Bates is happy to have a beef with Gabe '02 and Amanda Clark '02

When Gabe ’02 and Amanda Waterhouse Clark ’02 bought Cold Spring Ranch in 2005, they were well aware of the task that lay ahead.

They had managed a 1,100-acre ranch in northern California for three years while each holding a full-time job. Each spring, they oversaw the birthing of about 100 calves. They found that if they fed the soon-to-deliver cows in the evening, they’d likely calve in the morning — before Gabe and Amanda left for work.

Their work schedules haven’t changed much in Maine. Both juggle ranch chores with full-time jobs — Amanda for a bank and Gabe for a University of Maine organic dairy farming experiment. On top of that, they’ve created a ranching model for their western Maine farm that meets their three top business goals: to contribute to the local economy, produce healthful beef and maintain their land in a sustainable manner.

“Part of our goal is to be involved in our local economy,” says Gabe. “A lot of small Maine towns are struggling with changes in resource utilization. We want the dollars we’re spending to recycle through the local economy, staying close to where we live.”

They buy their cattle locally as yearlings, which avoids the early-morning birthing sessions. Cows graze through the spring and summer, and animals come off the farm at various times of the year for slaughtering and packaging.

The couple sells their 100-percent grass-finished beef to individuals, four restaurants, several natural-food stores — clients who seek the nutritional advantages of grass-finished beef. It contains less saturated fat, more omega-3 fatty acids and higher amounts of vitamins A and E. The meat is free of pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, and steroids.

Another customer appreciated those benefits is the Bates College Dining Services.

“The product is outstanding and the service stellar,” says Dining Services director Christine Schwartz. “And Gabe and Amanda are wonderful individuals.

— Michele Pavitt

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