We recently visited with Jim Gates of Nevada County Free Range Beef to give you an inside look at the sixth generation farmer’s prized herd of grass fed, grass finished, antibiotic and hormone free cattle.
Jim started selling to BriarPatch in 2004, after he was presented with an opportunity to cook for Paul Harton, the General Manager of BriarPatch at the time, who was a dyed in the wool vegan. “He didn’t eat any beef that night, but he had to listen to everyone screaming about how good it was!”
The rest, as they say, is history. It started with 10 lbs of hamburger that sold out in less than an hour. Fast forward to present day and we have – in Jim’s words – “a perfect symbiotic relationship” that features Jim’s locally coveted beef – steaks, roasts, hamburger – as the centerpiece of a sustainable, humanely raised fresh meat section at BriarPatch.
Our interview with Jim below:
BP: What’s your dog’s name?
JG: “Milo. I couldn’t do this without him.”
BP: What’s does it mean to be grass fed and grass finished?
JG: “It means they eat what God intended them to eat. Period. In winter time, we feed hay and alfalfa, grass that was harvested in the summer. The rest of the year they graze in these irrigated pastures. None of this bucket of grain stuff to fatten them up.”
BP: How is grass fed beef different from conventional beef?
JG:”A whole lot different.To start, there’s a lot less fat and a different kind of fat. It’s chemically constituted differently than the corn fed stuff you buy in the store. It ain’t bad for your ticker here, see” (points to his heart)
BP: What’s your favorite way to prepare beef?
JG: “I like a good roast as good as any, especially in the winter. Listen, I eat a lot of steak. It’s quick and it’s good food. I prefer, if I have time, to put it on the grill. It’s always better if it’s cooked over a flame, especially over wood.”
BP: How has BriarPatch helped your business?
JG: “Before BriarPatch, I was raising cattle and hauling ’em to the auction to sell ’em. When BriarPatch started carrying my meat in 2004, it opened up a whole new market. We went from selling a few pounds of hamburger a week to over 60lbs a day.”
BP: Who do you sell your product to?
JG: ” Summer Thyme, Diego’s, Peterson’s Corner. 100% is sold locally. The local people made me who I am. I won’t ship my product. Loyalty still counts for something in America”
BP: How do you keep up with the growing demand for local, grass fed beef?
JG: “You just can’t let the grass grow under your feet…you’ve got to keep moving.”