For more than 100 years, the Kelleher family has raised cattle just north of Shelby, Montana. Brian Kelleher and Heather Thompson, along with their family, Patrick, Scott, David, Katie and Charles Kelleher, business partner Aaron Alme, as well as Connie and Terry Alme, continue the family’s ranching tradition. Today, the Kelleher family business raises over 100 pairs of primarily Angus cattle. In 2019, after Heather completed the Nutritional Therapy Association program and learned of the health benefits of grassfed beef, she and Brian decided to keep their calves back and finish them on grass with the goal of direct marketing the beef themselves. Soon after, the brand, “A Mindful Kitchen” was launched in Billings, MT as a nutritionally focused business, committed to producing the highest quality grassfed beef and raising awareness about the health benefits for consumers.
“My family has always raised grassfed beef cattle,” explains Brian. “We are simply hanging onto the calves now and planning to direct market our beef. The land is also left very much unchanged after all these years, allowing us to raise cattle on the same land as my great-grandfather.”
“This is important because it means our cows eat only natural grasses for their entire lives and are out on Montana pasture year-round. When cows roam freely and are allowed to eat their natural diet of grasses, they are healthier, happier and the nutrient content of their beef is far superior to conventionally raised grain-fed cows,” Heather explains. “We raise our cattle with their welfare in mind so they are happy and healthy for their entire life span.”
A Mindful Kitchen applied to have their beef Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) because animal welfare and environmental management is absolutely central to their business. “Conservation of grass resources, managing our land responsibly and remaining sustainable is incredibly important to our family’s operation,” Brian says. “We chose Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW because we agree with its standards and program requirements and they reflect the practices that have always been our priority.”
Attaining Certified Grassfed by AGW status was important to A Mindful Kitchen because they wanted their products to have a third-party verification for their practices. Certified Grassfed by AGW is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pastures or range for their entire lives, and are managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent farm.
In addition to their Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW and Certified Grassfed by AGW certifications, A Mindful Kitchen decided to take their commitment to sustainable farming practices one step further by also becoming Certified Non-GMO by AGW. They are the first farming business in Montana to achieve the certification, which is the only certification and logo in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees a food product is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, and comes from animals managed according to the Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW leading welfare and environmental standards on an independent farm.
Currently, A Mindful Kitchen is working to expand their markets and increase the number of customers they supply with high-quality grassfed beef. The couple anticipates that their AGW certifications, with the emphasis on high-welfare, pasture-based production, will attract new customers. “We wanted to work with AGW to promote the farming practices that were already in place at the ranch, rather than just making the claims without a third-party to back it up. We truly believe in the importance of accurate labeling and feel the AGW food labels are straightforward and honest.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW and Certified Non-GMO by AGW beef from A Mindful Kitchen is available direct from the farm, through the online store or by contacting Heather to arrange an order. A Mindful Kitchen beef is also available for delivery in the Billings, MT area, for pick up from the Billings West End location near the intersection of Rehberg and Stinson Ave, and at the recently opened kiosk at the Rimrock Mall in Billings. Rimrock shoppers can purchase A Mindful Kitchen’s beef at the Center Court on Thursday and Friday evenings from 4-7, and Saturday and Sundays from noon-6. For more information visit amindfulkitchenmt.com or contact Heather Thompson at 406-272-2188 and firstname.lastname@example.org.