I’m not so slowly falling head over heels in love with Northern Colorado. The weather is mild, plenty of sun, and the access to farm fresh pastured meat is amazing.
I’m still learning about local farms and where to purchase meat. I was researching ranches for some pastured beef and came across Sunrise Ranch.
I saw they had a twitter account and reached out to them about their beef. That’s how I met Bryce, who works at Sunrise Ranch. After a few exchanges on Twitter about their products, our conversation moved to email where we discussed a visit out to the ranch.
Sunrise often provides tours of their farm but currently didn’t have anything scheduled. However Bryce mentioned that he would be happy to show us around the farm anyway so that we could hear about their sustainable farming practices and learn more about how they raise their animals.
Since I was considering purchasing meat from them, taking a tour of the farm was very important to me.
I fully believe in learning where your food comes from and meeting your farmer. This was a great way for me to put that belief to practice.
Scott and I headed out one Saturday afternoon to spend some time in the mountains!
Sunrise Ranch is also an Intentional Community and there are several members who work and live there. It’s also a conference center and spiritual retreat, this means that the ranch sees many vistors throughout the year.
We first stopped by the organic garden where we learned about Permaculture and how the ranch approaches organic gardening. I had heard about Permaculture before but getting a chance to learn more and see it first hand was pretty impressive.
Next stop was to check out the chickens. They have laying hens and hens that are used for meat. They are on a rotating pasture schedule and get to roam their designated area however they like. Their roost was a converted trailer and in the evenings they are put in there to keep them safe from predators. In the mountains you have to also keep an eye out for bears and mountain lions. During the day they get to come and go as they please.
They were happy and clucking away like crazy.
Sunrise currently doesn’t sell their eggs or poultry to the public. The vegetables from the garden, along with eggs and poultry are strictly for the staff and visitors of Sunrise. Chef Joel Navejas is the head chef and his focus is on sustainability and farm-to-table concepts.
He uses as much as he can from the ranch to provide meals for those at Sunrise. There are plans to expand their chicken population and provide eggs and meat to the public at some point in the future.
Sunrise is doing a lot in terms of development and research. They also currently have two breeding pigs (heritage breed) along with some mini goats. They are hoping to learn more about each in order to provide meats, milk, and cheese to those at Sunrise. The goal of course is to also be in a position to sell that to the public as well.
Next we went to visit the cows in their pasture and were able to actually be out in the pasture with them. The cows are also on a rotational pasture routine and there are two months between pastures. Meaning, once they have grazed, they won’t be back to that spot again for at least another two months. This provides time for the grasses to grow back and the soil to fertilize.
The cows are happy and quite content to be in the pasture doing what they love best, eating fresh grass! At this time the ranch has Black Angus, Charolais, and Hereford. All breeds are used for butchering.
Sunrise is looking to expand their cattle population and start raising their own cattle from birth to butcher. Currently they purchase organic pastured cattle from other local farmers and finish the cattle at Sunrise for butcher and to sell to the public.
The goal is to sell their own cattle exclusively.
They have two precious calves currently who were just born a few weeks before we toured the ranch. Cute as can be!
The cows were completely curious about the two newbies walking around their pasture and a couple of them would stalk us no matter where we went. Scott got to pet one who decided that Scott was amazing and gave him a few cow kisses. Lucky Scott!
As you can see, the cows are pastured in the mountains breathing fresh clean mountain air!
We walked away from this tour knowing more about this great facility that is practically in our backyard. We purchased some beef products and are very happy with the quality and taste of the beef.
If you are interested in purchasing some as well, please visit their Farm Page which has all the information you need on how to buy their products.
Also visit their website or connect with them on Twitter. One thing I appreciated about our visit to Sunrise was how open and welcoming everyone was. They want people to visit and learn more about their products. They also want to help educate people about the farm-to-table movement and how important it is to know where your food comes from.
They are completely transparent about their goals, how the ranch functions, and how their animals are raised. They are more than happy to connect with you and answer any questions you have about the ranch and their practices.
A huge thank you to Bryce and to Sunrise Ranch for having us out for a tour and answering all of our questions. We had a great time!