Writing a first blog post is like trying to write the introductory pages to a novel. You have a general idea of where you want to go and maybe a bit of an outline on your characters and how they will interact. But you have to set the premise for those who are going to read…and you want to be able to interest them enough in those early pages that they will stay for “the good stuff”. And this is where I find myself. Oh, the pressure. Let’s hope I do a good enough job to at least pique your interests.
Crooked Tree Ranch is a small, family run homestead ranch focused on raising high quality animals and produce. We are located on 60 acres in northern Minnesota, just a few hours south of the Canadian border and two hours east of Fargo. Currently, we breed Belted Galloway beef cattle and Berkshire pigs. Other animals are planned for addition in the future.
There are three of us here running Crooked Tree: Gary, Lynde, and Brecken. I’m Lynde (pronounced Lynn-dee) and I’m likely to be the primary voice here on the blog.
After a career largely based in the printing industry, Gary was looking for something new. Following a lot of research and decision making, he officially started Crooked Tree in 2014 with the purchase of our first Belted Galloway beef cattle, Southern Belle and Legacy. He chose the breed based on their rarity and their quality. We’ll be sharing more about this fantastic breed in future posts.
Likewise, he selected Berkshires as the breed of pigs Crooked Tree would add in 2015 with boars, Pork and Beans. Berkshire pork is often referred to as the Kobe of the pork world. Again, you’ll be learning more about this breed in the future.
Gary grew the ranch little by little, adding animals a bit at a time. The first Crooked Tree calf, Premiere, was born to Legacy via AI in 2015.
I joined the ranch in 2016 when Gary convinced me to move from Idaho to Minnesota a little while after “the best conversation I’ve ever had about cows”. A former dentist, it’s been quite the change of pace, but it’s been great living in rural Minnesota and enjoying “the simple life”.
In 2016, the farm also saw the addition of another bull calf. Crooked Tree’s Clean Slate was born via AI to Southern Belle. Crooked Tree also welcomed it’s first litter of piglets, the progeny of Pork and our then gilt, Anne. Three of those piglets remain on the farm as breeding stock: our runt Pippa (who was hand raised for the first two months of her life) and her sisters, Canadian and Sage.
In 2017, Crooked Tree has seen even more growth. As of today, we have welcomed three litters of piglets, our first heifer calf (Prima Donna), and a little farm boy. Brecken was born in March 2017. We now have seven cows, eight pigs, and three farmers.
Our hope is to share information about our animals and our farm as we learn and grow. Farming is an occupation of experience and we are constantly gaining new insight into practices that work and those that don’t. It’s a challenging life, but one we love. We hope you will enjoy joining us on our journey.