Grandfather Roy was an avid sportsman living in Catonsville near Baltimore with his wife, Erna, and 2 children. He loved to hunt and, on one of his frequent trips to Frederick County, he purchased the farm as property to hunt on. This was October of 1941. With the war with Japan breaking out and the uncertainty of living in close proximity to Eastern harbors, he moved the family to the farm in ’42. Much of the land had been plowed to grow corn and wheat, back before the days of conservation practices. In order to save the land from eroding away, he established pastures on the steep hillsides and continued to farm the remaining acreage that was not hilly.
In the late 60’s, his daughter, Shirley, and her husband, Ed, took over the farm and continued to pasture cattle and horses and rent out the crop ground to local farmers. In 1990, their son, Steve, and his wife, Ruth Ann, began to work the farm. They became interested in the “new” practice of managed rotational grazing, realizing that the topography of the farm was not suited for crops. They planted the entire farm in grass and implemented soil and water conservation practices, some of which are rotational grazing, pasture seeding, spring trough development, water runoff management, a winter cattle feeding facility with manure storage area, stream bank fencing to exclude cattle from the creek, concrete creek crossings and a newly planted riparian restoration project. They have always viewed their small part of Israel Creek as the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay and have strived to do their part in keeping it clean while maintaining a healthy cattle farm.
Steve, a practicing veterinarian in the Frederick county, and Ruth Ann have been raising cattle and selling grass fed beef since 1998. Although their land is not certified organic, they have been managing the pastures using organic practices that exclude commercial fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. The cattle are raised much the same way with no grain, antibiotics, or growth promoting hormones.
Early on in their venture to raise high quality grass fed beef, Steve became frustrated with trying to grass finish feedlot genetics. They were too large framed and took too long to properly finish on grass. So they set out to develop a herd of moderate framed cows using bulls that produce offspring better suited for grass finishing.Steve believes that just as it takes the right grape for the right wine, it takes the right kind of beef animal to produce quality grass-fed beef!