Life On The Farm

Origins of the Ranch

Origins of the Ranch

Would you care to join us for a brief stroll down memory lane? 


This week we took the kids fishing just up the road from us at our friend Bob Reeder's place. Nina took home the medal for the biggest fish!

Bob & Phil at Our Lady's Ranch

Here is Phil (on the right) and Bob (on the left). Being with Bob always takes us back to the very beginnings of Our Lady’s Ranch…

Twenty years ago we set about searching for land in Northern California that would be conducive to living in peace and sharing it with others.  We considered many parcels over a period of three years, all ranging in size from twenty to fifty acres, but none displaying the amenities that would help us achieve our goals.  We looked for land that settled at the end of the road for privacy, that displayed a gentle topography for usability, that retained a park-like setting for beauty, that extended both local and distant views for majestic scale, that contained a variety of habitats for wildlife diversity, and that flowed with plenty of water in various sources, just in case we ever wanted to farm a little ;)

Well, after three years of investigating areas, reviewing countless properties, and engaging dozens of realtors, we just never could find that peaceful place that satisfied our criteria… until the century turned into the year 2000, when a very kind and elderly gentleman named Bob Reeder said, “I just might have the land you’re looking for, but it’s never been listed on the market before and I’m not planning on selling it – but maybe if I find a nice family that loves it as much as I do?” 

So the following week we strapped in the two car seats for little Ty, who was three years old at the time, and her younger brother Zach, who was just eighteen months, and we drove out to meet ol’ Bob Reeder, who greeted us on his secluded parcel of land in Nevada County, California.

Ranch Creek

He was a calm, wonderful host who began showing us creeks and waterfalls, hills and woods, meadows and springs, agricultural irrigation canals, and everything we could ever imagine for our dream of living a simple life in the peace of God, and sharing it with others.  And wouldn’t you know, it just happened to be at the end of the road, sheltered in a natural oasis, surrounded by hills, yet replete with a wide variety of natural habitat and extended views across the San Joaquin Valley to the Coastal Mountain Range.  So as we looked back at each other silently saying, “Wow, this is it!” – we glanced up at Mr. Reeder who was about ten paces ahead with Ty walking next to him, her hand clenched around his pinky finger.  His heart was just melting, and so were ours.

Then, through a series of non-coincidental coincidences, we experienced several episodes of Divine Intervention, like watching scenes unfold in a movie, leading up to the purchase of that one hundred and seventy three acre parcel of land that is now affectionately called, “Our Lady’s Ranch.”

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Harvesting the Beef

Harvesting the Beef

Hi Everyone - 

Have you ever wondered how your beef gets from farm to table? 

Here's how we do it...

After our cows have been with us 2-3 years feasting on nutrient dense native grasses, it is time for the harvest. First we call them from the pastures into the corrals. We literally call them with the same tones we use to bring them to fresh grass a few times per week, so they usually come into the corrals curiously and calmly. 

Being able to treat the animals gently is an important part of our humane practices, which take the front seat in all our harvesting procedures. 


We then walk through the herd with our friend and livestock consultant, Mark Blakeman, who also happens to be our brand inspector. That's Zachary on the left, Phil in the middle, and Mark on the right, with two more Zeiter boys (Jo-Jo 12 and Mikee 11) on the rails, helping a little and learning a lot. Here we are walking among the cows to get a good close look at them, inspecting their features for size and quality with a high fat percentage for good marbling. All the high-tech machinery in the world could not substitute for this vital hands-on, quality control review. 


After choosing the best two cows, we sort them into a pen and load them into a livestock trailer to be delivered to a first-class hotel corral where they spend their last night near the mountains of Sparks, Nevada. 


These are the exterior facilities of the University Nevada Reno - where our USDA certified livestock handlers receive our cows, keeping them in natural surroundings until the final moment. At first morning light, each cow is walked up the ramp on the left, through the door into a one-cow holding box where it is quickly and painlessly dispatched. 


From the orange box in the back corner, the dispatched animal is dressed out and cleaned off for setting out in a controlled, refrigerated room to dry-age for two weeks in order to tenderize the meat while enriching the flavor (a process long since abandoned by grocery-store beef). 


Each side of beef is then moved to the butchering tables where experienced professionals train college students in the art of carefully cutting and packing each type of steak, roast and ground product. Notice how clean everything is - even the floor. Also worth noting is the heavy clothing on everyone in the photo...the room temperature is purposefully kept like a refrigerator to minimize bacteria and eliminate flies. We finally found one area where the USDA is worthwhile and helpful - we'll let you know if we ever find another :) 


We then pick up all these boxes of meat and bring them back in our air-conditioned delivery van to our packaging shed. We organize all the different cuts of meat into our freezers so that we can efficiently put together all of your orders for you. 


We eat the same meat that you eat, and we love the superior tenderness and flavor of our all-natural, grass-fed, grass-finished, dry-aged beef. There's just nothing better to us than a good ol' fashioned family barbecue dinner - hey, pass the potatoes will ya? :)

So there you go - that's how we do it... 

From our Family Farm to your Family Table! 

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Making Merry or Making Mari~Nade

Making Merry or Making Mari~Nade

Well, the music was blasting, the girls were cookin', and out came three delicious marinades for this Saturday's BBQ Extravaganza at the Grass Valley Farmer's Market.

Girls in the Kitchen

We made three very different, yummy marinades... all for your enjoyment! New York's, Top Sirloins, London Broils and Korean Style Short Ribs -
All with unique family stories and all delicious!!!

Marinade #1 is a Steak Marinade for New Yorks and Top Sirloins that Phil and Alicia used with a Tri-Tip on their first home date BBQ. It must of went well back then because they got married and they keep on cookin'. Now it's 25 years later and Alicia's been perfecting the family recipe for this savory sensation. The ingredients include a base of Cabernet Sauvignon, Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce, Olive Oil, Crushed Garlic, and lots of love... the secret's in the love!

Marinade #2 is a sweet basting and dipping sauce for the veteran barbecuer with a London Broil. This marinade is cooked a little to melt down some brown sugar into a delectable sauce that requires top-secret clearance to uncover... Or a really nice email request to Alicia.

Marinade #3 is a Family Favorite for the barbecuing of Korean-Style Short Ribs. This Asian concoction of soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed garlic, ginger, and chopped green onions wins the Family Friendly Farm's Marinade competition year after year, and is currently in first place once again for this week's competition at the local Farmer's Markets.

Final results of the Marinade Competition will occur at the Grass Valley Farmer's Market (North Star House) this Saturday 6/4/16 between 8:00 - 12:30, where we'll be cooking samples of all three of these Beef Cuts with their accompanying Marinades... Hope to see you there for the taste testing and yummy fun. We'll make sure to post the results afterwards.

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Bringing Home the Bacon

Bringing Home the Bacon

Hi Everyone - 

We just thought that ya'll might be interested in how we handle your meat upon receiving it from our butchers.

Well, like most activities around here, it's a family affair...

Everyone helps unload boxes of meat from our delivery van. 
Christie is in charge of inventory and she really takes charge. 
Ali does tons of packing around here... service with a smile :)
Even the littles ones around here do more than their fair share.
Fifteen Freezers hold up to five thousand pounds of meat for us.

We're happy to serve you these All-Natural, Pasture-Raised, Healthy-Meats, and we really enjoy our friendships with each of you.

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"A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Work Today..."

"A Funny Thing Happened On Our Way to Work Today..."

We found a shelled critter recently... Fun for all the little ones! 
(No Tammy - you can't eat the Turtle.)

Actually, this was a rescue operation... Joseph found this little guy stuck in a pipe and brought it down to show everyone

And then he released it into its new, happy little home...

The End

See? Stories do end with "Happily Ever After" in real life too...
Just ask the Turtle!

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Working Together

Working Together

It seems that there's nothing better than two brothers working together...


Or perhaps.... Nothing better than two brothers smiling together...


But then again... nothing's better than a Father and Son working together...


Except Maybe... A Father and Daughter Working together...


But then again... How about a Husband and Wife working together...


Then there's Ty with her turn on the Tractor...


And the Girls gluing the pipes together...


Even the two youngest pitch in...


Well... Maybe the best is when we're all working together...

With love from all of us to all of you :)

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