Land & Natural Resources
Since Maryanne and Herman purchased the ranch more than thirty years ago, horticulture has played an important role in their development and enhancement of the B Bar. From their earliest days through 2014 they operated an onsite organic heirloom vegetable garden which initially provided food for their family table and later expanded to serve guest groups as well.
The plant varieties and growing methods they chose reflected not only the challenges of the high-mountain environment, but also their interest in preserving heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of vegetables, and in the sustainability of the soil through biointensive and biodynamic practices, appropriate crop rotation, companion planting, composting, and other organic methods.
With compost as our primary source of soil fertilization, we utilized the multitude of materials available here including grass clippings, leaves, weeds, old straw and hay, garden and landscape trimmings, livestock manure, and kitchen-generated waste to create rich organic material.
By 2014 many changes were afoot at the ranch and in the organic world which led us to reconsider our approach. With an expanded and ever earlier guest season and a much stronger community of local/organic growers and distributors, we opted to place the majority of our food orders with Bozeman-based Quality Foods Distributing (QFD). This company partners with hundreds of local producers in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and surrounding areas. A key to boosting local economies has been QFD’s relationship with the Western Sustainability Exchange (WSE) in nearby Livingston, Montana. WSE is committed to connecting producers with food purchasers to stimulate sustainable and healthy food systems and strengthen rural communities. The impacts that related purchases have had on these small businesses are significant and help stimulate local market access to high-quality and environmentally preferable products. As of 2017 QFD also distributes most of our B Bar beef.
While we no longer maintain a production garden and greenhouse, we continue to address soil health through monitoring range health, soil testing and the application of compost and compost teas.