This is an excerpt from our Spring Newsletter, written by Joe:

Jack an Joe grilling up some grassfed burgers

Jack and Joe grilling up some grassfed burgers

The rains have finally come, and everything is a beautiful green.  What a blessing!  We still haven’t heard the mating calls of the frogs in the ponds on the ranch, though, so it is still pretty droughty, but the grass is growing well.  Drought is not a pleasant thing, but it seems to make more sense to be grateful for the rain we do have rather than bemoaning whatever we might not have.  I recently was told that “Attitude is the only thing we can actually control.”  Makes sense to me.


Our new ordering process is going very well.  The orders are arriving fast and furious, and yet the processing of them is not overwhelming.  Thank you, all of you who have ordered already.  It makes life a lot easier, if we can fill in our planning sheets earlier rather than later.  Please get your orders in, if you haven’t done so already, for we would hate to have you miss out.  You may either go to our website order form or just click here .


I was reading the e-newsletter from the San Francisco Ferry Plaza market, and found something I thought warranted a comment.  The idea of eating less meat to save the earth seems to crop up weekly at least, and kind of sounds like it might make sense, for it is bandied about by some authoritative voices, but it doesn’t.  This is what I read:


“Mark Bittman wants you to eat less meat. In his typically disarming way, The Minimalist as he’s referred to in his New York Times column, as well as online, where he writes a blog and appears in short cooking videos will dish it to you straight.


His new book, Food Matters expands on his idea that “if you buy your own food and cook your own food, you tend to put much better things in your mouth than if you don’t.” Thanks in part to a realization he had after reading the UN report called Livestock’s Long Shadow, and to his decision to tackle some of his own health issues head on, The Minimalist is now advocating an even larger shift.”


Many of Mr. Bittman’s observations on food make sense, but his arguments about the ecological soundness of meat do not.  Let’s take a look at the assumptions behind the UN report he cites, that livestock production imperils the health of the earth.  The premise that livestock production is responsible for so many greenhouse gasses is totally dependent upon the belief that beef animals require confinement and grain feeding.  It further assumes that the land that cattle are raised on could be used for production, in a sustainable way, of vegetables or grains that people could eat directly. These premises are not true, even in any remote sense.  Therefore, the rest of the argument is not worth much.


The carbon footprint of the meat you eat is directly related to whether the animals from which it comes harvested the plants they ate; whether or not the plants they ate grew upon soils that were fertilized by their dung and urine; and whether or not the grazing and animal impact of the cows occurred in a way that added carbon and nitrogen to the soil and nourished other members of the rangeland community.  Furthermore, beef animals should be raised, and mostly are, either on lands that are not suitable for the production of other human foods or in a way that replenishes the fertility of the soils used to produce these other foods.  Neither Mr. Bittman’s nor the UN’s argument recognize these essential differences, and, therefore, their advice is actually counter-productive. 


It is very difficult for a vegan diet to be sustainable, for the production process of such a diet excludes the use of animals in the mix of crops that a sustainable farm needs.  Beef animals and other ruminants can digest much of the residue from the other crops grown on the farm, and as they do so they will happily provide labor for the farm, protein and energy for the farmer and fertility for the soils. 


Mr. Pollan’s advice is wiser: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”   But strive to know the source—both place and process–of all of it.  If you are eating Morris Grassfed beef, you are actually reducing your carbon footprint and enhancing your health and pleasure with every delicious bite.  Now that’s a pretty picture!

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