Back in 2009, Martin began a journey into pasture-based beef and poultry. Some choice grazing lands off the backside of the Llano Uplift and concerns about the healthiness of factory-raised, hormone-implanted, corn-fed beef were what started Martin down this path. Also on his mind were questions about the sustainability of the non-local food production models – given dwindling petroleum supplies. Finally, there was a desire to create a scalable model for young persons interested in starting their own direct sales, food production business.
The journey really began at the Texas Organic Farming and Gardening Conference (TOFGA), in January, 2009. It was at that conference where Martin first heard Joel Salatin speak. Salatin is the proprietor of Polyface Farms in central Virginia and the author of numerous books. He is sometimes called “the world’s most famous farmer”, and he starred in Food, Inc., and Fresh, The Movie. Salatin is also a highly sought after, and thoroughly engaging speaker. The operations at the Polyface Farms also make up a large portion of Michael Pollan’s bestseller, The Ominvore’s Dilemna.
Subsequently, in the summer of 2009, Martin and his oldest son attended one of Salatin’s Polyface Intensive Discovery Seminar (PIDS). The following summer, Martin took his younger son to the same seminar.
Having also met Jason Kramer of start-up Yonder Way Farms (Fayetteville) at TOFGA, and Thomas Davis of BLT Farms (Cherokee) at the first PIDS seminar, Martin was poised with a support network of helpful folks who were starting and running successful grassfed operations. Jason and Thomas have been inspirational in their willingness to share what they have learned. That seems to be a common thread amongst this “movement” – which in itself is a pretty neat thing. It’s all about the network, the community!
Also key to our operation is David Johnson, a Brownwood, Texas-based ranch construction contractor. David provided Martin with new fencing, deeper tanks and some brush control. Soon, David was a partner in the Condalia Farms Brand. David brings a formal education in animal husbandry as well as lifelong experience with cattle, alongside his father and grandfather. So with that, in January 2010, Condalia Farms LLC purchased their first cattle.
As of this August, 2011, we celebrate the arrival of the very first Condalia Farms Brand beef! We are truly impressed with its taste and, unlike anything from the supermarket, we know what went into these animals …and what did not. We know these animals have been grassfed and grass-finished, yielding the important “good” Omega 3 fatty acid, which is sought out in salmon and flaxseed, yet is missing from grain-fed beef. The meat cooks moist, but is very lean. Our Steakburger – which contains some of our premium roasts – is delicious. Use it in burgers, hamburger steaks, tacos … wherever you use regular ground beef.
Our vision is this: “Grassfed beef grown for our families … and yours.” We don’t have a huge number of cows, but we should be able to supply our friends and families. And we are set up to be scalable. We are selling the beef in convenient combinations – some that focus more on steak, some more on Steakburger, some more on barbequing.
So, take a look at the website and learn more about our philosophies, our operation and grassfed beef in general. Then Buy the Beef!