Zach Miller grew up on his grandfather’s farm in Charlottesville, Virginia when it was still a “gentleman’s farm” for racehorses. But Zach and his parents wanted to take the family legacy in a new direction. Zach wanted to see the farm—his childhood home—preserved as a profitable model of an alternative to industrial agriculture. That meant great-tasting steaks, healthy grasses, and a land stewardship that could continue long into the future.
“I thought I could make a difference on this little piece of land in central Virginia,” he says. “I have a family and it’s part of our heritage. I want to see it prosper so I can one day pass it along to my kids and give them the same experiences growing up that I had.”
Integral to that preservation is environmental sustainability for the farm and the longevity of the families involved in production, so Zach developed a multi-species farm with an intensively managed rotational grazing system. This regenerative program allows all of Timbercreek’s animals to live stress-free lives on fresh pastures while having a positive impact on the local environment.
“We’ve produced a product that speaks for itself and the meat is far superior to what I grew up eating,” Zach shares. “It just makes sense. If you take care of the animals and the land, it tastes fresh and you feel good when you get done with it.”
At Timbercreek Farm, Zach, (pictured above with his wife Sara), and his partner Irvin White raise grass-finished cattle on rolling grasslands divided by hardwood forest. Their herd consists of New Zealand Angus-Tarentaise cross, two breeds that produce amazing meat when finished on grasses. These breeds thrive on the native cool-season grasses of Virginia and high energy seasonal annuals.
Much like their herd management, grass at Timbercreek focuses on supporting species that thrive naturally and promote sustainability. Clover and radish enrich the soil, ensuring the continuing sustainability of the growing system. In fact, an ongoing research project at the University of Virginia shows promising results that Timbercreek contributes no net nitrogen to the watershed and even acts as a nitrogen sink for surrounding lands!
We’re excited to partner with Zach, whose focus on producing fantastic meat and educating his customers is right in line with what we do here at Crowd Cow. We love the story behind Timbercreek Farm and that doesn’t even touch on the beef! Rich and juicy, these marbled cuts are divine.
Grass-fed, grass-finished beef is delicious, make no mistake about it. Speaking of mistakes, many people who write-off grass-fed beef make the mistake of preparing it the same as the grain-finished beef that they're so used to. At Crowd Cow, we've found more often than not, that the difference between a great grass-fed steak and a sub-par one all comes down to knowing how to cook it correctly.
At Crowd Cow, we've had the good fortune to taste a lot of grass-fed, grass-finished beef -- from different cuts and different producers. We've found that grass fed beef usually takes 25-30% less time to cook. You might be used to cooking your rib steaks 4 minutes per side, but for grass-fed beef, you'll want to only give it 3 minutes. Better yet, try sous-viding your grass-fed steaks or preparing them with a reverse-sear.
Lastly, consider a marinade or rub. These can often overwhelm more-mellow grain-finished beef, but are perfect for rounding out the flavor of grass-fed beef, and marinades in particular are helpful in keeping the meat moist, preventing it from overcooking and drying out.