Dear Friends and Partners,
Welcome to Alderspring’s weekend edition newsletter! Thank you for partnering in what we do!
Below you can find beef discounts, Glenn’s weekly story, and lots of photos from the ranch this week!
This Week’s Story: “The Wild Ones”
Bulk beef is back & pork is in!
Weekend flash deal: 15% off Hot Dogs!
This Week’s Store Update & Coupons
NEXT SHIPPING DAY: Monday, Oct 23rd!
Note: if you placed an order last week and would like to add more this week to be shipped with that order, put your previous order number in the comments when you place your new order and let us know you’d like them combined. We’ll try to put everything from both orders into one box so we can refund you for some of those shipping costs!
What’s In Stock
We’re low on inventory lately! We will be restocking soon, but we do have quite a few fresh bulk beef bundles in! Pork inventory is also still going strong, including hams and bacon.
This week’s coupon cuts
We’re sold out on most of our beef (restock soon), but we do still have enough hot dogs for a great fall hotdog sale! Score 15% off until Sunday at midnight.
If you have any questions, observations, or comments, just send Kelsey an email at help[at]alderspring[dot]com.
A Note on Inventory
We wanted to explain in a little more detail here what’s going on with the low inventory lately. We know many of you have been with us for a long time and rely on us as your source of protein (and we’re so grateful)!
The last couple weeks, we’ve been hit with an unexpected wave of demand.
When it comes to raising beef, sudden changes in demand can be very difficult to respond to quickly. It takes us 2-3 years to raise an animal to finish. That means we plan our inventory needs about 2 years in advance. We know many producers who respond to sudden increases in demand by simply buying outside cattle and butchering those cattle under their label (this was especially common during the sudden demand hit during covid). This kind of “cow flipping” goes against our standards and isn’t something we’re willing to do.
With that said, we can’t make dramatic increases but we do have the ability to slightly increase our inventory within the next few weeks here. We’re hoping this resolves some of the problems you all are having with getting your meats!
The reason many of you prefer to buy from us is because we’re small scale. We butcher our cattle at a small processor that only does about 80 head of cattle per week (compared to thousands at a big facility), and we raise only as many cattle as our pastures can support without degrading soils. We carefully curate every single steak. Our small size means we can pay attention to detail. But it also means occasional inventory limitations!
Recent Photos From the ranch…
Jed, Brittany and Melanie pose for a quick photo, photographed by Bryce, before they ride to bring the beef cattle herd to the home ranch. Since their return from the range the beeves have been grazing on the lease ranch. It’s a ranch a few miles from the home ranch that we’ve been leasing for a few years now. It started with severely depleted soils, but we’ve been using managed grazing and cover crops to rebuild those soils. However, as fall sets in it’s time to bring the beeves to the home ranch, where we have abundant grass that we call “ice cream” grass. It’s because the beeves love it and gain weight exceptionally well on these pastures even though frost has begun to hit us hard. We think it’s thanks to the higher soil organic matter and plant diversity that we simply don’t have yet on the lease ranch.
Here’s Brittany on her gelding Blue, trailing the herd the last mile to the home ranch. Brittany came to work here at Alderspring for her 3rd summer this year…and this was one of her last days here (at least for now) before heading home to California the day after for whatever is next!
The next day it was time for Part 2 of our cattle swap. While the beeves were headed to the ice cream grass on the home ranch, the mama cows and their calves are heading to the lease ranch to continue to graze those pastures for the fall. We kept the mama cows close by us on the home ranch for the summer so we could keep an eye on calves and watch for health issues. Now that the calves are several months old, we don’t mind having them a few miles away on the lease ranch. And the mama cows will do well on the lease ranch grass. We don’t need them to be gaining weight on the best grass like we do with the beeves, and they’ll very efficiently maintain weight while feeding a calf even on the lower-quality forage at the lease ranch.
Here Bryce is holding Josh’s horse while Josh shuts the gate after arriving with the mama cows at the lease ranch. You can see that there is still plenty of forage here to keep cows healthy, but it’s started to turn brown and lose quality for raising beef.
If you have been around ranching much, you might be wondering why we aren’t starting to wean the calves off the mama cows. Even though we calve later than many ranchers (we calve late spring), many of the calves are reaching 6 months of age now and could be weaned. We aren’t weaning them simply because we…don’t. We’ll leave them on the mama cows over the winter even as the mamas are pregnant with their next calves.
To most people in the ranching world, this idea is simply insane. But we first tested it several years ago on a small group of mama cows (if we’re not sure if our crazy ranching ideas will work, we test first on a small sample). We did have to feed more hay because a cow needs more calories to keep one calf nursing while also growing another one inside of her, but it penciled for us because the calves came out of winter looking fatter and healthier, weighing 75-100 lbs more than calves that had been weaned before winter, and we didn’t have nearly as many health problems because the calves experienced none of the usual stress over weaning (it’s very common for calves to get sick during or immediately after weaning even when it’s done with as little stress as possible).
We may have to wean calves off a few mamas as we go into winter for some of the older cows that struggle to keep weight on and won’t be able to support a calf…but the majority will stay with their moms all winter.
Quote of the Week
“You got to get away from words if you want to understand any animal. It thinks in pictures, it thinks in smells, it thinks in touch sensations.”-Temple Grandin, Animal Behaviorist
This week’s story: “The Wild Ones”
Daughter Melanie and I made our way up the Salmon River canyon on this black night after a cattlemen’s meeting in Salmon, Idaho, about 47 miles down US highway 93 from our home valley of the Pahsimeroi.
There was not much wildlife tonight. A forked horn buck, with nose to the ground tracking what was most likely a doe coming into estrus. A jackrabbit or two. Usually, we’ll spot an elk or two along the remote travelway. It’s one of the more remote roads in the US, this 93, as it cuts through a deep canyon between ten-thousand foot peaks that soar above a river flowing at 4000. Both sides of the road and river lie de-facto wilderness.
As the old “Grapes-of-wrath” homestead crept into a view bathed by our LED headlights, I thought mountain lion. It was near here that many of us on the ranch have met cougars of different maturities. There must be a stronghold of the big cats nearby–or simply right here.
And I remembered when Abby met one. They change you, these wild ones. We go along on our merry way thinking we’re top of the heap and suddenly, you’re reminded that it just might not be so. They’re formidable.
Continue reading the story on our blog by clicking below!
And that’s it for this week!
Thanks again for partnering in what we do!
Glenn, Caryl, cowgirls and cowboys at Alderspring.
We’ve been crafting our pastured protein here in Idaho’s Rocky Mountains for nearly 30 years and delivering it direct to our partners for nearly as long. This is wild wellness, delivered from our ranch to your door.
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