This article is part of an ongoing Friday series about the vendors at the Lafayette Farmers Market.
In 1770, Jean Francios de Beaumelle Gonsoulin, a land surveyor for the King of France, registered his brand in St. Martin Parish.
More than 250 years later, Francios’ descendant Shannon Gonsoulin has maintained the namesake with Gonsoulin Land and Cattle Company.
A staple at the Lafayette Farmers Market, the New Iberia-based meat company boasts a long lineage of butchers, meat market operators and, most recently, a grass-fed cattle ranch.
Back to basics: raising cattle as nature intended
In 2005, Gonsoulin, a veterinarian, started hearing about natural and organic products gaining speed. He had cattle at the time and saw the niche market as a way to improve the ranch.
A year later, Gonsoulin Land and Cattle Company was a certified grass-fed meat producer, the only Louisiana company registered with American Grass Fed Association.
“The three things we don’t do is antibiotics, (ranchers) give them antibiotics to promote weight gain, hormones, to promote weight gain, or processed feed,” Gonsoulin said.
With the new title, the ranch could start charging more for its meat. Unlike the feed lot cycle of calves being fed a variety of weight-gaining options and being sold by one year old, the Gonsoulin business keeps cattle for an average of two and a half years.
“You got a year and a half more of costs into that animal because they have to stay here,” he said. “You have…