From Ranch to Table
Molokai Ranch is beefing up their operation, and with more than 1000 cattle grazing on 30,000 acres of pasture, the company has started accepting orders for grass-fed beef, available on Molokai and Oahu in September.
“It’s a big deal for us,” said Molokai Ranch CEO Clay Rumbaoa. “The previous Ranch operation was ‘cow/calf,’ meaning none on the cattle was finished [and] processed on Molokai, but rather shipped to the mainland to be grain finished and processed,. Our model is to raise, finish, process, quality Molokai Ranch Angus beef that is 100 percent grass fed and hormone-free for consumers to enjoy.”
Molokai Ranch’s website touts that its environmentally-friendly beef, having lived on a diet of native grass, has a higher nutrition value with lower fat and higher omega-3s and minerals than the grain-fed alternative.
“Grazing across the vast hillsides, living unconfined and enjoying ideal island weather, our cattle experience a comfortable Hawaiian lifestyle,” states their website. “Locally born, pasture-raised, and finished on Molokai, our cattle remain on-island during their entire life cycle, making Molokai Ranch beef truly ranch-to-table.”
Rumbaoa said beginning in September, the Ranch will begin processing 10 head per month and double that within 18 months. All the meat will go through the local slaughterhouse, Molokai Livestock Cooperative, he said, which he hopes will allow the cooperative to hire more employees and beef up their business, too.
“Molokai Ranch has been fortunate to grow our herd rather quickly, by purchasing on island cattle from other ranchers, that would otherwise be shipped to the mainland,” he said. “It is a win/win situation for all…. The goal is to produce quality meats for consumers to enjoy, keep diseases off island, create a sustainable operation, whereby all the ranchers on Molokai and the slaughterhouse works together and are successful.”
Currently running the operation with two fulltime cowboys, the cattle ranching effort is also supported by other Molokai field personnel, as well as friends and `ohana who help during round-ups, according to Rumbaoa.
Molokai Ranch has also introduced a breeding program to produce Wagyu breed beef cattle. Wagyu orginated in Japan but is now sold commonly in the U.S. as Kobe beef. The meat is known for its high quality and can fetch a higher market price. Last winter, the Ranch used artificial insemination to impregnate some of its cows with the Wagyu strain, with the assistance of specialists from University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. While the Wagyu isn’t ready yet, the Ranch plans for it to be on the menu in the next few years.
“As Molokai Ranch grows, we want to educate and cultivate the quality of our product, because of the pristine Molokai environment and the humane practices we’ve implemented,” said Rumbaoa, via email. “We have used our partnership with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to assist with improving our breed quality and held several livestock classes for all Molokai residents to attend.”
Visit molokairanch.com for more information or to place orders.