Painted Hills Natural Beef is a natural* beef product originating in Wheeler County, Oregon. The story behind PHNB begins in the mid-90s. Several ranchers got together to discuss the current trends in the beef industry and how to add value to beef products. They discovered that they were all experiencing the same confusion. "Why is it that I am producing top quality cattle and yet all I hear at grocery stores and restaurants is that beef isn't as good as it used to be?" As it turned out, the cattle that came from the ranches of Wheeler County were being lost in the mix of cattle from all over North America. Their cattle were being blended into pens that held cattle of lower quality. This beef, in turn, was being sent to the market and restaurants, resulting in unhappy consumers.
Those ranchers decided to do something. They formed a corporation called Painted Hills Premium Beef, Inc. - the groundwork for Painted Hills Natural Beef. The Natural beef name was born out of a desire to better reflect the focus of the organization. The goal of this corporation was to eliminate the inconsistency in its beef product while producing natural* meat of the highest quality. Step by step they reviewed the beef productions process. They formed the concepts that are now the foundation of the Painted Hills Natural Beef program and product lines.
Those seven ranching families became the first board of directors and members of Painted Hills Natural Beef. Over the years, a couple of the faces have changed, but the focus remains the same: high quality beef products. Today our ranchers raise cattle with the same care as their predecessors have done for generations. No added hormones or antibiotics are used while raising our cattle. This makes for healthier animals. If antibiotics are needed, the animal is treated and then sold on the general market. In addition, no animal by-products are used in cattle feed - they are "grain-finished" with a 100% vegetarian diet consisting mainly of barley, corn and alfalfa hay. This is how we raise beef for our own tables; now we share this natural* beef with families across the United States.
Raising beef of this quality takes more: more time, more energy, more care. In order to grow beef that is growth hormone and antibiotic free, producers must make the commitment to keep the animals longer than generic beef. It simply takes longer for the animals to grow to the choice grade level we sell which adds cost. We believe, however, that this cost is far outweighed by the peace of mind the consumer gains.
*Minimally processed and contains no artificial ingredients.
In Wheeler County, we enjoy a quality of life that is rare and precious in the world today. There are 1800 square miles in the county, and fewer people, so the population concentration is over one square mile per person.
Life on the ranch is a unique combination of old ways and new. Horses have been joined by four-wheelers, ledgers replaced by computers, and business is done by fax and email as well as hand shake and over coffee.