Jerry’s Foods has done a lot of growing since it was incorporated in 1959. Headquartered in Edina, Jerry’s Enterprises, Inc., has built stores in Edina, Eden Prairie and Woodbury, and in Sanibel, Fla. They also operate Country Market stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
It’s safe to say that Jerry’s knows a thing or two about the grocery business. But they also know a few things about grass-fed beef. Not just selling it, but raising it sustainably and humanely, and making sure their customers receive premium, consistent quality every time. “That can be difficult in an overly commercialized industry where quantity is often prioritized over quality,” says Roger Nunn, president of Esox Marketing and the project coordinator for Jerry’s Mulvey Gulch Ranch project.
Meet Mulvey Gulch Ranch: Located just 15 miles south of Boulder in the heart of Montana’s big sky country, the ranch was homesteaded by Irish immigrants after the Civil War. Around 1864, William Mulvey and his wife, Catherine, homesteaded the original 160 acres in what was then the Montana Territory. Jerry’s purchased the original homestead in 1998 and began an expansion of the scale and operation of the Black Angus-only beef operation. The ranch has grown considerably, now covering over 140 square miles, including deeded and leased lands.
Photos courtesy of Amy/Big Woods Creative and Annie O Photography
Tucked into the Elkhorn and Bull Mountains, Mulvey Gulch is a year-round working ranch, home to around 70 registered Black Angus bulls, and over 1,000 premium mother cows and their calves. The animals are never moved by machines—only by riders on horseback. They roam and graze freely, and grow naturally in a bucolic environment drizzled with winding rivers and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Raising cattle on Mulvey Gulch Ranch is nothing new, but focusing on their natural lifecycle—"which delivers only the healthiest, freshest and most delicious 100-percent grass-fed beef available—is,” says Roger Nunn. “All animals are bred, born, raised and harvested in Montana, and delivered directly to select Jerry’s-owned stores.”
The cattle spend their entire lives in stress-free surroundings. The focus is on quality of life, not shipping cattle from place to place as many companies do. Protecting the health and well-being of the animals and the sustainability of the environment are priorities.
Mulvey Gulch Ranch is certified by the Western Sustainability Exchange, which “preserves the best of the west—farming and ranching heritage, wide open spaces, and wildlife habitat—all while strengthening rural economies,” according to the organization. Mulvey Gulch Ranch has also grown to become the largest member of the American Grassfed Association, which prioritizes animal sustainability and welfare.
Ensuring land viability for generations to come is a major focus at the ranch. “Grasses can only be grazed for so long,” says Nunn. “If it’s eaten too far down and pulled out by the roots, it has to be re-seeded—not an easy task, because you can’t just drive farm equipment out to grasslands through rivers and valleys.”
It takes 20 to 24 months to naturally grow a grass-fed cow to Jerry’s target market weight, which is about 1,200 pounds. It takes about half that time to get them to weight feeding grains and using hormones, like a lot of large cattle operations do. But taking the time to do things right is preferred at Mulvey Gulch Ranch, so the former, rather than the latter, is the way they go. It means the beef is healthier—higher in protein and lower in fat—and rich with nutrients like Omega-3 and vitamins, say the folks at Jerry’s. The cattle are never treated with antibiotics or added hormones.
At Jerry’s Foods, you can find Mulvey Gulch Ranch products from rib-eye steaks to top sirloins to ground beef. A snack line is also underway: Hot dogs, summer sausage, beef sticks and jerky will be available soon, Nunn says.
Different cuts have different levels of tenderness, and everyone has different preferences. To introduce the long-awaited Mulvey Gulch Ranch products to their customers, Jerry’s Foods will offer product demos to provide the opportunity to try different meats before purchasing them.