47 Ranch – Vendor Spotlight
At the Eastern foothills of the Mule Mountains and their grassy slopes which gently fall away towards the Sulfur Spring Valley lies the 47 Ranch of Dennis and Deb Moroney, one of the Sierra Vista Farmers Market’s earliest vendors. Dennis and Deb have long been leading proponents of sustainable agriculture. Their ranching practices and the quality meat products they sell reflect their passion for good stewardship of their land and the animals it sustains.
Dennis is quick to point out that their cattle are naturally “range” raised. This distinction is important, because the 47 Ranch graze their cattle on the semi desert ranch land that naturally evolves with the seasons. For example during the months of May and June nearly 90% of their cattle’s diet is mesquite leaves, flowers, pods, and beans. When the blessed monsoon rains of July and August bring their cooling touch and much needed moisture, the rich variety of their desert ranch land springs to life and the cattle’s diet expands to nearly 160 species of grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees. On their ranch alone, Dennis has identified over 50 different species of grass. This diversity of diet gives the beef cattle of the 47 Ranch their unique flavor.
Because the 47 Ranch has a commitment to providing only the highest quality beef, their animals are not raised with antibiotics and hormones. Nor does the 47 Ranch use insecticides, wormers, other additives or stimulants, instead, to keep their cattle healthy they rotate them through 22 pastures on their 25,000 acre ranch.
The 47 Ranch also raises the Navajo Churro sheep in the same sustainable and conscientious manner. Much of the year you’ll find their sheep in one of the pastures of the Sulphur Springs Valley, but right now the 47 Ranch sheep are helping the Native Seed SEARCH farm (NSS) in Patagonia with natural weed control while the NSS is not using the land for their seed growing projects.
Each week at the Sierra Vista Farmers Market you’ll find Dennis and Deb’s booth (Sky Island Brand Meats) at the West end of the market. There you’ll find a good selection of lamb chops, shoulder and leg roasts, riblets, and ground lamb. They’ll also have a variety of beef roasts, steaks, stew meat, ground beef, sausages, organ meats, and bones for broth and soup stock. All Sky Island Brand Meats are frozen and vacuum packed at the USDA inspected U of A Food Products and Safety Lab at the Campbell Ave farm which is just a few miles north of the main U of A campus.
If beef and sheep are not on the menu, then you might try some of Dennis’s Alaskan Sockeye Salmon that he has frozen and shipped from the Naknek Family Fisheries in Bristol Bay of southwest Alaska. Their fish includes Sockeye fillets, smoked Sockeye, and Salmon Bellies.
The 47 Ranch also makes their own peanut butter from USDA Certified Organic peanuts. Their peanut butter is freshly ground by them and has no additives or preservatives, just 100% peanuts!
If you have a few minutes on Thursday, stop by the Dennis and Deb’s booth and ask them about their ranch. Dennis’ quick wit and engaging attitude is sure to interest and inform.
For a full list of all our other fantastic vendors, please see this week’s newsletter at the www.sierravistfarmersmarkets.com
Submitted by William Struse