The Nature of Grant Creek Ranch

Calves and Beef are obviously the big business of Grant Creek Ranch. Understandably, this is what we focus most of our time and effort on promoting. We have a great product to offer that we all stand behind 100%. Naturally we want to share that with the world, or at least our small part of the world for now, but in fact there is so much more to Grant Creek.

The drive to our ranch is not unlike most one would experience in the central part of the U.S. Once you leave Tulsa and pass through the suburbs to follow you reach what most people probably envision when you tell them you’re from Oklahoma or Kansas: Flat nothing. Of course there’s so much more than that, but to the untrained eye it can seem desolate. What you see are flat fields of grass, hundreds of cows, the occasional house, hawks gliding through the air. It takes you to a quieter time before cities pushed further and further out. It’s fun to wonder about the people who live out this far. How often do they go grocery shopping? What’s the closest town to them? How much work does it take to maintain this much land? What do they do??

Black-Eyed Susans

While I love outdoorsy things and have no problem getting my hands dirty, I am admittedly a city girl at heart. I love the convenience and easy access to necessities and entertainment. Most of all, I love the style and look of “City.” For being in a southern state I’m not much of a southern girl (regardless of how much I may love biscuits and gravy or beans and cornbread). However, having just recently moved out to the “country” myself I can definitely see the benefits. It’s much quieter. I have talked to my neighbors more than I ever did living in town. Traffic isn’t much of an issue unless you run into the occasional slow tractor or loose cow. There definitely is something relaxing about being in the country and time seems to slow down, especially at the ranch.

Going further in our hypothetical drive towards the ranch it gets increasingly quieter and calmer, towns are even fewer and far between. You can tell the people around have to rely a lot more on their local resources. It’s a completely different atmosphere. Luckily this is where the scenery gets better with rolling hills starting to form, wide open skies and beautiful flowers. When you get to the ranch there’s open space for miles. You can’t help but stand and take in all the beauty you don’t get in a city. While pictures won’t do it justice it’s certainly the next best thing and I wanted to share them with our readers!

Birds, and their lodgings, are everywhere at Grant Creek. I find the nests of the Swifts/Swallows to be the most interesting. They are built up all throughout the shop we use to house our big equipment. They use such a unique design you don’t often see. Hawks are another common bird that are so beautiful to watch as they gracefully glide through the air, giving the impression its an easy task.

I am amazed at the people who can identify certain types of flowers. It’s certainly not a talent or skill of mine so please comment below if you know what these are. Google is letting me down. For now, I will simply admire their beauty and all the colors. Maybe I’ve watched Disney’s Alice in Wonderland a few too many times, but looking at the purple/blue flower with yellow in the middle I can imagine it’s a little tiny woman twirling her glamorous dress all around her.

Of course, where there are flowers there are insects. I can’t say they’re my favorite things ever but I can appreciate the pictures. Look closely at the pictures above. Do you notice the little spider chilling on his purple chair? Most interesting of all, zoom in on the picture of the tall violet stem. There’s more than the big bumble bee to find here. Putting their awesome camouflage skills to perfect use is an insect hidden on almost every one of those buds. Can you see them? Does anyone know what these are or what type of flower this is?

It’s almost hard to believe that in all these big open spaces you can find so much. You have to look closely or they’re easy to miss. Photo credit goes to Steffanie, the wife of one of the ranch’s managing members. She has such an eye for catching these magnificent images while most of us rush on by. Thank you, Steffanie!

Two Places at Once: Our Locations Explained

You might be wondering, or even confused, about our process and how we do things at the ranch, especially since you might have noticed I throw out Kansas and Oklahoma a lot. Why multiple locations? Let me explain.

As I have mentioned before in Ranch Day!!, our main ranch (Grant Creek) is in Cedar vale, KS. It is about 1,400 acres of beautiful pastures and creek. We also own some farm land in Carney, OK. Technically, these are all owned by Riverview Property Co., LLC. Riverview is an affiliate company of Marjo Operating Co., Inc., a small oil and gas company out of Tulsa, OK. This is where the blog magic happens. Mark and Brian run ranch operations with the help of a few guys both in Kansas and Oklahoma while I pass on all the information I hope you all enjoy reading. Then there are the other office duties like Accounting that go on at our Tulsa office as well.

All of our cows and bulls live at Grant Creek Ranch and all of the calves start out there. When calves are born, they stay with their mothers for about 6 months. During this time they roam free and are only caught once when they are tagged with ear tags. After this period, the cows are separated into two groups: Those that will be raised for meat and those that will be sold as calves.

Raised for meat

The calves that are kept to raise will go to the ranch in Carney, OK after they have reached 6 months old. The pastures they will graze are mostly Bermuda grass fertilized with nitrogen. This is safe for the cows and the meat and causes the grass to grow extremely fast, giving the calves plenty to eat. Of course there is a weaning period first. The calves are kept in a smaller area only for about a week. They are fed hay and supplemented with protein, similar to what we have to do in the winter. This is an important step because unfortunately this can be a stressful transition for calves and it can make them susceptible to certain health conditions. We want to make sure they are watched closely and kept calm. As you know we treat our cows well so we have never had any issues with their health or well-being. After this transition time, they are released into the pastures to continue grazing and grow.

Our current calves were born in February/March and will go to Carney in September. They will remain until they are about 1 1/2 years old, gaining approximately 3 pounds per day.

Calves to sell

All of our calves go through this similar process. The ones that are selected to sell will be weaned and then taken to Oklahoma City to be sold. It is better to sell them after the weaning process to ensure they do not develop any issues. This means they can be sold for a higher price and at less risk for the buyer. What happens to these calves next is up to the buyer. Some are sent to feed lots, others are probably sent to other pastures. Who knows, some might even be used for therapy. Yes, this is a thing. Read about it.

Delivery and Processing

Because we have farms locally in these locations, we focus on processing and delivery in these areas only. Someday we hope to grow to be able to branch out our business and offer our meat to a larger demographic. The cost of keeping the meat cold during shipping makes this at a challenge at the moment.

We do offer free delivery in Tulsa and can even make arrangements to have the meat processed at a closer location to you to make ordering easier and more convenient, depending on where you are.

Spread the word so we can start reaching more people and make the delivery process easier and more available for everyone!

Cow Appreciation: Treat ’em right!

HAPPY COW APPRECIATION DAY!!!

We definitely appreciate our cows at Grant Creek Ranch. Beef is arguably the best meat out there…at least it’s my favorite.

Cows sacrifice a lot for us and in return we treat ours with the best care.

  • We do not inject our cows with hormones. Again, our main goal is not to produce giant animals. Our goal is to produce healthy, flavorful meat.
  • Our cows roam freely.  Feedlots are usually a stressful environment for an animal. If a cow is stressed it will produce adrenaline and other hormones that will affect the meat. Remember, we don’t want extra hormones.
  • We are a closed herd. We are not bringing cows in from just anywhere. We are careful in our selections. Doing this drastically reduces diseases and illness that can develop and be easily spread in a herd raised with less discretion.
  • We do not use unnecessary antibiotics. Feedlots are usually crowded, which leads to more sickness and disease, which leads to the need for antibiotics, which affects the meat. If we do not use these methods, it would make sense that we do not need unnecessary antibiotics, and frankly why would we waste the money on them just to be proactive? Now, just like if you are sick, sometimes it is a necessity to ensure the health of our cows, but we try to keep this to minimum.
  • We are never cruel. If a cow is in a stressful environment, it’d be natural to associate humans with that emotion meaning they are not as receptive to humans. Our cows are only handled a few times a year. What exposure they do have to us is always pleasant, therefore they are not scared and are very tame. Connect this to the points above and you can come to the conclusion that they will produce much more tender meat.

If you noticed, all of these points lead to another. Not all beef is the same and every aspect of their care absolutely has an impact on the product you are buying.

Plain and simple, it just makes sense this way.

 

Ranch Day!!

Last Friday, we took a company outing to the Ranch in Cedar Vale, Kansas! What we thought was going to be a miserably hot day turned out to be quite nice and tons of fun.

To give you a bit more background, we actually are primarily a small oil & gas company out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we also own Riverview property Co., LLC, which has some rental houses in Midtown Tulsa and farms near Tonkawa, OK and another cow-calf operating in Carney, OK. As part of these ventures the owners’ dream of owning a ranch finally came true, bringing you Grant Creek Ranch: 1,420 acres of beautiful land in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

 

Unfortunately, Ranch Day happened to fall on the hottest day we’ve had so far this year. Being in Oklahoma, the crazy weather never comes as much of a surprise. With a forecast of 95°, a heat index of 110°, and 70% humidity we honestly were expecting the worst. We packed up the cars with our lawn chairs, sunscreen, and bug spray and made the hour and a half long drive to Grant Creek.

What did come as a surprise was how nice the day actually ended up being. The huge tree in front of the ranch house provided the perfect amount of shade for our group accompanied by a nice cool breeze. We picked up BBQ from Buck’s BBQ in Sedan for a lunch of brisket, pulled pork, red potato salad, pies, and other goodness. This place is HIGHLY recommended if you’re ever in the area. Delicious food, cold beer, and great friends: what else could you ask for?

 

Next, we took a tour of the ranch to see the many pastures, shady creek, and of course…our cows. There are so many kinds of birds and flowers to admire, old structures left on the property made our imaginations soar, and the views are spectacular with nothing but land and sky for miles and miles.

 

Most of our employees are not directly involved with the ranch so it was great for them to be able to finally see what it’s all about and all the work that is put into it. I was particularly excited to see everything as I am involved in more of the background work, this blog included. To finally be able to physically experience it made my already amazing job that much better. Heck, I even learned how to drive the tractor! They’ll be putting me to real work in no time.

 

At the end of the day, we were all thankful for the road trip and can’t wait to do it again soon.

 

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Update on Beef Sales

2018 Grass Fed Beef Sales – Tulsa Area

Our beef will be ready to be picked up from the processor in late December 2018.  The hanging weight should still be the same as discussed in the sales page and the price will still be $3.99/lb hanging weight plus processing. We still have some beef left to sell, so if you are interested in beef for 2018 please take a look at the sales page for details on reserving your beef. There is a form that you can fill out to get in touch with us. We will get in touch with everyone who has reserved beef in about a month to discuss payment of your deposit which will guarantee your beef for 2018.

2019 Grass Fed Beef Sales – Tulsa Area

We are already planning for 2019 beef sales and if there is enough interest we may have beef sales in July 2019 and November 2019. Our normal beef sales time is late in the year, but we understand that some people may want beef before this date. If you are interested in beef for either date in 2019 then please fill out the form on the sales page and in the comments section let us know that you are interested in either summer or winter 2019 beef purchase.

Update on Calf Purchases – Oklahoma City Area

We have for sale 1 year old weaned calves that have had one round of shots and are eating out of a trough. These calves are located at our Carney, Oklahoma pre-conditioning facility and may be delivered from here if you are interested. If you are interested in purchasing these calves please fill out the form on the sales page and let us know. We will then be in touch with you to arrange a time for you to take a look at the calves and to discuss pricing and delivery of the calves.

Calves for Purchase

 

May is Beef Month!

Happy Beef Month, everybody!

We are excited to be really focusing on getting the word out about our grass-fed beef this year. We stand behind our practices 100% and believe we sell a great product. In doing some reading this morning I came across Don’t Forget You Are Eating An Animal a great article that perfectly sums up a lot of our thoughts.

Certain diets have been mentioned on our website a few times recently, especially in our post about Bone up on Health: Grass-fed Beef and the Diets of Today. Grant Creek Ranch actually has no stance on any particular way of eating, however we are definitely behind the overall benefits of consuming wholesome, unprocessed grass-fed beef.

We’ve talked extensively about why you should make the switch to grass-fed.

  • Health: Not just the nutritional aspects, but the animal itself. The way we raise our cows results in less disease, stress, and other unpleasantness that can sometimes come from cows raised in feed-lots.
  • Treatment: Like the article mentions, humane treatment of our animals is one of our responsibilities as a calf-cow operation and we believe it truly makes a difference in the quality of meat you’re getting. Honestly, it’s even simpler than that. Where is the sense in mistreating our cows? What does it get us?
  • Cost: We’ve talked about why cost is a huge factor. It can get complicated, but in reality you’re saving so much by buying in bulk up front, having that meat ready to go at any given time rather than eating out, and not wasting money on questionable quality.

So, in celebration of Beef Month go grill up a beautiful, medium-rare steak slathered in garlic butter and thank a local farmer. Don’t forget to also start making plans for our beef sales later this year! Contact us if interested!

Fire!: The Benefits of Controlled Burning

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There is a surprising enemy of the native grass pastures and that is: Trees! More specifically the Red Cedar, Osage Orange (Hedge Apple), and Locust trees.  Among these, others are lurking such as weeds and parasites. The Tall Grass Prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems and the only way to keep this ecosystem healthy is by using prescribed burns.

At Grant Creek Ranch our goal is to preserve, restore, and enhance this important ecosystem found at our farm. A prescribed burn will kill any new seedlings that try to come up which will aid in keeping the pasture tree-free for the following year. It reduces the need to spray for weeds and may reduce internal parasites which live in the pastures over the winter. Finally, it will enhance grazing by the cattle which we know contributes to all that delicious grass-fed goodness.

So how does it work? Areas that burn the best contain the most grass fuel. These just happen to be the least grazed areas from the past grazing year.  Vice versa, areas that will burn the least are the heavily grazed areas from the past grazing year since there is not as much grass fuel.  After a burn, new grass will quickly grow and the cattle will want to eat the new grass over having to pick through last year’s dead grass to get to the new growth. So the areas that burn the best, the under grazed areas from the year before, will be grazed during the new grazing year while the overgrazed area from the year before will not burn as well and the cattle will not graze this area as heavily because there is not as much new grass.  This effectively rotates the cattle to new areas of the pasture and forces them to graze more efficiently.

Read more about the benefits of burning!