We had a hearty group of buyers, potential breeders, and members of the California Highland Cattle Association at the ranch for our Annual Highland Cattle Sale on Saturday.
Despite the rain and chilly winds we had a successful cattle sale which was then followed by a meeting of the California Highland Cattle Association.
The guests were ferried from the parking and trailer staging area along Whitehall Lane to the cattle barn aboard our venerable Swiss Army Pinzgauer. We then gathered in the big barn and made brief trips out into the rain to the pens to view the animals.
We had a lot of interest this year in the two-year old heifers. In the day's most interesting transaction, two competing buyers decided to flip a coin rather than engage in our proposed auction process!
While this subverted the theoretical opportunity to increase our sales revenue, it did result in the loser of the coin flip picking out another heifer to take home. In the end, we all won.
We held the CHCA meeting at the winery which was preceded by a tasty lunch prepared by Sheamus Feeley (soon to be executive chef at our Farmstead Restaurant). LMR Grass-fed Highland Beef burgers and hot dogs were, of course, featured along with housemade condiments, including ketchup, sauerkraut, mayonnaise, and pickled beets with hard boiled eggs.
Our offer at the conclusion of the sale to provide lunch to anyone who joined CHCA netted eight new members, much to the delight of membership secretary Jerry Giovannoni. We set up another table for the unexpected guests and put a few more burgers on the grill. Of course, there was plenty of wine - especially Ranch House Red.
President Tina Riordan presided and the assembled group made a number of suggestions for future educational programs and, perhaps, a day-long "cattle college" in 2010.
I gave a short report on the activities of the national organization (AHCA) where I serve as a director. Everyone went home energized about the prospects for Highland cattle in California and the renewed agenda of the regional association.
We have already set the date for next year's sale: Saturday, May 1, 2010. Hope to see you here. Bring your trailer.