About Glenn & Caryl
Looking for official bios for us and our staff? Visit this page.
Glenn Elzinga, with his wife and business partner Caryl started Alderspring Ranch near Salmon, Idaho, in 1992, with the purchase of 147 acres and 7 cows. They began direct marketing grass fed and finished beef in 1993 with 2 head. From these humble beginnings Alderspring Ranch has grown to a 7 figure direct marketing enterprise and a 1700 acre ranch with a 46,000 acre wild rangeland permit. The entire operation is certified organic, including the 46,000 acres of permit land.
Glenn and Caryl run the ranch with their 7 daughters, a stellar son-in-law, and some exceptional employees. The ranch markets 100% of its production, 300-400 head a year, through an internet storefront at Alderspring.com and natural food stores.
After working for several years on restoring fertility and biodiversity on the irrigated valley home ranch, the Elzingas turned to the native rangeland used for summer grazing. In partnership with government agencies, The Nature Conservancy, and Central Idaho Rangelands Network, they initiated a 5 year pilot project using full time herders on extensive wild rangeland to meet ecological and economic objectives. Seventy percent of the green forage their finish cattle consume is on these wild landscapes. By marrying technology with horsemanship and stockmanship, the Elzingas are working to reduce or eliminate conflicts on public rangelands between livestock and predators, endangered species, and environmental groups.
The wild landscapes are connected to discerning patrons through the exceptional flavor and nutrition that wildland grazing can produce. The connections are also a personal fit: the Elzingas have successfully used nutrition to address chronic health challenges in their own family and the ecological emphasis in their operation is an outgrowth of their academic training and early careers, Glenn as a forester and Caryl as a plant ecologist.
The Elzingas enjoy skiing and backcountry pursuits as a family, play bluegrass music in their band (founded in the ranch bunkhouse), and grow a big garden in a high altitude climate.
THE SEVEN COWGIRLS:
As the girls have grown up, they’ve become part of the Alderspring operation. They each have very different interests and are finding ways to make those interests part of Alderspring. From L-R:
Melanie: the oldest of the group, Melanie is a talented horse trainer, designer, photographer, and stock handler. She is currently attending University of Montana Western, where she is part of the colt training and business programs. During her spare time, she runs the Alderspring Instagram and takes many of the great photos you see on our website and social media. In the summers, Melanie is our head horse wrangler and riding teacher for new crew members and she works as a crew boss on the range managing the cattle.
Annie: the second-to-youngest cowgirl, Annie has an outgoing and up-for-anything personality. She loves riding, helping out around the ranch with whatever needs done, and working with Maddy building boxes for your beef orders.
Becky: fifth out of the seven, Becky is a talented mandolinist and singer, skier, and artist. She also works around the ranch riding, herding cows, and helps on Monday order shipping days.
Linnaea: the third of the cowgirls, Linnaea helps with much of the marketing, web design, and food photography for Alderspring. Currently studying business at Boise State University, Linnaea runs the Meathacker cooking blog when she has time. During the summers, she loves to get outside and ride the range behind a herd of cows.
Emily: the middle cowgirl (both in age and in this photo), Emily’s passions lie in physics and computer science, and she uses these skills to help with web development on the Aldersping webstore. She’s currently a student at Idaho State University, but you’ll also find Emily on horseback, a pair of skis, or getting her hands dirty in the garden or flowerbeds.
Abby: the second oldest cowgirl, Abby is a talented writer and videographer. Many of the videos around the ranch are made by her. She runs the Healthy Meat Recipes Facebook Group and also manages the landscaping and gardening around Alderspring. She married Ethan, one of our previous interns who is now one of our top full-time employees (and he designs handcrafted leather gear on the side). Abby and Ethan produce the pastured pork sold seasonally on our online store. Abby and Ethan have 2 children aged 1 1/2 and 1-month, both of whom are spoiled by their many aunts.
Maddy: the youngest of the cowgirls, Maddy loves horseback riding and working around the ranch. Her favorite horse to ride is the small sorrel quarter horse, George, but she has a yearling colt that she and Melanie are training.