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Featured in Stockman Grass Farmer magazine!!

Updated: 3 days ago

I'm so honored to be profiled in the Stockman Grass Farmer! The Stockman Grass Farmer is the grazing publication of North America. Since 1947 it brings its readers the latest information on high profit grassland ideas from all over the world

Hawaiian Rancher Found Her “Dream Come True”

By Becky Gillette

Kaua'i, Hawaii: Sharleen Andrade Balmores grew up in a family in Kauai, Hawaii, that has been raising grassfed cattle on the same land since 1886.

She sells gourmet cuts of beef from the family's Andrade Cattle Company under her company name The Rancher's Daughter's Reserve.

Earlier in her life, she had no intention of becoming a rancher. She expected that her older brothers or male cousins would take over. But Sharleen has found great satisfaction in becoming a sixth-generation rancher in the family business that includes a USDA-inspected slaugherhouse and Sharleen's brainchild, Minnie's Mercantile modern trading post, that sells grassfed beef and other products from from the ranch like: Old fashions soaps, Lotions, Body balms, Candles. All made with tallow that she harvested and rendered herself.

"I feel I have finally found my purpose, "Sharleen said. "It has brought me closer to my dad, which is really neat. I was inspired by my family history that goes back into the late 1800s. They were such hardworking people. I believe what our ancestors left us is a gift, not only to our family, but to the Kauai community. These values have been imparted in us and we are looking to further these goals."

It's been said, "To whom much is given much is expected." Sharleen said her family has had the benefit of their inheritance, and strongly believes that that benefit comes along with the responsibility to be curators of this privilege for those who succeed them.

"We are the heirs of those pioneers and are now the caretakers of the culture they created, and resources the strived to develop for the benefit of the entire community." Sharleen said. "It has been a dream come true to continue my family's legacy of ranching, preserving a culture, and hopefully inspiring the next generation to carry on."

When she and her husband were about to have their first child, she became more and more curious about their food and where it came from. She was particularly interested in beef and started to have long conversations with her dad about the changing cattle industry there in the islands.

"It just never made sense to me that we ship out more than 90 percent of our beef cattle for feed-lotting, finish them on grain, and then ship back the beef to our island markets." Sharleen said in a blog she writes about the ranch.

“Although about 40,000 head of cattle are born here every year, consumers may be shocked to learn that only 10 percent are actually raised in Hawaii. Frustrated with the changing times, I decided to use the resources I was blessed with to do my part and continue my family’s long tradition to make available fresh local beef.”

Sharleen’s advice to budding grass farmers is to spend as much time as you can with the older generation of farmers and ranchers or anyone you admire.

Raising cattle the old-fashioned way is not popular nor the trend anymore, Sharleen knew in her heart there were people out there like her who value quality and were seeking something better.

“Being an actual rancher’s daughter, I know where the best beef is,” she said. “I know where and when the animal was born, how it was raised, harvested, processed, and distributed.”

Because Kauai is one of the wettest spots on earth, they are blessed with abundant rain that makes for good grass grazing. Throughout the year they have different rain-fall patterns. The cattle are moved accordingly to different pastures on the island. During the summer their South side pastures get dry, so they move the cattle to the Northeast side.

One of her favorite things about the work she does is working with her dad. “I’ve always been super close to my dad,” she said. “But it wasn’t until I started working the ranch with him that I got to actually have something in common with him. It’s not just the normal, ‘I love you so much because you’re my dad stuff.’ We actually like hanging out together talking about cows, sharing ideas, solving problems and sharing the wins. I’m grateful I got to know this side of him and have him as the best mentor and teacher.”

Sharleen’s advice to budding grass farmers is to spend as much time as you can with the older generation of farmers and ranchers or anyone you admire.

“Multigenerational ranchers are one of our greatest resources and they are often undervalued,” she said. “And trust yourself. You con-tain more wisdom than you believe, and you are capable of figuring out how to solve the problems that come your way. And pray. I have also realized the hard way that in order to have a successful business, I needed to learn and experience all aspects of it for myself.”

She enjoys marketing and has fun using it with Instagram and Facebook. She is also learning more about email marketing, public relations, industry events and more. Her customers are often looking for local supplies.

“They educate themselves about the health benefits of grassfed beef and are relieved when they find you,” Sharleen said. “I love meeting people from everywhere and listening to their stories. One of the most unexpected things was how much I would enjoy meeting people. I have made so many new connections with people in the community and people visiting. I makes me smile when I meet customers that say, "My dad used to buy meat from your dad, or your grandpa used to bring us meat or catch our cows." This business is very difficult, and when you meet people who appreciate your efforts and you see you’re making a difference, its fuel to your fire.”

There are special challenges in Hawaii to keeping a ranch going when property values are so high. Sharleen thinks most people understand the cost of living there, and that prices must be set accordingly in order for them to stay in business not just to pay their bills, but provide for the community. Every year they donate meat to numerous youth sports, rodeo, private families trying to raise money to pay medical bills, the food bank, etc. They can’t do that if they are not making money.

Their USDA-inspected slaughterhouse, the oldest on the island, is for their use and for the community. About 90 percent of their business is providing slaughtering services to other local ranchers who supply the island with beef.

“The slaughterhouse is a blessing to the community,” Sharleen said. “With it we can continue to be self-sustaining on the island and not have to depend on mainland imports. My mission is to make available fresh, clean, healthy beef that comes straight from cattlemen who really care about their animals. I was raised on good values, to give thanks, and to respect these animals because they are our food. Our unique artisan method of curing the beef is a family tradition passed down for six generations and is considered a lost art.”

Sharleen has found one of the most important things to do is make sure you have a good rotational grazing system. Earlier their pastures were full of Buffalo and Pangola grass. But, over time, most of the native grasses are disappearing and invasive grasses like Guinea are taking over.

They prefer Red Angus and Hereford for their size and temperament. They finish well on their pastures and make great mothers. Right now, they have Red Angus bulls, but are hoping to add a purebred Hereford bull to the mix. They calve all year.

Equipment she could not live without includes their tractor with a mower and a Leatherman pocketknife.

Minnie’s Mercantile was something she had dreamed about for a long time. She refers to it as her “happy place”, and it has proven to be an effective way to promote and sell their products directly to the community. “Also, after five generations of men running the ranch before me, I get to add a feminine touch,” she said.

For more information, she can be contacted at or found on Instagram at RanchersDaughtersReserve. Uh

The website is Becky Gillette is a staff writer in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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