January 2015 Customer Newsletter
The New Header
"One can think of an idea almost as one thinks of a living organism. It has to be continually nourished with the resources that permit it to grow and reproduce. In a hostile environment that denies it the material necessities, an idea tends to languish and die."

- Scientist David Ozonoff 

What's ahead for 2015?

Mike Callicrate, owner of Ranch Foods Direct and Callicrate Cattle Company, looks ahead to what he expects the new year to bring at his ranch and on the local food scene in Colorado Springs....

BEGIN WITH AN UPDATE ON CHANGES YOU ARE MAKING AT THE RANCH: Industrial ag has destroyed our soils. At Callicrate Cattle Company, we are putting into place the world recognized Regrarians Plan for Regenerative Agriculture, an approach that rebuilds soil through diversification of crops and livestock. We can rebuild our soils fairly rapidly by understanding soil biology and how to feed it; we want to demonstrate what is possible in Northwest Kansas. We don't want a drop of rain to leave our land, so we are putting in new terraces and catch ponds and then planting orchards. We want to create a habitat friendly to bees, a pollinator heaven. We plan to convert our crop fields to permanent pastures and do more inter-seeding of various plants, which is called pasture cropping. We plan to char the bones from our on-farm slaughter operation to make biochar, a soil amendment. Charcoal is an important component of rebuilding soils. It helps hold nutrients, so the soil acts as a carbon sink instead of releasing carbon from the ground and into the atmosphere the way it does when farmed with industrial practices. 


YOU WERE THE ENGINE BEHIND GETTING A NEW PUBLIC MARKET IN COLORADO SPRINGS. WHERE DOES IT STAND? In 2015, we have to get the city behind the market and not just a few volunteer individuals who are donating lots of time and effort to the idea. This project needs to be the equivalent of the Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field in Wisconsin. It needs to be community owned.


WHAT'S AHEAD FOR RANCH FOODS DIRECT? It's exciting having young people interested in food and farming, people like Chef Mark Henry, Kyle Mauro and Shawn Saunders, and restauranteurs like Chef Brother Luck. He is to restaurants what Kyle and Mark are to butchering and charcuterie. They are all bright young people with lots of energy, intelligence and talent. The gift of RFD is that we can connect them with customers who want artisan food. There's a whole lot of cool stuff we can do with pork, but nobody's doing it! It's become a lost art. We have to bring back authenticity and trust to our food system, and we plan to grow our business by aligning with partners who share those same values.

At upcoming event, Ranch Foods Direct to present workshop for farmers, chefs

Ranch Foods Direct owner Mike Callicrate and RFD plant manager and head butcher Kyle Mauro have been invited to give a presentation January 10th at the Western Colorado Food and Farm Forum in Montrose. The title of their talk is "From Pasture to Plate." They will describe how to integrate livestock production with small scale local processing to produce a high quality product and create a successful independently owned and operated food business. Their experience with developing a mobile processing unit is sure to be of considerable interest.

Planned around the theme, "Unlocking the Secrets of Raising Great Food," the event is designed for local food producers, organic farmers, restaurateurs and related businesses who want to gather and share information and resources on how to contribute to the viability and success of western Colorado agriculture. It represents a collaboration of several organizations including the Valley Food Partnership, CSU Tri-River Area Extension Service, the City of Montrose Office of Business and Tourism, the Shavano Conservation District and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative and Economic Development Center.

Mike Callicrate speaks frequently to diverse audiences on food and agricultural issues. Kyle Mauro is the fourth generation of his family to raise quality show pigs and sell farm-raised meats in the Arkansas Valley near Pueblo. They will be joined by nearly two dozen other speakers addressing many critical topics including seed saving, natural resource management, marketing, agritourism, vegetable production, local food systems and much more.

Make 2015 a healthy year!  
 New book explains why eating healthy includes animal protein and fats
In the tradition of Gary Taubes, who won
 acclaim for his books and countless commentaries on the benefits of animal protein comes a similarly exhaustive exposť by an equally adept science writer. After publishing The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, author Nina Teicholz summarized the book's key takeaway message in an interview this way:

"Saturated fat cannot be shown to cause heart disease. People need to know that. More importantly, eating fat does not make you fat. It is an essential nutrient. And the emphasis on adding lean protein to one's diet is unhealthy. We need the fat, especially saturated fat, ideally in a 2:1 ratio of fat to protein. You need to eat protein, but you need the fat that naturally comes with it to properly absorb the vitamins, minerals and the nutrients found in animal foods. If people got that message, it would make a big difference in their health and in our public health status."

For more perspective, here's an excerpt taken directly from the book:

"Focusing on the muscle meats appears to be a relatively recent phenomenon. In every history on the subject, the evidence suggests that early human populations preferred the fat and viscera (also called offal or organ meat) of the animal over its muscle meat. The Inuit were careful to save fatty meat and organs for human consumption while giving leaner meat to the dogs. In this way, humans ate as other large, meat-eating mammals do. Lions and tigers, for example, first ravage the blood, hearts, kidneys, livers and brains of the animals they kill, often leaving the muscle meat for vultures. These viscera tend to be much higher in fat, especially saturated fat (half of the fat in a deer kidney is saturated, for instance.) Preferentially eating the fattest part of the animal and selecting animals at the fattest point in their life cycle appear to have been consistent hunting patterns among humans throughout history..."


CREATIVE CUTS: Check out the beautifully presented magic Chef Brother Luck makes with beef marrow bones and cow tongue, accompanied by his homemade tator tots (below). Dining at his Brother Luck's Street Eats, 1005 W. Colorado Ave., 719-434-2741 is an offal-ly great experience, one we highly recommend! You'll gain a whole new appreciation for highly nutritious but lesser known cuts of meat.

Customer Snapshot: 

"What brings you to 
Ranch Foods Direct today?"

Name: Jeff Frantz, Colorado Springs


What are you shopping for today? Dinner! Today I wasn't quite sure what to get. In this case, I'm going with a lamb chop. And I always buy my eggs here.


What first brought you to Ranch Foods Direct?

I've been shopping here several years now. I drive down Fillmore all the time and I kept seeing the big sign on the corner and I thought I should check it out. Now I shop here every other week or so.


What brings you back?

They know where everything is from. They make great recommendations for steak cuts I've never tried before.


Do you try to eat lighter or healthier or otherwise differently after the holidays?

I eat relatively healthy all of the time. After the holidays, I guess I do have a little more impetus to eat right, or really anytime I've had something I know isn't good for me. Typically I do a lot of Asian cooking: thai curries, stir fry, stuff like that. If I'm eating beef, though, it's a steak. I save the red meat for special occasions. I eat a lot of chicken. And bacon. It's good for the mind! Moderation in all things, you know?

Customer Snapshot: 
 "What brings you to Ranch Foods Direct today?"


Name: Teri Switzer, Colorado Springs  

How long have you been shopping here and how often do you shop?

I started shopping at Ranch Foods Direct within the last year, and I usually come in once or twice a month.


What are shopping for today?

A little bit of everything. Steaks and pork chops, ground pork, the usual stuff. We really like the center cut pork chops, the sirloin tips, the hamburger and the ground pork. And the sweet Italian sausage.


Why do you continue to shop here?

Because it's meat with no hormones, just good healthy food, and it's local. I like the variety, the fact that I can get cheese, turkey, chicken, veal and even good seafood. I like the option of getting my meat fresh or frozen. It's nice that I can run in and get something that won't need four hours to thaw.


Do you try to eat lighter or healthier or otherwise differently after the holidays?

We try not to overdo it at any time of the year. We always work at being healthy and staying in shape. So we stick with our little routine. We cook outside on the grill all year round, although I notice we do eat more seafood in the summer, more beef and pork in the winter.


Are there other things you like about Ranch Foods Direct?
When I'm in a real hurry, it's great that I can stop at Mountain Mama Natural Foods (1625 W. Uintah) and grab something there. It's nowhere near the selection but I can usually count on getting a steak, some hamburger or stew meat, something like that. In the summer, I like being able to get my meat and bread from the farmers market in Old Colorado City.


Now only $0.99/lb (while they last)

Pick em' up in-store, on-line or call-in!