NEW: A picnic with Jim Gates of Nevada County Free Range Beef

Jim Gates, owner of Nevada County Free Range Beef, invited us to his annual picnic and barbeque — a family gathering that has grown to friends and family.

Jim is a longtime rancher here, whose grass-fed beef business has grown to 120 Shorthorn, Red Angus and other cows grazing on separate parcels comprising 2,240 acres near Rough and Ready. Jim is a modern-day cowboy. “Cows are essentially recycled grass,” he states. He sells his beef at BriarPatch and SPD, as well as direct.

The picnic is at Trabucco Ranch, which neighbors Jim’s property. You might recall the Trabucco’s prevailed in a conservation easement lawsuit in 2008.

The ranch land is comprised of rolling hills and oak trees, with cattle grazing throughout. It was a perfect day and Jim had set up “camp” on a knoll overlooking the snow-capped Sierra, with picnic tables and chairs.

His flat-bed truck was decked out with homemade salads and deserts. Jim fired up a grill for beef ribs and oysters (fresh from Bodega Bay). After eating, the children went to a nearby pond with plastic cups to catch tadpoles.

It was a classic picnic in the foothills, a reminder of our laid-back lifestyle.

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