Rancher for a Day

July 2, 2014 (Updated August 18, 2015)

Far from the sedate urban boundaries of Portland, James Beard Award-winning Chef Gabriel Rucker pays a call on the beef ranchers at Pickard Ranch near Baker City.

“I’ve never been this far east in Oregon, and I’ve lived here for years, so it is kind of nice to be out here,” he says.


Tall, lanky and always game for adventure, Rucker joins Clair and Patty Pickard for a day of work on the ranch. “These pretty much encourage moseying,” he says, having donned a pair of leather chaps over his jeans and sneakers.

Life out here is about moving the cows, running the herd dogs, feeding the calves and being good stewards of nature. “You have to promise to take care of the land,” Clair Pickard says, which means passing it on to the next generation. “We want it to be as good or better.”

Oregon ranchers are increasingly participating in the growth of the natural beef industry. To meet another Eastern Oregon cattle rancher, read our story on 6 Ranch.

Explore more: Book a room at the historic Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. This elegant hotel is a step back in time in a newly revived yet well preserved downtown. For more Eastern Oregon inspiration, check out our itinerary to plan your Escape to the Wallowa Mountains (one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon).

About The

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.

Featured in this story