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Where’s the beef . . . at the Fritz ranch

By Roberta Wallace

For Steve and Sheila Fritz, Sr., owners of Authentic Beef, moving to Rye, Colo. to raise grassfed beef was a return to a way of life that felt right. Steve spent his childhood on a family farm near the banks of the Missouri River. When his family moved to the Denver area, he missed the sense of community he had grown accustomed to in a rural setting. After finishing school, establishing a family and a successful fabrication business, the couple bought a ranch on Table Mountain and established the Diamond Double S Land & Cattle Corp.

Producing cattle to be shipped to feedlots was not what Steve and Sheila and their four children wanted. Instead they chose to use the natural environment and rotational grazing management to grow the grass that feeds their cattle, which are sold directly to the public under the brand name Authentic Beef. No pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers are used to grow the grass.

Sustaining their cattle with managed rotational grazing has reduced invasive weeds and produced pastures of tall, healthy grass. To ensure an all natural product, Authentic Beef cattle are given no antibiotics, hormones, nor are they fed any animal byproducts. Arrangements with a local processor have been established to help ensure a quality end product. Just producing all natural cattle in a healthy environment was not enough for the Fritzes. They also believe that to have healthy rural communities people need to be involved. Not only do consumers need to buy locally or, as Steve Fritz, Sr. says, “bring their food source back home to support rural communities and the way of life they provide,” but rural producers need to be involved in their communities as well.

For Steve, Sheila and their children this translated into getting involved in reinvigorating the town of Rye. In looking at ways to build a sustainable downtown, the family purchased TR’s Country Store. In addition to the usual convenience store products, Authentic Beef is available as well as organic produce, breads, free-range poultry and other local products.

Eating right is Steve’s passion. His lifelong research into the adverse effects of food additives, pesticides and e. coli showing up in some imported produce, has set him on a mission. That mission not only includes raising healthy, grassfed beef but using his expertise in the precision fabrication business to build greenhouses. Authentic Garden Greenhouses, Inc. manufactures high quality greenhouses that provide people with more independence for their own food supply. They are suitable for use in the backyard, as a community project or for commercial production.

When considering the effect on agricultural communities of imported foods and international trade agreements, Steve said, “Consumers hold the key to circumventing such agreements and providing economic sustainability for rural communities by buying locally from family producers. If consumers do not gain an understanding of the effects of NAFTA and CAFTA, the standard of living for all will continue to decline.”

The Fritz familyis commitmed to a sustainable future, reconnecting consumers with their food supply, and improving the land on which that food supply is grown.

For more information on the health benefits of grassfed beef, or to order, visit the Authentic Beef website, www.authenticbeef.com or call 719-489-3595. For more information on the greenhouses, visit www.authenticgardengreenhouses.com

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