Categories

RBR News | July 25, 2014

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
Three pretty amazing things happened this week, but before I elaborate, here is a little background information:  In 1999, ACES acquired Rock Bottom Ranch from the Cole Family, who owned and stewarded the property since 1972. Many agricultural endeavors occurred during the Cole family’s 27 years at the Ranch, but their main focus was on equestrian activities and haying (which provided feed for the horses over the winter months.)  At one point, the Cole’s harvested and stored about 120 tons of hay annually on the original 250-acre property.  

Now, onto the three exciting highpoints of the week:

#1 - This week, the west pasture at Rock Bottom Ranch was hayed for the first time in 15 years.  Haying requires specialized equipment, storage facilities, lots of labor, and a market or destination for the product.  During the last several years at the ranch, one, or more, of these crucial components were absent.  This year we focused a good amount of our energy into irrigating and haying the west pasture, no small feat.  Words cannot express the feeling of growing and harvesting feed that will provide nourishment for your livestock through the winter.   

beforeduringafter

#2 – We realized a real sense of community on Hooks Spur Road. During my year and half at the ranch we have been developing relationships with the neighbors of Hooks Spur Road and this week we really feel like we’re a part of the community. Many of the neighbors have come together to share equipment and labor to get the enormous task of harvesting grass done. Harper, Christian and I have already spent many hours this season assisting neighbors with irrigation, cutting hay, baling, and other agricultural endeavors and all of those efforts paid off this week.  The Davies and Parker families lent us their cutters, rakes and balers, in addition to having countless conversations about techniques, timing, and execution of the art of haying.  (It truly is an art form and community effort.)

#3 – Moving hay bales is, by far, the most physically demanding day of work that I have ever encountered.  Hay is heavy and we had a good harvest – about 14,000 pounds.  And we had to lift it - twice – once onto the hay trailer, and once to stack it in the barn.  The agriculture team and I concur that the hardest day of work of the season is now behind us. 

We have learned a lot this summer about soil and pasture management in the Roaring Fork Valley, and cannot wait to see what next year’s hay harvest brings. 

Available Products:
Rock Bottom Ranch has a full inventory of chicken, pork, lamb and Crystal River Meats beef. No salad mix this week, as we are transitioning from the first planting to the second. Sweet Genovese basil and mint will be back this week. 

A new batch of pasture-raised whole chickens is now available, as well as our delicious non-GMO, Animal Welfare Approved chicken and duck eggs.

A full pork inventory is available including chops, ribs, bacon, smoked hams, fresh ham roasts, and several flavors of sausage. 

Lamb cuts include frenched racks, chops, shoulder roasts, ground lamb, and bratwurst.

Purchase RBR products at:

  •     Rock Bottom Ranch Ranch | Monday - Friday, 9AM-5PM and Saturday, 9AM-1PM
  •     Basalt Farmers’ Market | Sundays, 10AM-2PM.
  •     Hallam Lake (limited supply available) | Monday - Saturday, 9AM - 5PM.

~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director

Join us for Farm Tours Monday – Saturday at 11AM.  For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.