In the lead up to Labor Day - the last big grilling event of the summer - our Whole Foods Market meat teams are pulling out all the stops to introduce you to our grass-fed beef rancher partners.
You may not realize that most grass-fed ranchers are either independent (selling beef from their own property) or they join small, locally focused producer groups. We've sought out partnerships with a variety of regional and local grass-fed ranchers, including many family farms, with the goal of helping bring grass-fed ranching back into the mainstream because of its positive impact on the cattle, the environment and how it supports local communities.
Here are the highlights on a few of our rancher partners. Come back to the Whole Story blog later this week to read about more of our partners and to hear about something special that I can't talk about until later this week. Shhh...
Rain Crow Ranch
Eighteen years ago veterinarian Patricia Whisnant began raising grass-fed beef on their farm for personal consumption. Today, Rain Crow Ranch includes four ranches in the Southern-Missouri area that raise ten thousand head of Black Angus cattle. All cattle are 100% grass-fed and free-roaming. Dr. Whisnant is passionate about the grass-fed agricultural model, which she says is "better for the animals, better for the consumer, better for the land, and better for the family farms." Her husband and six children are all involved in the family business. The Whisnants are recipients of Whole Foods Market's Local Producer Loan Program, which is allowing them to bring more grass-fed beef to market.
Grass-fed beef from Rain Crow Ranch is available in our stores in central Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Lasater Grassland Beef
With two large ranches, Dale Lasater raises his Beefmaster herd on an all-grass diet. The Beefmaster is a specialized breed of cattle developed by Dale's father, Tom, in 1954. Tom Lasater's life work embodied a new ranching philosophy, one that embraced nature as a partner rather than a force to be overcome. These twelve hundred-plus head of Beefmaster are allowed to roam freely on the Lasater Ranch, which for more than half a century has been a wildlife sanctuary and has won several awards for wildlife preservation.
Grass-fed beef from Lasater Grassland Beef is available in our stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.
Clint Victorine has dedicated his entire career to raising high-quality beef with animal welfare prominently in focus. His cattle are raised on the clover and rye grass pastures of the beautiful Eel River Valley in Humboldt County, Northern California, where the average temperature is 54 degrees. Eel River encompasses 12 ranches where four thousand head of predominately-Angus cattle freely roam and graze on certified organic pastures.
Organic grass-fed beef from Eel River is available in our Southern California, Arizona and Southern Nevada stores.
Want to know where the grass-fed beef in your local Whole Foods Market comes from? Just check our Grass-fed Rancher Partners page. And don't forget to pick up some grass-fed beef in our stores to give it a try yourself! We've got recipes and cooking tips along with the whole scoop on the benefits of grass-fed on our Grass-fed Beef page.