About Niman RanchNiman Ranch is a community of over 700 small, independent U.S. family farmers committed to raising livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably to deliver the finest tasting meat.
Connect with Niman Ranch
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Category Archives: Niman Ranch
As the U.S. family farm disappears, we are proud of our young Niman Ranch farmers. They are committed to raising hogs sustainably and humanely while continuing the traditional farming practices handed down by their parents and grandparents. Meet Adair, a young farmer following the family tradition.
We have to brag. This month, Niman Ranch executive chef and owner of Culinary Craft Andrew Hunter will begin shooting the premiere season of a new reality TV show, Supermarket Superstar, coming soon on Lifetime Network. Supermarket Superstar is a reality competition series from the creators of Project Runway and Undercover Boss that searches America for today’s homegrown recipes that could become tomorrow’s bestselling supermarket brands.
In each episode, competitors face off in the Superstar Kitchen to see if their recipe has what it takes. The winner of each week’s challenge receives an investment in their product and the chance to compete in the Season Finale, where one grand prize winner will have their product introduced to millions of customers nationwide on the shelves of a major grocery store.
Supermarket Superstar is the first show of its kind to feature R&D and the product commercialization process for retail food products. The format features consumer cooks as contestants who have a family recipe or product that should be in supermarkets.
As the R&D mentor, Andrew is coaching the contestants on-camera through the development process. The host is Stacy Keibler and the Superstar Panel of Experts includes Michael Chiarello, Chris Cornyn and Debbi Fields.
At the start of the New Year, we enjoy looking back over the past year and reflecting on what we accomplished. Here are some of our Niman Ranch highlights from 2012:
Reached a Milestone- over 700 small U.S. family farmers!
Our community of small, independently owned U.S. family farmers has surpassed 700 farms. Over the past five years the number of farmers raising livestock humanely and sustainably for Niman Ranch has grown from 400 to over 700. We are proud to work with farmers and ranchers committed to raising livestock to our strict sustainable and humane animal treatment protocols developed under the direction of animal handling expert and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
We launched ready-to-eat natural beef entrees to meet consumers demand for artisan-quality meals which they can make at home quickly and easily while feeling confident of the product they are serving to their family. The Pot Roast, Beef Tips and Meatloaf are made from beef raised with NO antibiotics or hormones- EVER, without preservatives or artificial ingredients. Featured in the November edition of Every Day with Rachael Ray.
As the U.S. family farm disappears, we are proud of our young Niman Ranch farmers. They are committed to raising hogs sustainably and humanely while continuing the traditional farming practices handed down by their parents and grandparents. Meet Hayden Hedge, a young farmer following the family tradition. He is from Iowa and past recipient of the Next Generation Scholarship.
The Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner provides an opportunity for our featured chefs and special guests to gain a deeper understanding of what traditional, sustainable and humane family farming looks like by visiting us here at Willis Farms in Thornton, Iowa.
Every year we provide a farm tour and this year it was more special for me than ever before as I worked side-by-side with my daughter, Sophia, many good friends and family members including some extra help from a crew of friends from out-of -town. Pete Marczyk and his entourage from Marczyk Fine Foods who had traveled all the way from Denver, Colorado, to help us prepare the outdoor dinner.
It can get a bit frantic planning a farm tour and preparing an outdoor dinner and hayride for over 100 people, but with awesome friends and family pitching in to get the job done- whether it’s picking wild prairie flowers or sweeping out the shed – it’s less work and more fun when we do it together
There are many reasons why Niman Ranch meat is better than the rest- how we raise our animals is one of them. How our animals are raised directly impacts the quality and taste of Niman Ranch meat.
The chefs that serve Niman Ranch meats often like to see where and how the animal is raised. Bringing chefs to the farms and ranches to meet the farmers in person gives them the opportunity to see first hand how humane animal care and sustainable farming practices impact the meat that ends up their menus. Several times a year, we are able to make that happen.
A few weeks ago a small group visited the Willis Ranch in Laketown Utah, to see how Niman Ranch lamb is raised. We began the tour at the Willis’ fall grazing ground located in the small corner between Utah’s Bear Lake and the Idaho and Wyoming borders. Here we learned about the work Clark Willis spearheaded on rangeland restoration. His work opened up the grazing land, which positively impacted the endangered Sage Grouse by providing an optimum habitat for breeding.
This year’s 14th annual Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner was a unique farm-to-table event which celebrated the hard work and independent spirit of the farmers who supply humanely and sustainably raised pork for Niman Ranch.
Six chefs, who are committed to honoring these farmers in their kitchens and restaurants around the country, and abroad, cooked a six-course meal to celebrate the farmers. The attendance at the Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner has grown tremendously the first year we had fewer than100 guests and this year’s event sold out at 400 guests.
The featured chefs were selected because they have shown true leadership in their communities by raising awareness that great food starts at the farm. Each chef has shown their commitment to excellent food and their support of traditional, humane and sustainable farming practices employed by Niman Ranch farmers and others in their community. The 2012 Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner featured chefs were:
Paul Willis, Niman Ranch Pork Company founder and manager, was honored at the 2012 Chefs Collaborate Summit with the Pathfinder Sustainability Award. The award recognizes a visionary working in the greater food community who has been a catalyst for positive change within the food system through efforts that go beyond the kitchen.
Willis, fourth generation hog farmer, was raising free-range hogs the way his family had for generations. He knew raising pigs traditionally resulted in higher quality and tastier pork but did not know how to get the pigs to market. In 1995, he was introduced to Niman Ranch and shipped 30 pigs to the Bay Area. A number of chefs in San Francisco tasted the pork and were impressed with the quality. With this chef interest, Willis realized there was a market for hogs raised using traditional farming methods and hoped this need would help revitalize sustainable hog farming methods in the Midwest.
In 1996, Willis started building a community of family hog farmers to raise hogs traditionally and humanely for Niman Ranch. Today, the network has grown to over 500 farmers raising hogs to the strictest protocols in the industry:
• Raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens
• Never given antibiotics or hormones-ever
• No gestation crates or farrowing crates- ever
Niman Ranch celebrated its more than 550 U.S. family hog farmers and awarded 18 Next Generation Scholarships last weekend in Des Moines, Iowa, at its 14th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner. Niman Ranch established the Next Generation Scholarship Fund in 2006 to preserve the integrity of U.S. family farms by supporting the children of rural communities who wish to attend college and pursue an education focusing on sustainable or environmental practices and who intend to return to the family farm upon graduation.
The Next Generation Scholarship Fund receives a substantial contribution from Chipotle Mexican Grill and additional contributions from Whole Foods Market and many members of Niman Ranch’s distributor network including: Boggeri Sales, Buedel Food Products, DeBragga & Spitler, E & B Natural Way, Old Town Foods, Premier Meat Co., Tri-City Meats and Wasatch Meats. Since 2006 more than $140,000 in scholarships has been awarded to 74 students. This year, Niman Ranch provided 18 deserving students scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each.
As the U.S. family farm disappears, we are proud of our young Niman Ranch farmers. They are committed to raising hogs sustainably and humanely while continuing the traditional farming practices handed down by their parents and grandparents. Meet Mitchell Meinke, a young farmer following the family tradition. He is from Iowa and past recipient of the Next Generation Scholarship.