Adam LaRoche might be best known for his 12 seasons in Major League Baseball and his 255 homers, but these days, he’s making an even bigger impact off the field. After retiring from baseball in 2016, he launched E3, a direct-to-consumer meat company using grass-fed beef from his cattle ranch, and created the E3 Ranch Foundation, which supports military veterans and victims of human trafficking.
Although cattle ranching might seem like an odd pivot for a retired baseball player, LaRoche is no stranger to rural life. He grew up about a hundred miles south of Kansas City, and before making it to the big leagues, worked on local cattle ranch and spent his free time hunting and fishing. Despite his big break, the glitz and glamour of the city never appealed to him. Instead of splurging on a coastal mansion, LaRoche returned to his hometown and purchased a 3,200-acre ranch from his wife’s grandfather. Before long, he decided to start raising his own cattle with no antibiotics, hormones, or steroids.
What started as a small operation to feed his family soon transformed into a nationwide business––E3 Meat Company. Flash-frozen to maintain maximum freshness, E3 ships cuts of responsibly raised, grass-fed beef all across the country. Additionally, the ranching operation helps fund the E3 Ranch Foundation, which LaRoche is very involved with.
We recently caught up with the former first baseman to talk about returning to his roots in Kansas, his work with the foundation, and the story of how a baseball scoreboard and a stolen hat gave birth to the E3 brand.
Men’s Journal: After a successful MLB career, you could have gone anywhere but decided to stay in Kansas. What kept you home?
Adam LaRoche: When I was going through high school here, I couldn’t wait to get out and would have sworn that I was never coming back. But when I left and started spending plenty of time in the big cities, I realized the grass isn’t always greener. I started really missing it back in Kansas and realized it’s an awesome place to raise kids, and the hunting and outdoors are great. It just ended up being a no-brainer to stick around here.
What drew you to this particular ranch in Kansas?
It actually goes back to when I was in high school. This was my wife’s grandpa’s property. We started dating when I was a sophomore in high school, and I joke that the reason I asked her out is because her grandpa had some of the best deer hunting ground around, and dating his granddaughter was the only way to get access to it.
Now here we are, 20-something years later, and I still get to hunt on her land. So it’s a win-win––I got an awesome wife and a great property [laughing]. But this was always a cattle ranch, and I think our kids are now the sixth generation to be on the ranch.
When did you decide you wanted to start raising grass-fed cattle?
Before pro ball, I worked at a ranch out here part-time. And I’ve physically injected the growth hormone into the back of the ear of the cattle. So I understood the hormones, steroids, antibiotics, all the stuff that went into these cows, but never thought of any side effects.
Fast-forward and I get into pro ball and slowly start buying property off of my wife’s grandpa. But I started to question where our beef was coming from. I did a quick research project and it didn’t take long to find out that we have no idea. It’s really hard to verify that back to where it came from.
So we looked at our land and decided to buy some cows. We did Black Angus and didn’t use any antibiotics, hormones, or steroids. They were grass-fed, grain-finished and we would just do our own thing. At least that way we knew what we were feeding our family.