Hi! We are Josh, Erica and Henry Ciardullo, passionate ranchers who care deeply about animals, the environment, our community and the food we eat. We’re guessing that’s what brought you here too. Welcome!
Six years ago Josh, with his adventurous spirit, convinced me, Erica the school teacher, to put on my cowgirl boots and move from Denver to the town of Wellington—Colorado’s beautiful northern gateway. It’s here, on this land, the three of us found our roots. Together, we built 33-acres of land into Ciardullo Ranch—a grass-fed, pasture-raised sustainable and regenerative, Black Angus operation, complete with chickens, sheep and livestock dogs Marv, Mosey and Osmond. Recently we expanded our stewardship into a 500-acre paradise named Sylvan Dale Ranch a few miles south of Ciardullo Ranch.
More than simply ranching, we strive to be stewards of the land God gave us. Beyond the minimum of raising our angus humanely and on grass-pastures, our goal is to raise our animals as if it were 10,000 years ago—instead of working against nature, we strive to mimic what would take place in our absence. We aren't trying to keep up with the swings of the cattle market and stress over the buy-low-sell-high mentality. We want our animals to breed and calve in sync with their large herbivore neighbors, like the elk and deer that roam free in our backyard, the Rocky Mountains.
Josh retired as a firefighter of 20 years due to an injury. Although a difficult trial, he’s found healing working on the ranch. When we first moved onto our property, I looked around and wondered what we’d do with these 33 acres—Josh simply looked at me and told me we’d figure it out.
We never intended to raise cattle, but before we knew it, we had fallen in love with the animals, land and the process of raising grass-fed beef. Before we dove into raising cattle, Josh was asked to take care of a neighbor's herd. One would have thought Josh had worked with the animals his entire life. They quickly responded to him (and hay of course). Soon we decided to begin raising cattle and purchased three Black Angus steers. After our first harvest everyone who tried our beef decided to double their order the next round and we knew we were on to something!
Josh, with our son Henry alongside him, willing to try anything new, jumped right into ranching and together they found their niche. I frequently tell Josh he was made for this. Eager to learn, Josh picked up books from Joel Salatin, Greg Judy and Julius Ruechel and read, read, read. He immediately began sharing his excitement with me and Henry by reading aloud The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs and anything else to entice us. A quick learner, Josh was becoming a self-taught rancher overnight. He took the information and began teaching Henry and I.
Henry has become Josh’s right-hand man. One of their first projects together was building our fence. The two of them dug every hole, pounded every post and stretched every line, together. On this land is where our son is learning to become an honest, hard-working young man. His help has become so essential that Josh and I decided to put him on the payroll—and with his first paycheck he purchased his first lamb!
Personally, I love my animals and keep a close eye on them. Because of my motherly instincts, I’m usually the first to notice if any of them needs extra attention. Outside on this ranch is where our family of three bonds, rotating and sometimes chasing cattle, building structures, irrigating, digging trenches, filling up water tanks and going on cattle drives. It’s hard work, but we love every bit of it.
We recognize the land does not belong to us—it belongs to God and he has instructed us to take care of his land and animals. So with God as our real landLORD, we strive to please him by tending to His land and animals with the utmost respect. We love His animals. We love His land. It’s evident in how we treat the animals. We always have green pastures, fresh, cold water, lots of room for the animals and lots of love.
When walking the pastures, I often stop and sometimes even sit in the tall grass to watch the animals eat and drink. I love listening to them tear long pieces of grass to eat, slurp cold water from stock tanks, chew on their cud and relax in the tall, cool grass. I am simply grateful to participate in it all.
At Ciardullo Ranch, we hope you’ll leave not only well-fed, but inspired. It means we did our job right.