Recent in The Viking Life
Niman Ranch: Looking to the Past to Create a Better Future
Good food begins at the farm. Today, food enthusiasts and chefs alike are enjoying the taste of juicy steaks, flavorful pork chops and sweet, succulent lamb, all of which comes from animals raised in America on sustainable family farms using humane practices.
Niman Ranch and its network of U.S. small family farms are leaders in both advocating and producing the meats of yesteryear. The company, the leading purveyor of all-natural meats, began 35 years ago with only a few calves on a small ranch in California. Today, the company boasts having more than 600 sustainable farmers and ranchers in its network. Their meats are branded on the menus of many fine restaurants, found at quality grocers, and are the preferred meats of consumers with discriminating tastes.
Raised for Better Taste
"In conventional farming, hogs, for example, have been bred to be leaner than the hogs in the 1950s. Less fat, means less flavor," explains Paul Willis, hog farmer and founder of the Niman Ranch Pork Company."Most of today’s sows are raised in cages in which they can’t even move or turn around. These systems also produce an inordinate amount of waste in lagoons and have a tremendous environmental impact. Not only is this an inhumane way of raising animals, but also it causes a lot of stress on the animals. The stress results in the meat being less palatable."
"Today, because of industrial farming, the traditional flavor of meat has been lost," says Willis."Niman Ranch pork looks and tastes very different from ’the other white meat’."
Whether its hogs, cattle or sheep, Niman Ranch uses select breeds and raises the animals like farmers did years ago – by allowing them to graze and roam freely on pasture and feeding them all natural, high quality grains.
Supporting U.S. Family Farmers and Ranchers
"We feel it is important to inform consumers about what sustainable farming and "natural" really means," said Jeff Tripician, Executive Vice President at Niman Ranch."At Niman Ranch, we go far beyond the USDA’s requirements of natural. We believe that supporting traditional methods of farming produces the best, most flavorful meats."
A "Porklicious" Thank You Dinner
"Each of us had farmers come up to us individually and thank us not only for the dinner, but for supporting their families," said Trey Foshee, Executive Chef for George’s at the Cove in La Jolla, California and one of the presenting chefs at the 2007 Farmer Appreciation Dinner."One woman came up to me with her young daughter, looked me straight in the eye and very honestly and emotionally told me that if it was not for me and my support of the Niman Ranch program her family would have lost their farm."
"We get so busy in our lives, especially if we don’t live in a rural environment that it’s easy to lose track of where our food comes from, the people who raise it, and the importance of our choices as consumers," says Foshee."With Niman Ranch, it’s about sharing the support of small U.S. farms, of using products without added hormones and antibiotics, and guess what, they taste better, too!"