Mike Crawford, founder and president of the advertising agency/public relations firm M/C/C in Dallas, has a passion for Texas Longhorn cattle. A Kansas City native and self-proclaimed “city slicker,” Crawford purchased 1,312 acres of land in Zephyr, Texas—that’s about 50 miles southwest of Stephenville—in 1994, after visiting and discovering a love for the mesquite- and prickly pear-peppered terrain. But it wasn’t until 1997 that he bought his first pair of Longhorns as a gift for his wife.
Flash-forward a decade, and the herd had grown to 250—each of which Crawford has named and registered. In the years since, Crawford’s ranching hobby has become a full-fledged enterprise. From the Zephyr spread, which Crawford named Red Peak Ranch, he raises and sells his free-roaming, grass-fed Longhorns—heifers, cows, calves, and bulls—via various websites he’s established. “I’ve sold them to people all over the United States—everywhere from New York to California and all parts in between,” Crawford says. “We’re trying to make sure that we can maintain the supply so the demand doesn’t get out of control.” And, he doesn’t just sell live Longhorns. About four years ago, Crawford began processing steers and bull calves for meat, too.
Their intimidating horns aside, Longhorns are intelligent and friendly animals that make great “pasture art,” Crawford says. But it’s the health benefits of their lean meat that keep his cattle business booming. In fact, according to research Crawford conducted with an independent meat-testing lab in Wisconsin, his Longhorn meat has more vitamin B6 than 6.5 cups of spinach, as well as less fat, cholesterol, and calories than almost any other meat or poultry. Crawford markets and sells the meat under the Chisholm Trail brand to retail outlets and restaurants nationwide. Among them are 15 locations in North Texas, including Dallas’ Sundown at Granada on Greenville Avenue, where Chisholm Trail beef is used exclusively in the burger offerings.