Califonia Bountiful

Where's the beef?

Family ranch tries new product to find niche market

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For years we've been trying to answer the question of "Where's the beef?" But for one ranching family in San Luis Obispo County, they know exactly where it is—in their own backyard! Meet the Nick family of Nick Ranch in the Pozo Valley. Farming since 1918, the family is no stranger to livestock, having raised turkeys, pigs and cattle over several generations. But seven years ago family patriarch Fred decided to try something different—grass-fed beef.

As the name suggests, grass-fed beef is just that—cattle that graze upon grass. So raising the grass is as important as raising the cattle. The concept may seem simple now, but to these lifelong ranchers, going back to basics and ranching this way took some getting used to.

Because grass-fed beef takes a little longer to raise, the family had to come up with different ventures to sell their beef. Instead of the usual ground pork varieties of sausage, Fred's daughter Juanell came up with the idea to try a ground beef variety—and in fun, new flavors like French apple and garlic basil. And when it comes to those flavors, the family ultimately has the final say, as they taste test all of the new ones before making a final group decision on what to market.

Good food from good soil—and it all truly starts with good people willing to work hard so that we can enjoy some good eats along the way!

For more information about Nick Ranch, visit

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