by Valerie Vinyard, Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Monday, March 14, 2011 at 4:16PM EDT
SAN RAFAEL VALLEY - While bumping along a rutted dirt road in a Ford F350 pickup on a windy February afternoon, it was easy to imagine a simpler, more pristine life while passing miles of knee- and thigh-high grasses yellowed from winter.
"Sometimes I turn around and look at my horse and I think, 'This could be 1880,' " said Sidney Spencer, a third-generation owner of the Lazy J2 Ranch.
A simpler, more pristine meat is being produced at some Southern Arizona cattle ranches. These ranchers tout the health benefits of their meat and the humane conditions for the animals, saying that both make free-range, grass-fed cattle superior. The cows also are antibiotic and hormone free.
"There's kind of a renaissance of how people eat, beef in particular," said Paul Schwennesen, one of the owners of Double Check Ranch in Winkelman. "It's got a bigger, bolder flavor, a very beefy flavor.
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