Reviews for: TLC Ranch
Proof that you do well by doing good
By: Diana Foss (Jul 25, 2010)
I've been a very satisfied customer of TLC ranch for 4 or 5 years now. I first bought whole chickens when Jim would drive over to Los Gatos and sell them from the back of his truck. They were delicious birds, very meaty, and never watery.
Then I bought my first half pig. It was butchered by Willow Glen Meats and Smokehouse, which did a fine job, especially with the spicy Italian sausage. But it's the ham that my friends and family are still talking about years later. The best piece of meat I'd ever eaten in my life.
When it was all gone, I waited longingly for Jim and Rebecca to offer half pigs again. In the meantime, my CSA from Live Earth Farm started offered TLC Ranch eggs, and I was thrilled to be able to have them effortlessly delivered every week.
This year, I finally got my second pig. In the time since the first one, I've learned a bit more about butchering, so I jumped at the chance to have Loren Ozeki, "The RIb King," butcher my pig while I got to watch and kibbitz.
Loren and I spent an afternoon talking while he cut up my pork exactly the way I wanted it, providing cooking suggestions for each piece (and also exclaiming more that once what a beautiful half pig I had scored.) He then cured and smoked bacon, hocks, and another beautiful ham (which is waiting for a special occasion) and made chorizo and Italian sausage, which he hand-delivered to me when they were done. Everything I've had has been delicious.
Sure, it's a lot of meat. I have a chest freezer in my back porch, but I have to say that I wonder how I ever lived without it, since a half pig is not the only kind of food I bring into the house. But it's absolutely delicious. Further, echoing Tana's comment, I absolutely respect the animal I am eating. Every time I open the freezer to take out a piece, it is with gratitude and awareness that I am so fortunate to be doing so.
Visiting TLC Ranch has been a huge part in my relationship with them. Jim and Rebecca open their farm to visitors, because they are proud of what they're doing, and happy to share it. Seeing the pigs come running across the fields at the sight of Jim shows powerfully that these are happy animals that only have one bad day in their entire lives. And I trust Jim and Rebecca on that day.
Very worthwhile pig slaughtering/butchering class
By: Charles Sigismund (Dec 11, 2009)
Not having grown up on a ranch, and not having grown up hunting, I'd never had the experience of killing an animal for food and making good use of all its parts. TLC Ranch's pig slaughtering and butchering class provided exactly the hands-on, start to finish experience I was looking for. Jim and Loren are excellent teachers who showed us how to do the work, then guided us students as we pitched in. Loren even provided a truly delicious lunch that featured different cuts of pork. At the end of a good long day, we took home many pounds of great tasting pork, along with a much clearer understanding of and respect for exactly where it comes from. But more than that, with the experience we gained and the skills we got a good solid start at learning and mastering, we also took home greater self-reliance and many more choices in feeding our families and friends. Now I need to go make some Italian bacon with the pork belly I brought home...
The pork, the eggs...
By: (Jan 28, 2009)
I can't ever get up early enough to get to Mountain View to get enough pork! Twice I've been able to get eggs. But I tell you I should get up earlier because OMG it's worth it. The pork is absolutely delicious!
By: betsy finfrock (Jan 23, 2009)
We picked up the pork from the Farmer's Market, and Sat night we cooked up some of it for a gathering of 10 people. We are certain that it was the best pork we have ever eaten. We stuffed it with an herb, olive oil, garlic mix, and topped it with both the herbs and a shallot crumb topping. Incredible!
Betsy & Andy
A customer from the start, and now a friend
By: Tana Butler (Sep 1, 2008)
I first met Jim Dunlop and his wife, Rebecca Thistlethwaite, at a farmers market, back when I started blogging about farms. I've visited the ranch several times, and have learned so much from both Jim and Rebecca about the importance of raising meat cleanly and sustainably...on grass, and not indoors. They have over 3000 chickens, and a varying number of pigs. The chickens are for eggs, and everything they eat goes into making those eggs the yellowest, tastiest eggs you can buy. Also the freshest eggs you can buy. (Eggs in grocery stores can be several weeks old!)
The pork, too, is so clean-tasting that I can no longer eat pork from the grocery store: I can literally taste the foulness of it, that comes from animals who are penned up and never see the light of day. Imagine how badly those places smell, and then imagine wanting to eat the meat raised in those conditions. Ugh.
Anyway, because of their integrity and intelligence, and the caring they put into raising livestock at TLC Ranch, these good people are my heroes, and also my good friends. I am fortunate to babysit their little girl, and I get "paid" in meat and eggs. What a luxury.
We are so blessed here in Santa Cruz to have ranchers with this level of commitment. That's why they have so many loyal customers. Tasty meat, tasty eggs! Whee!
The pork is amazing.
By: (Jun 25, 2008)
I would simply like to say the pork is amazing. It is unlike any pork I have ever had -- and it is worth it! I simply want to second the reviewer above and say that I have sampled the pork. If I can ever get to Mountain View early enough, I'll sample the beef too. :)
Pastured Eggs & a good community resource
By: (May 16, 2008)
I write this review simply because there NEEDS to be a review of this place, even though I might not be the most qualified person to write it. I first heard of TLC Ranch when my grocery delivery service, Planet Organics started offering TLC's pastured eggs.
Having been disenchanted before when I found out that the eggs that I thought were pastured, were actually produced by a large-scale factory-farm-like enterprise, I had started to really scrutinize the claims of companies. TLC eggs were offered at a premium by Planet Organics, so while I had already found a reliable source for eggs from a small family farm while waiting for my own flock to start laying, we decided to give these eggs a try.
My family of 5 easily goes through 2 dozen eggs per week and this extra dozen pushed us to 3 dozen eggs. The eggs from TLC were just what they said they were, delicious and nutritious, with bright orange yolks and the freshness that can be verified with a firm white that clings to the egg. Since this initial exposure, my CSA, eatwiththeseasons.com has started offering TLC Ranch eggs as well. They cost a bit more, but are well worth it.
But their great eggs are not the reason I felt compelled to write this review. Because while me & my family might be driven by taste, quality or convenience, there is no fooling other farmers and local food producers. It was when Jean at Deep Roots Ranch spoke wih respect of TLC Ranch Jim Dunlop that my trust in this ranch was affirmed. I heard a bit about how he was getting some sows and then found some local articles online with photos from the ranch. That's when I came to fully appreciate the place this ranch holds in our local food community. Places like this deserve to be recognized & celebrated.
So while I cannot YET speak to their meats & other offerings, I am impressed with what I've seen so far and look forward to seeing how they grow-- especially with the ties that plant them as a local, sustainable resource to the metropolitan areas of San Francisco & Silicon Valley.
Comments on this Review:
Tana Butler says: (Sep 1, 2008)
"Places like this deserve to be recognized & celebrated." Right on!