The History of Chisholm Trail Grass-Fed Beef

Back in the day, around the year 1996 to be exact, Mike Crawford decided he wanted to give his wife, Pam, a special gift. With Pam’s alma mater being the University of Texas, he thought it might be fun to give her a longhorn.


But he couldn’t just give her a single cow! They always have to have a friend so Stella and Freckles joined the family. The herd quickly doubled in size and settled onto the fields of Red Peak Ranch, which Mike had purchased a few years prior in 1994 on the edge of the Mills County in Texas. They grazed on grass, prickly pears and any other natural foods that were readily available.


While the cows continued to grow the herd, Mike began selling the bull calves for profit to the rodeos for recreational purposes. He developed Red Peak Ranch’s website in 2002 so ranchers could look at the cattle available for purchase. Meanwhile, Mike’s close friend, Ed, wanted to start his own ranch as well. Mike sold him some of his longhorns and soon enough Ed’s ranch, The Lonesome Cowboy Ranch, was up and running.


Everything was going great and the Red Peak herd had grown to approximately 250 cattle. Then the oil industry took a hit in 2008 and the price of gas rose to over $4! When this happened, the rodeo industry nearly disappeared due to the high gas prices, which lead to the value of the bull calves drastically decreasing. At this point, Mike pondered what else he could do with his herd, besides continuing to sell and breed the cattle. That’s when he stumbled upon the news that grass-fed beef was becoming the new craze in California. This was fascinating to him from not only a business perspective, but also the health advantages were rumored to be much better than conventionally-raised beef. Mike talked with professors and dieticians to see what the true benefits of grass-fed beef versus grain-fed beef were. He also wondered what the meat tasted like and what the exact nutritional information was. He sent meat samples to an independent research firm in Wisconsin to analyze the meat and provide detailed nutritional facts. The health benefits came back off the charts! It had practically no fat or cholesterol and tasted delicious. A bonus – there was no grease when it was cooked.


This led to the introduction of Chisholm Trail Grass-fed Beef in 2010. The duo, Mike and Ed, paired up and created the company to sell healthy, grass-fed beef to retail outlets and restaurants. It was named after an old trail that cowboys used to drive cattle after the Civil War up to where cattle were loaded onto railroad cars in Dodge City, Kansas and transported back East. Fun fact: the part of Chisholm Trail that runs through the Dallas-Fort Worth area is now Preston Road!


To this day, Red Peak Ranch and The Lonesome Cowboy Ranch still continue to sell their registered bulls and cows, as well as raise cattle specifically for Chisholm Trail. All of the longhorns are still happily grazing the fields of the two ranches and, of course, are completely grass-fed.

Did you know Texas longhorns are not, in fact, from Texas?


They are originally from Spain and Portugal and came to America with Christopher Columbus when he came back to the New World in 1493 after initially discovering its treasures a year prior. They began living off the land in the Latin America area of the continent and eventually migrated north to the Texas area on their own.


Because they learned to adapt to the harsh southwest environment, longhorns are more drought tolerant, eat a diverse diet besides just grass and actually live to be 25 years old on average.