Ever wonder where the organic beef you just bought came from? If you bought it at a Whole Foods store in this area, the beef started its life as a cow wandering the range of an expansive ranch in Wyoming.
Grass hugs much of the 595,000 acres of hills, valleys, and mountains that make up the Arapaho Ranch in north-central Wyoming. This sustains the thousands of cattle that live on the property, the largest organic, grass-fed cattle ranch in North America, a nearly 70-year-old enterprise on the Wind River Indian Reservation and run by the Northern Arapaho tribe.
The cattle that roam this range have it good. They spend their entire lives beneath the huge skies of these high plains, never doing time at feedlots, muddy corrals into which most cattle are squeezed for months to feed on grain and get fat. Cowboys do not strike them with electric prods to move them around, nor are the horns of males removed. When calves are weaned from their mothers, they are not forced into pens. Hormones? Unlike most cattle, the ones on Arapaho Ranch never receive injections of them. Read more
Remember when school lunch was made up of frozen burgers and pizza squares — and ketchup counted as eating a vegetable?
School Districts in Colorado, including Boulder Valley, are starting to buy local ingredients as part of an effort to make school lunches healthier for kids and kinder on the environment.
In Durango, the local school district, 9-R, just announced plans to buy 5,500 pounds of local beef for the 2009-10 school year.
The school district will spend about $11,550 on locally raised beef this year. The effort began in spring 2008, when 9-R purchased 600 pounds of beef from Fox Fire Farms.
“It was hugely successful, and then we were able to continue that relationship,” said Krista Garand, 9-R director of student nutrition.
The ground beef is used to make tacos, barbecued-beef sandwiches, chili, nachos and other dishes. District 9-R also serves locally grown fruits and vegetables.
“Sometimes kids are eating better at schools than they are at home,” Garand said. “We’re serving organic meals to kids.”