When you think of Texas, you probably think of Longhorn cattle and barbecue joints. We did too until we took a trip to Texas last May where we met with independent ranchers and enjoyed some great-tasting meat. Texas is a big state but nothing prepared me for just how big it really is and just how much variety there is. We drove over 1200 miles in four days and passed through hill country, desert cacti, and pretty much everything in between.
Along the way, we were reminded that the heart of Texas is more than dusty plains and great steaks -- it's the people whose passion and hospitality shine through that make the great state so great.
During our time in Texas, we visited talented ranchers like Carroll Lewis of Circle L Wagyu Ranch, Tina and Clarence of Kahlig Ranches, and Larry Tebben of Tebben Ranches. Where Tina raises a variety of cattle breeds that are suited for the hotter, more arid climate in Dilley, Texas, Larry's ranch offers shade and water to his fullblood Wagyu herd. The variety of land and cattle breeds demonstrates just how much care goes into raising cattle on Texas soil.
As part of the Texas Wagyu Association, Larry helps us validate the practices and quality of animals when we work with domestic Wagyu ranchers. He even helps to hand select which cattle will be part of the Crowd Cow offerings. So we went down to Texas to meet Larry and visit our Lone Star ranches, but we also learned so much about about their ranching practices and what it means to raise Wagyu in Texas.
Before raising fullblood Wagyu, Larry ran an exotic animal ranch that was home to zebras, elk, deer, antelope, and more. He grew up on a ranch and knew he always wanted to raise animals, so he sold the exotic animal farm to buy his Floresville ranch. Larry's knowledge of variations in Wagyu breeds and how to raise the best beef is astounding, especially since he tailors his herd to suit the ranch. Because Larry and his wife Michele believe in living a holistic life and knowing where things come from, they raise cattle and often enjoy their own meat -- and Michele just got two honeybees so they can have their own honey too!
The scene is idyllic. With rolling green hills on one side and reservoirs strategically placed throughout the estate, the cattle graze on Coastal Bermuda and Bluestem grasses. 200-year-old Live Oak trees grant a reprieve from the Texas sun. As we rode around the property, the herd galloped alongside our golf cart while the sun beat down. Later, Larry cooked Wagyu steak on a Himilayan salt block, deeply seared on the grill.
The sun set as a cool breeze whispered through the trees. Crickets chirped happily and fireflies began to light the night sky. A quiet and peaceful evening with great friends like Larry Tebben and Arturo Ramón II. Seeing Arturo's excitement on the ranch reminded us of why Crowd Cow is Crowd Cow. We're here to connect passionate customers who love great food with the independent producers who excel at their crafts.