The results are in, and our pure grass-fed beef scored a win.

Every year we retain one small rib-eye steak out of most processed animals to send to a local meat lab to be independently tested for tenderness. Out of forty-one steaks tested, forty scored as tender. The breakdown is as follows:

Very Tender (Shear test score less than 3) 61%
Tender (Shear test score 3-4) 27%
Medium (Shear test score 4-5) 10%
Not Tender (Shear test score greater than 5) 2%

We’re pleased that our Heart-J Beef score high in tenderness, it confirms we’re on the right track in our beef-raising practices. For a more complete discussion of the factors that contribute to tenderness, see The Grass-Feeder’s Dilemma.

Of course, tenderness is a consideration mainly for steaks, about 25% of the cuts in a side of beef. Ground beef—about 40% of what’s included in a bulk purchase—is always tender, because it’s, well, ground.

And the remaining 35 percent of the cuts, mostly roasts and stew meat, are wonderfully tender when properly cooked, slow and over low heat. Six to eight hours in a croc pot is great.

For cooking tips, download our free Heart-J Beef Cooking Guide.

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Sylvan Dale Ranch Heart-J Beef

As of July 24, 2013, we have ground beef on hand, as well as some organ meats.  The ground beef is super-lean, 10% or less fat, and comes in 1 lb. vacuum-wrapped packages.  Ten pounds is the minimum purchase.  Prices are shown below.

10 lbs. – $7.45/lb.  ~~   20 lbs. – $6.95/lb.   ~~   40 lbs. – $6.45/lb.  ~~   80+lbs.  $6.25/lb

Organ meats (heart, liver, tongue) are $4.00 / lb.  We also have some oxtails and some marrow bones at $3.00 / lb.

We are taking advance deposits of $100 on wholes, halves and quarters for beef to be processed this fall.  The demand for grass-fed beef is growing fast, and we are already three-quarters sold out for our fall availability.  Beef is provided in the order that deposits are received.  As of July 24, those who place bulk orders can expect to receive the beef in late November. 

To place an order, please contact Kathi at 970-691-9373, or email Kathi.  More information available at our Heart-J Beef website.

It wasn’t your usual gate crasher. Long legs, big ears and a schnozz the size of Rhode Island. A young moose, big enough to be dangerous, splashed into the end-of-the-week party for fifty guests at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch Friday night.

Moose at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Moose Swings by Sylvan Dale


 At one point the moose appeared to be headed for the buffet line of fresh rainbow trout and grass-fed beef bar-b-que, but the flashes of cell phone cameras seemed to dissuade it.
Moose swimming in Daddy-J

Loch-Moose!

The moose was last seen heading up the Big Thompson River toward highway 34.

David J

Filed under Ranch Stories by on #

Sylvan Dale Ranch in Loveland, Colo. has been awarded funding to incorporate new breeding stock into the farm’s cattle herd. Animal Welfare Approved announced the 2012-2013 Good Husbandry Grants which help promote sustainable, forward thinking farming techniques and Sylvan Dale Ranch was among the 42 grants that have been awarded to farms and slaughter plants across the nation. The grants are intended to improve animal welfare and allow pasture-based farmers to increase productivity for their operations. This is the fifth year of the program. Read more on Sylvan Dale Receives Grant from Animal Welfare Approved…

Calf - just born 2 84dpiMonday, April 15.

Springtime in the Rockies.  Hah!  We’re in the midst of the biggest snowstorm of the season, nine inches and counting.  We delayed our calving season this year on the theory that mamas calving in April and May (as opposed to our past practice of February-March) would fare better on the spring flush of grass and save us the expense of feeding hay in corrals.  Not to mention being a lot warmer.  Looks like Mother Nature has up and changed her season too.  Guess she thought we’d miss taking care of newborns in the freezing snow.

Calf 2012 01 - mama 010 - 1 smallWednesday, April 10, 2013.

From Linda J:

One sign of spring:  After helping move our fifty-five yearlings across the highway and onto Red Ridge, David J, Promise and I went into the Big Valley where the first little calf was just hours old.  A sweet looking little red heifer with ridiculously long eyelashes, was lying in a little hollow in the dirt.  A very bitter wind was blowing, and as we left, I saw her mama actually lie down with her, to keep her warm. I’ve never seen a cow do that before.  She’s a good mama.  Mango, our cattle manager, was coming to walk them down to water and some better cover, but I hated to think of them out in that cold all night.

PS. From David J:  The calf is doing great at 4 days old.  Her mama, #010, has stashed her baby in the tall grass in a hollow close to the irrigation ditch.  Anytime you approach the calf, Mama comes running and mooing.  Don’t mess with her baby!

Every few months, an outbreak of sickness and death caused by lethal strains of E. Coli  and other “super bugs” makes the headlines.  These bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.  Why?  One reason, according to scientists, is that unlike grass-fed beef, low levels of antibiotics are being routinely fed to industrially-raised cattle to make them grow faster and protect them from diseases caused by their living conditions.  Thousands of animals are crowded together into massive feedlots for months at a time, where they stand in their own wastes and gorge on grains that upset their normal digestive systems.  The bacteria happily seize the opportunity to multiply and evolve into new strains resistant to the antibiotics.  And they aren’t choosy about their hosts– humans do quite nicely.

Someone must be doing something about this, right?  Think again.  According to David Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA doesn’t even know what antibiotics are being fed to our food animals.  Legislation authorizing the FDA to collect this data can’t get out of a Senate committee.  Too bad.  As Kessler says, the problem is rapidly becoming a matter of life and death.

David Jessup

Filed under Healthy Beef by on #

Here at Sylvan Dale we are using cattle to help build up organic matter and carbon content of our soils.  The technique:  planned, rapid rotation grazing.  It turns out this also helps the soil conserve water.  Here’s a post from Dr. Roy Roath, CSU Professor Emeritus, describing a grazing experiment he conducted on range land in Northern Colorado:

In a program implemented north of Fort Collins in a ‘short grass prairie” receiving an average of 10-12 inches of annual precipitation; we implemented a grazing program designed explicitly to greatly increase water capture and retention. This requires a designed rotational grazing program to allow use, foster tillering and plant recruitment and management for growth and regrowth to full recovery in every pasture every year. In doing this we were able to increase forage on offer, leave greater residual cover and increase the diversity of the stand including greatly increasing the forb component. What we found is that the “short grass prairie” was really a mixed grass prairie suppressed by years of inappropriate grazing. We soon had major increases in cool season grasses and forbs and many tall warm season grasses that were not evident and not even thought to be a part of this ecosystem when we started. After five years in this program we had two dry streambeds that became streams that flowed 365 days a year and began to grow riparian vegetation the full length of their corridor. A critical part of this management strategy is to regain and manage cover on the primary terraces bordering the streambed. These are water storage areas and must have structure and cover to maintain the integrity to the stored water in the system. I can’t say that this works everywhere but I have enough experience in a variety of environments to know that one can vastly improve water capture and in doing so has a great probability of good things happening.

Filed under Eco-friendly beef by on #

The world has a water problem.  More and more of the landscape in temperate zones is turning into desert.  The planet is warming due to greenhouse gases.

Now along comes Allan Savory, the founder of holistic grazing management, claiming that herds of livestock can reverse these trends.  It sounds a little too good to be true, but Savory makes a convincing case.

My wife and I heard Allan Savory speak at the Quivira Coalition conference last October.  Now everyone can hear him speak at the TED Talks website.  It’s way worth twenty minutes of your time.  And his photos of transformed landscapes are stunning.

David J

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