Double Check Ranch, located in the Lower San Pedro River Valley, believes in responsible agriculture and producing humane, sustainable beef.
Looking for a change, Paul Schwennesen took over the family business from his parents after completing ten years in the United States Air Force. He maintained the philosophy and culture that had sustained the farm for many years.
“We are raising cows how it was done in my grandfather’s era. All cattle were grass-fed back then and no one saw a different way to do it,” Schwennesen said.
One thing that makes Double Check Ranch unique among other similar operations is how they handle product sales and marketing. The conventional model is to raise calves to sell through the cattle market. Instead, Schwennesen and his team hold on to the animals to sell directly in the region.
“We're involved in marketing our product right to the customer," Schwennesen said. "We operate within regular supply and demand parameters, but we are intimately familiar with the market and know several of our customers by their first names.”
Additionally, all of the beef sold by Double Check Ranch is free of any antibiotics and hormones.
“We aren’t radically different in how we raise our cattle, but not using the added chemicals is something that really resonates with our discerning clientele,” Schwennesen said.
Double Check's most popular farmers market item is ground beef. Schwennesen finds it to be the most economical way to purchase organic and local meat. It's also easy to prepare and versatile.
“For a lot of people that want to buy organic and local, they are willing to pay that price but cannot buy the most expensive cuts all the time," Schwennesen said. "They find the best ways to make the most of their organic buck.”
Because of Double Check's popularity, Schwennesen and his team are not able to raise all of the beef that is taken to the market. They partner with neighboring ranches to ensure demand is met. And those core values of Double Check Ranch are maintained by everyone they work with.
“We make sure that everyone is on the same page and all of our standards are being upheld,” Schwennesen said.
Attending several farmers markets around the state, Double Check Ranch has a strong presence, a love for the market, and appreciation for the community and energy surrounding them.
Double Check Ranch can be found on Thursdays at the Santa Cruz River Farmers Market, on Saturdays at the Oro Valley Farmers Market and Sundays at both the Rillito and St. Philip’s Plaza markets. To find out which restaurants and stores carry Double Check Ranch beef, click here. For more information, visit doublecheckranch.com.