It's been a long, dry end of summer for us here at the ranch. In the last two months we've had only one brief rain shower - very unusual. We are not in as severe a drought as most of the rest of the country, but it has been the driest August/September on record here. We are very fortunate that our summer pastures are right next to the beautiful Skagit river. The underground aquifer in those pastures is very high and the grasses have stayed healthy and green even in this extreme dry weather and we are very thankful for that.
I was in the Wenatchee area of eastern Washington last week and in addition to all the smoke from the wildfires still burning, I noticed how extremely dry it is for the cattle grazing on the hills. That has got to be very tough for the ranchers there. Our friends at Muddy Creek Ranch in Montana who supply us with our breeding stock are weaning calves early this year due to the drought conditions there. It is not an easy time to be raising cattle.
Having said that, with the pastures by the river green and nutritious our cattle are finishing very well. Our fall harvest of beef is scheduled in just three weeks and we are really excited about the quality of the meat. The steers look really good and the beef will be delicious!
We are still have some fall beef available and we are taking deposits on orders, if you haven't got yours in yet you can do it here at the Marketplace. The orders are coming in quickly and we really appreciate that! Satisfied, returning customers is our goal.
When the cattle are harvested in a few weeks it will take place here at our ranch. We are members of the Island Grown Farmers Cooperative which has one of the only Mobile Slaughter Units operating in the country, so our steers are never loaded in a trailer and shipped off to a huge slaughter facility far away. That is a very stressful experience for any creature and I believe it also affects the quality of the meat. Instead, our cattle are harvested in the most humane, stress free way possible right here in their own familiar surroundings. As ranchers we feel it is our obligation to make sure that our cattle are handled with care throughout their entire lives, and we are there personally to make sure that happens.
After the meat is harvested, it is dry aged for 18 - 21 days at the IGFC plant in beautiful Bow, WA. Dry aging is hard to find these days as it is time consuming and expensive, but it is the gold standard for beef and a step we are not willing to skip. When the dry aging is complete, the meat is hand cut by our experienced staff, then vacuum sealed and frozen to ensure freshness for up to two years in your freezer. We sold so much of our meat at our little ranch store this summer that we didn't hold any back for ourselves, so I am really looking forward to that first roast cooked slowly in the oven! It makes the whole house smell wonderful and I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.