Newport Blog

Happy Cows

Meet Oregon Country Beef!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that people are becoming more conscious about what goes into their bodies. Where does my food come from? How was it raised? Is it going to fill my body with crappy chemicals that I’ve been working so hard to avoid? These are questions people want answers to.

We do, too.

It’s why we have fostered a 29-year relationship with Oregon Country Beef. Back in the Fall of 1986, McCormack Ranch in Brothers supplied the very first beef steer for OCB.

And we became their first customer.

The Oregon Country Beef Story

Back in 1976, ranchers Doc and Connie Hatfield knew there had to be a better way to deliver the naturally-raised beef products that consumers wanted. How could ranchers raise the bar and still remain economically and environmentally sustainable?

“We looked all over the West to find a place where people, cattle, land, and dollars could all work together in harmony,” reflects Connie.

Ultimately, they moved their ranch from Montana’s Bitterroot Valley to eastern Oregon and in 1984, Doc and Connie formed the consumer-driven beef marketing cooperative — Oregon Country Beef. Fourteen ranching families were on board. Their goal? To produce naturally-raised, superior-tasting beef for a choosy marketplace.

Doc & Connie

Today, Oregon Country Beef is one of the nation’s leaders in natural beef production. The co-op that Doc and Connie started over 31 years ago now consists of nearly 100 family ranches in and around Oregon. Their ideology holds as true today as it did when the Hatfields decided to pursue their ambitious dream:

Healthy Land. Healthy Animals. Healthy People.

We were thrilled to have recently been invited by Oregon Country Beef to tour one of their ranches, feedlots and processing plants. Our journey began with a stop at Warnock Ranch in Maupin, Oregon. The peaceful beauty of the rugged land was stunning. But what really captured our hearts was the commitment of the ranch family to sustainable land management. Rancher Randy Warnock spoke with intense devotion about the health of the soil, how the grass grows, and how the land they have been on for decades sustains the cattle. His herd grazed leisurely, watching us with curious eyes while Randy continued to talk about how “the cows just do what they do.”

And we all thought it:

“These are the happiest cows ever.”

Ranchers & NAM

We then traveled east to Boardman, Oregon to check out one of Oregon Country Beef’s feedlots. Again, we were struck by how relaxed the cattle were. This is because all facets of OCB practice “Raise Well” principles with their cattle. No hormones. No antibiotics. No GMOs.

Happy Cows

Again… happy cows.

Lastly, we visited the Oregon Country Beef processing plant in Toppenish, Washington. The efficiency and extreme cleanliness of the facility was impressive, but what truly impacted was the thoughtful design of the plant. All Oregon Country Beef cattle are humanely treated. They even brought in animal science expert Temple Grandin to help create a stress-free environment for the cattle.

Greg, our fabulous meat department manager, had this to say about the entire experience…

“As the face of Oregon Country Beef to our customers, it was a privilege to see what most meat people don’t see. I observed what the cows ate. I witnessed the gentle and humane way they were treated. I personally know the ranchers who are committed to raising healthy cattle.”

If you want to see what all of the fuss is about, join us this Saturday, June 27th, for our Bodacious BBQ Bash. It’s going to be a massive celebration of all things beef… win a Traeger grill from Fin & Fire in Redmond, meet the incredibly friendly Oregon Country Beef ranchers, sample some of the best NY strip steaks ever, chow down on hotdogs, listen to live music, enjoy wine tastings, and get 50% off of all Oregon Country Beef NY strip steaks in the store.

At Newport Avenue Market, our goal is to consistently provide the best quality meat to our customers. Hats off to Oregon Country Beef for their commitment to providing the healthiest hormone-free, antibiotic-free, GMO-free beef to the people of Central Oregon. It’s been a glorious partnership!