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: “If Ancients Could Speak”
Pastured Pork Restock!
Weekend flash deal: 15% off all hot dogs!
Plus this week’s coupon cuts: 15% off Kielbasa and Garlic Sausage, as well as broth makers like Oxtail, Osso Buco, and Korean Style Short Ribs
It was pork chop testing time this week at the ranch (we tested several other cuts as well)! That’s because Abby and Ethan’s lovely pastured pork is finally back. We always test several cuts from new inventory just to make sure it meets our standards…and this pork passed with flying colors! These chops were flavorful, tender, and had plenty of that beautiful pork fat without being overpowering or greasy. Find the pork restock at the link below!
This Week’s Store Update & Coupons
NEXT SHIPPING DAY: Monday, September 25th! Order by Sunday night at midnight on the 24th to get your box shipped out on the 25th.
What’s In Stock
Our inventory is somewhat limited right now, but we still have sausages, some roasts, top sirloin, wild hunter, beef jerky & sticks, and bulk beef bundles in stock! Find them all below.
It’s back at last! Pastured pork from our son-in-law Ethan and daughter Abby, raised right here on Alderspring pastures. We think it is their best yet (see pork chop pictured above). Find the pork restock at the link below!
This week’s coupon cuts
Flash deal: this weekend, 15% off all hot dogs! And this week’s discounts are still continuing: 15% off oxtail, osso buco, korean-style short ribs, and 2 sausage flavors. All expire Sunday the 24th at midnight. Click below to access!
If you have any questions, observations, or comments, just send Kelsey an email at help[at]alderspring[dot]com.
This week on the ranch…
They are dirty…but triumphant. Here’s part of the team posing for a photo after our annual firewooding trip into the backcountry. Each year, the entire Alderspring crew heads out to collect enough firewood for 3 households (our family and two other families that work here at Alderspring). It is a group effort, and a dirty one! You’ll also notice that the logs on the back of the trailer are blackened. This is because these are all standing dead trees left over from the Rabbit Foot Fire in 2018. These trees only burnt on the outside (it was enough to kill the tree, but left plenty of good unburned wood behind). These trees will now keep our house warm this winter…and by clearing them out, we make room for new growth to come in and replace these burnt trees.
Maddy is the youngest of the Elzinga sisters, but that fact never slowed her down. Here she is chainsawing this log into smaller pieces so that the crew can load it onto the trailer. Photo by Melanie.
Firewooding is an all-day event for us (we might as well get as much as we can while we’re out there). The evening light as we wound down for the day was stunning. Here, Josh breaks down one of the last few trees of the day. Photo by daughter Melanie, who took a minute between lifting logs to take a few photos while the light lasted.
Daughter Abby and her husband Ethan don’t just raise pastured pork around here! They also raise logs onto the trailer. Here they are teaming up to get this hefty one loaded. Photo by Melanie.
Here’s ranch hand Jed, photographed by Brittany this past week, holding a…turnip. But wait, you say, doesn’t Alderspring grow beef, not turnips? Well, in this case our ultimate goal is to grow soil. This field is on a ranch we’ve leased near the home ranch that has very depleted soils. We won’t use artificial inputs like fertilizer to improve soils. That’s a temporary fix that always comes back to bite you in the end (soils that become dependant on artificial fertilizer are kind of like a human addicted to a drug). But some of the pastures were so degraded that they were nearly bare dirt. They needed something to boost them back to life. This turnip field is not just a turnip field, but a cover crop. It’s a mix of a variety of species we planted here. We’ll bring the cattle through this pasture next. They’ll graze, but will also knock down plant stalks and trample them into the soil. As we come into winter, this field will be left with roots in the ground, leftover turnips also in the ground, and trampled plant matter on top of the soil. A cover crop like this, especially when it’s grazed by cattle, is a way of adding life and organic matter to dead dirt, and hopefully next year we see dividends as the soil (and productivity) of this field improves!
Here’s Brittany, photographed by Jed as she walks through the cover crop field. It looks green and productive, but you can see how thin the cover is here and the fact that there is still bare dirt between plants. It’s a sign of how truly depleted these soils are, but it gives us hope to see this cover here. The mix of plant species you see here are all organic matter that will do wonders for this soil as we come into next spring.
There’s Jed’s cow dog Milo, watching with that obsessive border collie fascination as the cattle make their way to new grass. You can see a line of green down the middle of the photo. This is where a temporary electric fence was a few minutes ago, now taken down by Jed and Brittany to let the cattle onto a fresh break of grass. We move these cattle to new grass almost daily using portable electric fence. It offers them the best possible grass each day while also preventing them from overgrazing a given pasture.
Side note: We actually make a point of putting at least one recent photo of the cattle in every newsletter. It’s intentional. It’s about transparency & communicating to you exactly where your beef is coming from. You should see the pasture. You should see the cattle. We don’t want you to just take our word when we say “our cattle live their lives on grass with plenty of space to roam.” That’s why we show it to you in every email we send out.
Here it is, photographed by ranch hand Bryce while out moving wheel lines: our first frost of the season. We typically turn off irrigation overnight before a frost, but we (and our friends at the weather station) simply did not see this coming until we woke up to this coating of white over the grass. The grass will be fine and will stay green (it’s made of hardier stuff), but our garden is done for the season.
It’s always a little sad for us to see the signs of winter coming. We have only a short summer here in this mountain valley we live in. It is part of the bargain of living in a place like this. So we’ll savor these last few warm days…then pull the wool sweaters back out of the closet.
Ranch hand Bryce, photographed by Brittany as he pulls a dam out of the creek to move it downstream. This is one of the few spots on the ranch where we “flood irrigate,” which means we put a temporary dam in a creek, allowing water to flood out on either side of the creek and water the pasture nearby. Flood irrigation is labor intensive, and also almost guaranteed to get you wet! We (and Bryce) are looking forward to the end of irrigation season. Once the weather gets too cold to grow grass, we’ll stop irrigating pastures. Until then, we’ll get every bit of growth we possibly can in order to store up feed for fall and winter.
Video: call of the wild
Youngest daughter Maddy was out on a walk this morning and spotted a big bull elk just across the fence from the ranch. She managed to catch the sound of his call on video. If you’ve never heard an elk call before, it’s a haunting sound. We often hear them in the evenings or mornings…and every time, we pause in our work for a moment just to listen. Click here to watch the video on our Instagram page.
Quote of the Week
“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.”-Henry David Thoreau
This week’s story: “If Ancients Could Speak”
“Timber!” I called the word out in case there was anyone within falling range, and it echoed through the understory of a blackened forest. It took one swing and smack from the back of my hickory handled brush axe, and the 3 pound steel head made purchase on the plastic wedge inserted in the back-cut on the large Douglas-fir. The gap of the back cut began to widen, at first almost imperceptibly.
I slid my hot and smoking Stihl chainsaw out of the wide cut, and went through the trained muscle memory motions of the safe exit from a tree on its way to the ground: 45 degrees from the back, no less than 10 feet, do NOT look up until safely away. I’ve had firefighter and faller friends who did look up, turning their face skyward from their hard hat covering only to meet a falling ‘widow maker’ branch with their face—and eyes. It’s pretty common when falling burnt timber….
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.
L-R: Annie (6th daughter), Bryce, Maddy (7th daughter), and Brittany
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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