Meet the Fitches

Who would’ve thought that a former vegetarian would one day open butcher shops and restaurants, own a meat processing plant, and raise beef cattle with her family? It’s doubtful Deborah Fitch expected her future to look just like that.

“To this day, I have no good reason or explanation why I was a vegetarian,” she laughed.

Even with her husband, Cameron, and three children eating meat, it wasn’t until Deborah’s son Jonah teased her for her lack of cooking skills that Deborah decided to take cooking classes. From there, the door was opened.

“Day one, we were in the class making beef stock, chicken stock and soups, and the chef asked me what I thought of it. I responded, ‘I don’t know; I am a vegetarian.’ And she scolded me saying, ‘You can’t be in this class if you can’t taste your own food!’ So, I tasted it, and I have not looked back,” Deborah said of her reintroduction to eating meat.

It was those same six weeks of cooking classes that inspired her to open her own restaurant. Years later, in 2018, Deborah opened a restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado, renting the building site-unseen. Her husband was the lead in design and construction, enlisting their son and his fraternity brothers as construction workers, kitchen crew, and wait staff. Their first season they were awarded Best of Grand Burger that year and each year afterwards.

The Fitches own and operate a ranch, two restaurants (where they serve their own beef), two butcher shops, and a USDA meat processing plant.

Cameron and Deborah, with the help of their son Jonah, own and operate Fitch Ranch Artisan Meat Co., a USDA-inspected and Certified Angus Beef licensed meat processing facility located on the Western Slope of Colorado. In addition, their ranch, Fitch Ranch, began as a small farm in 2011, with some vegetables, cattle and sheep and is now a full-fledged Angus operation.

Purchased in 2022, the Fitch Ranch Artisan Meat Co. was primarily used for local game and custom processing and packaging before the Fitches took ownership. Now, their focus is mainly processing cattle but also hogs, lamb and game animals, too. As a USDA-inspected facility, they provide a key service to many of the ranchers in their community and offer many value-added, high-quality products to help ranchers increase what they can offer.

Cameron’s grandfather raised cattle in Kansas, and Cameron always loved working with the land and animals. As Cameron and Deborah navigated ownership of their own herd, Fitch Ranch, they realized they wanted to support the continuity of agriculture by helping livestock producers in their area and offering a valuable product to the restaurant clientele of Colorado’s mountain towns.

“The processing plant happened quite by accident. We had been taking our beef to this plant for years, and one day the owner just told us he wanted to retire and that we needed to buy it from him. We responded by telling him he was doing a fine job and no thank you! We joke that he must’ve gotten us at a weak moment because before we knew it, we had this processing plant. We drank from the firehose of knowledge for the first six months, but we realized there was a real need for locally sourced meat around us,” Deborah said.

Steadily, the Fitches have been upgrading equipment at the facility. They have made it possible for producers to bring full truckloads of cattle at a time, rather than small groups, by adding Temple Grandin’s designs to their chutes and pens, therefore, making it more feasible for ranchers.

In addition to being a partner with other ranchers, the Fitches strive to meet the needs of their consumers and their restaurants. By communicating the sustainability of cattle production to their customers, they give them confidence to buy a product that is good for the land and good for their clients.

“Restaurants and end users are interested in our story right now and hearing that Fitch Ranch Artisan Meat Co. is working with like-minded ranchers. They become a little closer to their food this way,” she added.

Fitch Ranch implements rotational grazing using virtual fencing and GPS collars. Cameron and his father use satellite data to review the amount of chlorophyll in the grass, and this data guides their decisions to move cattle from pasture to pasture to give the grass the best opportunity to rest and recover. Their efforts to increase the longevity of their land and wildlife are all part of the message they share with customers.

Deborah and her family are committed to making the beef industry a positive partner for restaurants and consumers and increasing the value of beef products through Fitch Ranch Artisan Meat Co. Check out to learn more about their story and their 30-30-30-10 quality philosophy.