This past summer, our crew members went on a field trip to the fields of two ranches to visit the families who raise the cattle for our local antibiotic-free beef. This is the second in a three-part series about the field trip we took to connect with the sources of our local ingredients. You can read the first part here.
In August, Dan and Erin Barnhart and their family welcomed our Burgerville team members to their ranch nestled on the banks of the Luckiamute River in the vast Douglas fir forests of Oregon’s Coast Range near Philomath. After our visit, we realized that they treat their guests like they do their cattle: with deep respect, appreciation and care.
Dan told us that his grandfather and his great uncle bought the ranch at the beginning of the Great Depression. Since that time, three generations of Barnharts have worked and played on the farm while learning the lessons of responsibility.
We climbed onto a trailer stacked with hay bales for a full tour of the ranch. We visited the yearlings out at pasture and saw, touched and smelled the feed that nourishes these young cattle. While Dan spoke, the cattle crept closer to us, curious and cautious. We also visited the mothers and calves that were grazing on the property’s lush pasture. Dan explained that cows respond well to being raised in a quiet environment with plenty of fresh air, sunshine and room to roam, resulting in happier animals with a better quality of life.
At the end of the tour, we continued our conversation over a farm-fresh meal.