Skagit River Ranch:
We're proud to have been chosen as the exclusive online outlet for this truly amazing beef, praised by eco-advocates and connoisseurs alike.
The ranch lies along this beautiful river, where eagles roost in winter and salmon return every summer, just 30 miles from our base in Bellingham.
It's a labor of love for George and Eiko Vojkovich, who work it with the help of their daughter, Nicole.
And that dedication shows.
As bestselling journalist Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Rules), wrote to George and Eiko:
"As usual, your steaks were delicious ... you're doing some of the best grass fed I've had, and doing it consistently. So thanks for the great work and commitment."
The story behind Skagit River Ranch
Like Vital Choice founder Randy Hartnell, George Vojkovich spent decades as a commercial salmon fisherman.
Eventually, he grew weary of the sea, and wanted to spend time with his wife and little girl, so he began farming.
After getting sick from agricultural chemicals, he tackled the hard task of switching to all-natural, sustainable practices, and gained USDA Organic certification of their ranch and beef.
George and Eiko then learned that grass-fed beef
is much better for animals and the environment, and possesses a superior nutritional profile.
So they began raising their cattle exclusively on their certified-organic pasture, featuring grasses, legumes, and herbs ... with delicious results. (See "Skagit River Ranch: A pastureland salad bar", below.)
George says that because they eat so well, they are rarely sick and almost never need the veterinary drugs commonly administered to feedlot animals, whose manure, he notes, "is so toxic flies won't even lay eggs in it".
Then they began crossing their tasty heirloom, grass-adapted Angus cattle with the famously tender, luscious Japanese "Wagyu" breed.
Their beef was already delicious, thanks in part to the sweet grass that grows in the rich soil of the Skagit River Basin ... but now it's also extra tender.
George and Eiko also raise organic pork, chickens, turkeys and eggs … humanely, with no chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones.
As George says, "We believe that by being good stewards of the land and using sustainable, organic and humane methods, Mother Nature will bless us back with healthy, clean food ... a gift we're honored to share with you. I'm grateful that many people really care about how we grow our animals … thank you for supporting our family business; it's a privilege to be your farmer."
Skagit River Ranch: A pastureland salad bar
The cattle feed on a rich variety of wild grasses, plus natural supplements.
As George told us, "different plant species have different root systems (depth) and deliver different nutrients". He believes the animals possess an innate wisdom that leads them to eat what they need.
This is the cattle's highly varied pastureland "salad bar":
- Rye grass
- 3 kinds of red clover
- 2 kinds of white clover
- 3 kinds of orchard grass
- Dandelions, blackberry, and willow shoots (which George says they "devour" in the spring)
The cattle also get natural supplements:
- Atlantic seaweed for trace minerals
- Silage in winter (as George says, "it's like sauerkraut for cattle")
- Redmond's mineral salt, with more than 60 micronutrients (50 lbs per acre)