This August, the EPIC crew migrated to the great mountain top city of Leadville, Colorado for a week full of high altitude mountain-bike racing. The week was supplemented by visiting monuments such as The National Mining Hall of Fame and a little known city by the name of Kremmling.
Kremmling, Colorado is of utmost importance to everyone who enjoys the EPIC Bison Bacon Cranberry bar. This lovely city is the home of Bear Mountain, which is the ranch where EPIC sources its 100% grass-fed and grass-finished, free range bison! The beautiful property covers 10,000 acres of the most stunning pastureland I have ever visited.
It has long been important for us to visit our animal suppliers and develop close relationships with all of the individual ranchers. These relationships are built on trust and a mutual belief that epic animals should always live pasture centered lives. Aside from receiving proof of certifications that validate our animals receive the utmost humane treatment, we want to be able to stop by a ranch and see it first hand. When we announced to Bear Mountain that we planned to stop by, they welcomed us with open arms.
Our tour guide was a mountain man by the name of Brad Probst. Brad is the head rancher at Bear Mountain and he knows the property better than anyone. To our surprise, Brad has not only named, but also befriended all of the amazing bison on his land. He explained that each bison has its own individual personality. Some bison are mean and protective, while others like Brad’s personal favorite, Cheyenne, are open and affectionate. We saw Cheyenne walk right up to Brad for her afternoon petting. It was mind-blowing!
When we asked Brad to explain how he pastures his bison, he became giddy. His face lit up, revealing this part of his job as a great source of pride. It was clearly one of his favorite topics to discuss. To begin, Brad explained that at Bear Mountain they use the terms ‘pasturing’ and ‘grass feeding’ interchangeably, “This aspect of our bison raising practice really defines us within the industry, as 93-95% of bison today are finished on grain and/or in feedlots. We believe that everyone has the right to choose what they eat, we just choose to let our bison graze naturally, as ruminants should, on the grasses that their digestive systems have evolved to digest for thousands of years.”
Further, we learned that Bear Mountain has 9 separate pastures, each with access to fresh water. The bison are put through a system of rotational grazing; once a pasture has been fed on for a few weeks, the animals are moved to a new and fresh patch of land. This system avoids any overgrazing or damage to the land and provides the bison with different varieties of native grasses. The bison from Bear Mountain are pastured on some of the highest protein content grass in the United States.
Through a diet exclusive to grass, the lifecycle of a bison at Bear Mountain is two and a half years! The finished animal will weigh 1100 pounds and produce 600 pounds of nutrient dense delicious meat. Due to the incredible vitamin and nutrient content of the pasture these bison feed on, the animals are richer in antioxidants (vitamin e, beta carotene, vitamin c), have 2-4 times the omega 3’s, and 3-5 times the conjugated linoleic acid as compared to conventional grain finished bison.
After visiting the bison herd, we toured the remainder of the property. We found our way to Bear Mountain (the mountain that inspired the ranch name), and while summiting, we trekked through a gorgeous aspen forest inhabited by enormous elk. We saw multiple bulls with antlers rating close to 400, which are trophy sized game animals that hunters dream of! Brad informed us that a portion of the ranch is made available to hunters throughout the year.
Our tour of Bear Mountain ranch ended with a meeting with the owners of the property, Anne and John Draper, as well as Terese Cunico, the head honcho of operations. We had the opportunity to put all faces to names as well as talk business. When we unveiled the EPIC growth strategy over the next couple of years and how that would impact our bison volume, the kind folks at Bear Mountain said not to worry, they would get it done!
Thanks to Bear Mountain Bison, the EPIC Bison Bacon Cranberry bar is loaded with the highest quality bison protein available. The animals are ranched in a “hands off” approach that allows the creatures to live natural and pleasurable lives. The land they inhabit is gorgeous, full of bio-diversity, and aptly described as EPIC!
To learn more about Bear Mountain Bison ranch visit their website: http://bearmountainbison.com/
Here is a link to their online store where you can buy their delicious meat:
If you are into romance and looking for an isolated natural area to relax, look no further:
Lastly, if you are a hunter seeking adventure beyond adventure here is your stop: