Tucked away right outside of Nanton, Alberta, lies a fifth-generation family ranch. One of the most idyllic settings I have ever encountered, Trail’s End Beef is a modern-day, living addition to the Little House on the Prairie books that I read countless times in my youth. Tyler and Rachel Herbert, and their two children, raise grassfed, grass-finished beef and they manage to make their holistic process seem easy and seamless to a city girl like me. The simple life. And yet, I know that if I actually did the work myself for more than a couple of days, the romance would fade and I would collapse in a heap of exhaustion and probably failure. This family works hard and plays hard and their passion for Trail’s End is an incredible thing to witness and be a small part of.
On our visits to Trail’s End, Max and I have been made to feel right at home. Max joins the kids for hours outside as they play in melting snow in the spring and dirt in the summer. He has collected eggs from the hen house, climbed on fences and shared back rubs with horses. He is usually asleep within the first ten minutes of our ride home.
While the kids play, I join Rachel for some chores. She tromps around in amazing hat and boot combos and even though I have seen her glammed up for nights out in the city, this rustic chic is my favourite look on her. She casually pitches hay for the horses on our way to check out the cattle and then we check in on the creative genius who is Tyler as he finishes up the new barn they have been rebuilding since the old one burned down. On my first visit this spring, Tyler had finished most of the wood interior and was welding the iron bars to partition off the top of the stalls. My second visit saw the project complete and the details are stunning. They built their barn like they run their ranch, it is not just functional and solid, it is crafted and fine. If there was ever a barn meant to be photographed, this is the one.
No matter what the season, when we visit there is always beef and wine at the end of the day. In the spring we had comforting beef stew and homemade bread. Because of course when you are raising cattle, taking care of children, chickens and horses, tending a massive garden, maintaining relationships with vendors and clients, building a website and creating content for social media…if you are Rachel, you still have time to bake bread. Seriously.
This summer I was delighted that we were able to be a part of the Herbert family tradition of beef tasting–Normal dinner time for the Herberts, gourmet treat and experience of a lifetime for me. Rachel explained that they keep a steak from each beef that they sell and throughout the year they do taste comparisons. The whole family tries a little bit from a few steaks at one sitting and they take note of flavour and texture differences. Much like a wine tasting, where on talks of terroir influencing taste and flavour, a beef tasting allows Trail’s End to continue their endeavor to offer the greatest tasting, most tender grassfed beef around.
I talked my parents into buying a quarter beef so that I could shop from their freezer and our delivery came two weeks ago. To be honest, I didn’t have to talk my mom into ordering grassfed. She has been researching on her own and after finding www.GrassFedGirl.com, she has started on a mediterranean-paleo nutrition plan. It just makes sense to eat grassfed beef. Our traditional Sunday roast dinner far exceeded all of our expectations and subsequent recipes using Trail’s End beef have been delicious as well. The wonderful thing about eating beef from this ranch is that it goes beyond flavour and tenderness. I have seen the care that this family has for their animals. They don’t just talk the talk to be trendy, they walk the walk because they believe in doing things the right way.
Rachel and Tyler Herbert have perfected the art of living well and we are so lucky to be able to reap the benefits.
This is not a sponsored post. I believe that grassfed beef has great nutritional value and that our local ranchers need and deserve our support. Also, I have been a fan girl of Trail’s End on Instagram since 2011 and geeked out when I met Rachel and Tyler at a Christmas party last year. Since then I have forced my friendship on them and have fallen in love, hard-core. These people are the real deal so I want to share the goodness with as many of you as possible. Order beef, visit them on open farm days, follow them on social media and I am sure you will fall in love as well.
For more pictures of our visit to Trail’s End, please visit my Facebook page.