Once a year, our bulls leave their pasture at our Mayacamas Estate to visit Tomales Station. More importantly, the ladies. In order to grow our herd, the bulls spend three months with a group of mother cows and replacement heifers (remember, heifers become cows at the time of the birth of their second calf). We brought three bulls to Tomales Station, one for each pasture of mother cows or replacement heifers that we are breeding this year. We try to maintain a one bull to 30 cow/heifer ratio.
Here are a few facts about the mother cows and heifers
Highlands are not fully matured until they are three years of age, which is a little older than other breeds. However, Highlands have a longer breeding life (10-12 years), compared to other breeds. Their future breeding potential is increased, because of their breeding life.
The average gestation period for Highland cattle is nine months. Since we want our calves to be born in the spring when grass is at it’s peak, we take this timeframe into consideration when determining when to breed our herd.
As part of our ongoing pasture rotation plan, our mother cows and heifers are rotated regularly and are kept separate by age and intention (breeding or for consumption).
Here are a few facts about the bulls
Genetics are very important when selecting a bull. Strong genes will help us manage the future potential of our herd. We spend a lot of time and money selecting our bulls to ensure our herd is healthy and can meet our production needs.
Highland bulls can weigh up to 1,800 pounds. In order to move them across town, a skilled cattle rancher is needed (warning: do not try this at home). We’re thankful we have an experienced and knowledgeable ranch team!
As we mentioned before, we don’t mix our groups of cows and heifers. We also need to keep our bulls separate during breeding. When they have an audience (especially one with ladies), bulls become very aggressive and will fight each other. This is another reason why we only put one bull in each pasture. The pastures have to be completely separate. If they see each other, even through a fence, they will fight (the fence never asked for that).
Back to the breeding! Cattle are smell driven animals, so you may see them smelling each other (this is also how mother cows and calves find each other in the pasture). During breeding, the bulls appear to rub noses with the cows and heifers. This is their way of batting their lashes and flirting with each other.
Just after the three month visit, we check to see how many cows and heifers are pregnant to determine how many calves we are going have in the spring.
ARTISAN OF THE MONTH
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT LONG MEADOW RANCH (LMR)?
Farm to Table Manager and Sous Chef
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH LMR?
Five years in September!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PROJECT AT LMR?
Creating and maintaining relationships with our farm team and local producers and working with our chefs to use the produce that we grow.
WHAT DO YOU WISH OTHER PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LMR?
How all the different aspects and properties work together to create and accomplish one common goal.
TELL US HOW YOU GOT INTO COOKING. WAS IT A NATURAL FIT FROM THE START OR DID YOU TAKE VARIOUS AVENUES?
I was 18 at the time and was studying at Ole Miss (University of Mississippi), I needed a job for money to take girls out on dates, so I started working for Bottletree Bakery. The people I worked with were genuine and I liked working at the bakery more than aspects of college life. I just never quit.
WHAT KIND OF TRENDS ARE YOU SEEING IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
A return to classic techniques and use of fire, curing, smoking, and fermenting. The industry is going through this old world cooking style and returning to rustic techniques.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My family, they keep me going... and all the bounty of california. It is a beautiful place to live, all the people are nice, plus the surrounding people we work with are inspiring.
BEST VACATION YOU HAVE EVER TAKEN?
My wife and I traveled to Costa Rica for our Honeymoon, and the beaches were beautiful. That is actually the last vacation I can remember. I like basically any trip we take with the family; last year we took our son to the beach for the first time. Anytime we can go camping or go out is really a vacation for me.
RED OR WHITE WINE?
Rosé all day!
BIKE OR MOTORCYCLE?
SUSHI OR PIZZA?
IPHONE OR ANDROID?
MOUNTAINS OR OCEAN?
AT THE TABLE
ANNA APPLE BUTTER
Yield: 2 Quarts
Recipe Courtesy: Tim Mosblech, LMR Estate Chef
5lbs Anna apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
3 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces star anise
1C lemon juice
In a heavy bottom, medium pot over low heat, add apples, sugar, lemon juice, salt and spices. Slowly cook until the mixture starts to starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. This is a slow and low process and will take hours. Timing will vary depending on the type of vessel used. Remove whole spices and pass through a food mill. Serve with cheese and cracker or on toast.
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