StoneBridge Beef LLC | 100% Grass Fed Beef Direct From Our Farm

Pasture Grazed Beef: 100% grass-fed beef direct from our farm to you! Call (320) 533-0800 or email mike@stonebridgebeef.com

Stonebridge Beef LLC is a small, grass-fed beef supplier selling direct to Minnesota customers, including several top restaurants in the Twin Cities.

Mike’s Blog – 10/22/17

StoneBridge Beef is having another good year. Sales are on par with the last two years and you, as valued customers, are the engine that makes the business run. In this blog I will try to outline the successes we are seeing and what we will consider to position ourselves for the future.

StoneBridge Beef is now an LLC. Lester Good is now officially a 40% owner of the business. In practice, his role as partner-successor is now even more pronounced. Lester owns and manages all the cattle as a separate business of his own. At age 76, my role in the business is still as an active manager, day-to- day communicator, planner, and distributor. However, it is evident that Lester could take over my duties and the business would continue on course.

Our growth is limited by our lack of qualified meat processors. Butchering infrastructure and meat cutters are suffering from advancing age. Local meat shops, their owners, and their employees tend to average in the 55 to 65 age range; much the same age as active farmers in Minnesota, which average about 59 years. And processors are overworked and overbooked. We are considering this problem as our number one concern.

Our cattle production system is highly efficient and could grow to meet the increasing demand for local grass-fed, grass-finished meat. BUT WITHOUT DEPENDABLE PROCESSING, EXPANSION IS TOO RISKY. We are working hard on both short-term and long-term solutions to this dilemma, and the details of our effort are too complex for this blog. This bottleneck is an inconvenience that restricts our size but not our ongoing success.

Meanwhile, our BRAND, our reputation and visibility are growing significantly through articles in magazines like SUCESSFUL FARMING, COUNTRY LIFE, and THE LAND. We have always been featured in local publications but now we are being displayed as a ‘business model’ for the local food movement. As an example, we are asked to provide 600 lbs. of beef (and a booth) for the Wise Traditions Conference, November 10-12. This is an international, 1000-person conference put on by the highly acclaimed Weston A. Price Foundation.

Big Ag, commodity beef companies like Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods, etc. are taking notice of the collective success of local grass-fed beef companies like ours. Their response is to purchase or start their own intermediate size BRANDED BEEF, grass-fed operations. From the consumers’ standpoint there is concern here. Their product may be labeled “Product of the USA” but the animals are raised and slaughtered in a foreign country (in a USDA plant) and distributed by big box grocery retailers and restaurant chains in the US. Fully 75% of all grass-fed beef sold in the US market is now IMPORTED!

With your continued support we will stubbornly maintain our local, sustainable, Minnesota-based production model. We continue to be inspired by the personal relationships we have with you, the customers we know by name and location. Word-of-mouth is really the core of our direct marketing approach and we depend on your referrals.

We love being your farmer.    --Mike Stine, owner/founder

Mike’s Blog 1/4/15

StoneBridge Beef had another record sales year in 2014.  Sales were not just higher than 2013 but 30% higher.  We added new customers of course but the growth was largely YOU (our existing families and restaurants) who placed larger orders in 2014. For the first time in our 10 year history there were more orders for half beeves than for quarters.

So I appreciate all of you in our “tribe” who spread the word and include your friends, relatives, and others in combined orders.  Many of you counter the media publications who propagate the drum beat that “beef as a food item is environmentally troubling as well as generally unhealthy”.  It is a case of presenting all beef products using the same uninformed dogma.  Beef feedlots, part of the three beef industry giant corporations, are a well-recognized tragedies.  Industrial beef as a product is unsustainable.  GRASS-FED, PASTURE FINISHED BEEF, HOWEVER, IS A SUPERSTAR OF THE LOCAL FOOD MOVEMENT.  The comparison is astonishing!

I would like to comment on our method of processing.  In the beef industry freshness is often overlooked as a component of beef flavor.   Our relationship with our processor, St. Joseph Meats, does not include storage.  It is my job to keep the beef food chain as short as possible by not slaughtering until you place an order.  All deliveries are scheduled the same week as the beef is cut and packaged unless you, the customer request a delay.  Compare this kind of service with industrial meat with multiple ownership changes while traveling freezer to truck to freezer to truck for months on end.  As StoneBridge beef we try our best to go directly from farm to fork.      

We are working on a new website for 2015.  It will have a “shopping cart” similar to ones you use for ordering other products.  Don’t be afraid to call us during site development to place or clarify your orders verbally.  We hope it adds to your convenience but retains that “direct from the farm” feel StoneBridge Beef plans to maintain.

Yes, we are excited about 2015 and for now our cattle are experiencing a mild winter.  We are continuing to raise our own calves as much as possible rather than buy calves from grass-fed cattle ranchers.   A note here about Lester Good, my partner in the stockmanship portion of StoneBridge Beef.  Mostly due to his expertise we are getting even more consistent as month to month suppliers of grass-finished beef.  Come visit us at our farm and we will show you the production details as well as the beauty of seeing a large number of cattle feeding on a salad bar of grasses.

Mike Stine, owner-farmer, StoneBridge Beef

Copyright 2016 Stonebridge Beef LLC (320) 594 0031 — 26668 290th Street, Long Prairie MN 56347