High Plains Ranchers are Grass-Fed Cattle Innovators for Discriminating Palates

Jun 20, 2013

Family members moved bulls on the Lasater Ranch in Matheson, Colo. The family markets much of its beef to retailers like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.
Credit Matthew Staver for The New York Times

Prescott Frost, the great grandson of poet Robert Frost, is a maverick who sees the Sandhills of Nebraska as the Napa Valley of ranchland.  On his 7,000 acre ranch there he’s dedicated himself to raising and marketing his own brand of artisanal beef, as detailed in a New York Times profile by Kathryn Shattuck.

The conventional pattern is to finish cattle in feedlots on grain, getting them slaughter-ready at 14 to 18 months of age.  Grass-fed cattle require two years or more to reach that point.  Frost is also perfecting the taste nuances that come from soil, grass type, and stress: an art has all but disappeared from today's grain-fed landscape. 

Frost is not the only pioneer blazing this trail.  He met fellow traveler, Tom Lasater, of the Colorado and Texas ranching Lasaters, at a recent meeting in Boulder, Colorado.  They discovered they had much in common- both attended East Coast boarding schools, lived abroad and in California.  Lasater, however, grew up in the saddle, and is furthering his father's well-documented, holistic approach to ranching, while Frost began his journey after inheriting land in Illinois. 

You can read the rest of Shattuck's story here.