With more and more consumers wanting to know where their food comes from, the Elston family decided it was time to open their ranch directly to the consumer, allowing them to buy home-grown beef, straight from their Spiritwood, N.D., homestead.
“My husband and I decided to take our cattle that we have been raising and we feed our family with it. Our family and friends have been wanting our products, and so we decided to take it from just selling whole animals to selling beef products,” Michele Elston said.
“When we sell our product, we are selling something we are willing to feed to our own family and to our family and friends,” Michele Elston said. “People contact us knowing that we raise the animals. They wanted the product before we could offer it to them.”
The Elstons have a retail sales license that allows them to sell their product within the state of North Dakota. The beef that they market for consumption comes directly from their registered Angus beef herd.
They have been focusing on marketing their product, advertising their home-grown beef around the state on billboards in heavily populated cities, including Fargo.
"They have gotten people talking," Wesley Elston said about the billboards.
The cattle are taken to slaughter around 18-20 months. Wesley Elston believes this allows for their meat to be at the utmost quality.
The Elstons diversified their operation a little over a year ago to offer homegrown beef.
“We decided to get into this market about a year ago. We had discussed it before but never really moved forward. Then when the pandemic happened, we noticed that prices were going up on beef products, and people wanted to know where their beef was coming from,” Michele Elston said.
While they have been enjoying the new venture, there have been some challenges along the way, such as storing their product and getting into the butcher. The Elstons book out their butchering appointments anywhere from a year to 14 months in advance. They believe it is important to have a good relationship with their butcher and strong communication with them.
The Elstons hope to be able to sell in stores in the future. However, you can find their homegrown beef products online at Elstonbeef.com. But for now, they are happy to be offering a product that they feed their own family and that they are proud of.