Long Meadow Ranch Expands Cattle Operation With Nationally Prominent Herd
March, 2000, St. Helena, CA
No stranger to a refined populace, Napa Valley is about to become home to 45 new aristocratic residents. Long Meadow Ranch's Ted Hall has purchased the entire "fold" of Scottish Highland cattle from the nation's foremost breeder. Twenty-one of the transplants will arrive at Long Meadow Ranch on March 22 with the remainder to follow in early summer.
The herd (or "fold" as it is known in Scotland), purchased from Angie Long of Buffalo, Wyoming, includes the cow named 2000 Grand Champion of the breed at the National Western Livestock Show in Denver this January. She will join this year's Reserve Champion Cow and last year's Grand Champion Cow/Calf pair, already in the Long Meadow Ranch herd.
Hall began collecting the highly prized animals for his "integrated farming system" in 1998 with seven cattle from Cedar Brook Ranch in the Sierra Foothills. With the existing herd, the new additions and the births from the already bred cattle, the Long Meadow Ranch herd should reach 100 this year, a substantial investment for cattle valued at $2-4,000 each. Says Hall, "It is not an exaggeration to say that this is now, probably, one of the finest folds of Highlands in America."
Scottish Highland cattle were selected by Hall because of their durability and their conformity to the original breeding stock. Highlands are an ancient breed known to have grazed the rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century, making them one of the oldest known breeds of cattle. Believed to be the blending of two ancient Asiatic breeds, the "Bos Longifrons" and the "Bos Primigenius," these highly desirable animals are noted for their ease of calving, high quality beef and superb hides. Highlands require a minimum of management and care, do not require barn housing and they forage readily where feed is sparse. Noted as browsers and brush clearers, they eat much of what other cattle pass by. Their double coat of hair and natural hardiness allows them to adapt to many climates, shedding much of their hair in warming temperatures. Despite their long horns, they are gentle and easily handled, are distinguished for their quiet dispositions, superior intelligence and calm nature.
In-breeding has been kept to a minimum with these cattle, hence they retain many of the original distinctive characteristics of the breed. The cows are exceptionally maternal and maintain "babysitting" groups where one or two cows will watch over all of the calves while the other cows graze elsewhere. When giving birth, the other cattle will form a circle around the mother-to-be, horns pointed outward, prepared to defend the cow and newborn. At the same time, the animals are exceptionally gentle with their caretakers and, in the Halls' herd, most are halter broken.
Befitting the epicurean nature of their Napa Valley home, the new herd is appropriately named "Highland Spice" with each of the animals having a spice-related name, names created by former owner Angie Long. The Grand Champion cow is named "Kale of Highland Spice" while the new bull is "HS Custom Made." They will join Hall's "wine-related" herd, including LMR Cabernet, LMR Gamay Beaujolais, and LMR Chardonnay.
Long Meadow Ranch will devote 300-350 acres of estate and leased land to the new residents. As male calves unsuitable for breeding stock begin to accumulate within the next 18-24 months, Hall expects to start a market for Napa Valley-raised fine beef. Scottish Highland cattle are the breed raised expressly for consumption by the British royal family and are considered to be some of the finest beef in the world. Keeping with Long Meadow Ranch's organic practices, the beef will be chemical-free, hormone-free and free of any antibiotics.
Former herd owner, Angie Long, named "Premier Breeder" and "Premier Exhibitor" of the breed at the National Western Livestock Show in 1999, has been retained as an advisor for the herd and will join herd manager, Troy Thurman.
Long Meadow Ranch was an original "patent grant" ranch signed over by President Ulysses S. Grant to E.J. Church in 1872. Having been home to a variety of uses during its long history, Long Meadow Ranch is once again growing and prospering through Ted and Laddie Halls" careful restoration of the olive groves, new vineyard plantings and wine and oil making. In addition to the cattle operation, they also raise Appaloosa horses and they market organic vegetables, flowers, and organic eggs at the Napa Valley Farmers Market in St. Helena every Friday.
"At Long Meadow Ranch, we set out to prove that we could produce world class products using simple sustainable farming methods," says Ted Hall. "We have developed an integrated farming system that relies on each part of the Ranch contributing to the health of the whole - we make our own fertilizers on the Ranch through an extensive composting operation that relies on each segment of the Ranch. Soil erosion is controlled and new soils are built through the use of permanent cover crops of indigenous grasses, clovers and legumes." Long Meadow Ranch does not use herbicides or pesticides and its products are organically grown and produced in accordance with the California Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Long Meadow Ranch is located at 1775 Whitehall Lane, St. Helena, California. Further information on the Ranch and its products, including Prato Lungo extra virgin olive oil and Long Meadow Ranch Winery Cabernet Sauvignon can be obtained by phoning (707)963.4555, toll-free (877) NAPA-OIL (627-2645) or fax (707)963.1956.
Contact: Chris Hall