!

Our herd is in a huge rebuilding faze right now, after 2 + years of high calf prices, and huge demand for our breeding stock, we’ve sold off almost 2/3 of our numbers from a couple years ago, so we’ve been trying to rebuild. So what happens this fall? My calf crop is almost all Bulls! Well, I guess our Beef program is looking good for the next year anyway. We are hoping to expand to a few more stores in the coming months. We are currently trying a couple new stores on the west side, only time will tell if they work out. Off the Farm sales are growing, home delivery is also starting to catch on with people who have been buying thru our stores for several years and are now buying in bulk.

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