The Gazette: Colorado Springs’ Ranch Foods Direct introduces new products, opens new outlet

by Teresa Farney | Mar 5, 2019

Mike Callicrate, owner of Ranch Foods Direct and a family farm advocate with a wealth of information on food systems, is all about filling store shelves and refrigerated cabinets with locally produced foods.

He recently was excited to talk about the several head of Wagyu cattle he is raising on his ranch. The Japanese beef cattle breed is derived from native Asian cattle. The animals have more intramuscular fat cells, resulting in marbling of fat throughout the muscles, so the meat is more flavorful.

It’s also pricey, at least for steaks. But I picked up a couple of beautifully marbled rib eyes from Callicrate’s meat case for less than $17 a pound. Elsewhere, they run $20-plus a pound. They turned out to be spot-on tender and buttery tasting from the fat streaks in the meat – a big winner.

What really caught my eye was some of the less-tender cuts of Wagyu he had in the case. I spotted a rump roast that was evenly marbled for $6.99 a pound. That was too good to pass up. Yes, it still required several hours of braising, but the results were beyond fall-apart-tender and yummy. I’ll be back for more of those.

Callicrate pointed out a product he has just introduced: ground beef blended with liver and heart. Sound weird? He got the idea from a book he recently read, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” by Dr. Cate Shanahan.

Shanahan’s diet is based on the “four pillars” of traditional cuisine: meat on the bone, organ meats, fermented foods and raw foods.

“This book explains the importance of cooking meat on the bone,” he said, “and consuming bone broth and including organ meat like liver and heart. So we came up with a (ground beef) mix.”

I liked the idea, but I’m a liver lover, so the slight iron flavor didn’t bother me. I enjoyed knowing I was getting the nutritional benefit of iron.

If you can’t get past the liver flavor, season it.

“Make tacos with the meat,” Callicrate said.

I did that, too, and not a person at the table had a complaint about the flavor.

Ranch Foods Direct’s original store is at 1228 E. Fillmore St.; the new Peak to Plains Food Hub in Callicrate’s Ranch Foods Direct processing plant is at 4635 Town Center Drive on the southeast side of town. Visit

Contact the writer: 636-0271.