JULY 2015

The New Header

"A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business." - Henry Ford

Ranch Foods Direct will be open Saturday, July 4th  
from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Stop in and stock up to insure fireworks of flavor at your evening cookout!


Constant improvement fueled by dedicated employees like Luis Guerra     

Even before the big announcement in May that Ranch Foods Direct would be moving most of its operations to a new home near Platte and Academy, Luis Guerra was busy making changes and improvements to the existing facilities, product inventory and other aspects of the business.
"I'm so excited about the new things that are coming," he said recently.

Luis is probably best known to Ranch Foods Direct customers as the smiling face behind Luis' Burritos, a combination of Callicrate ground beef, potatoes, black beans and cheese, sold in ready-to-heat-and-eat 2-packs for $7. (Look for them in the front freezer case.) They're also served for breakfast at neighboring Colorado Coffee Merchants, 302 E. Fillmore. (Breakfasts there - which feature other Ranch Foods Direct ingredients as well - are served from 6 to 1 p.m. daily and have drawn raves from CS Indy food critic Bryce Crawford, among others.)

Luis fills many roles at Ranch Foods Direct, thanks to his eagerness to learn and willingness to provide leadership where needed.

"I'm glad I opened my mind to learning as many different things as I can," he says. "Too many people only know how to do one thing."

Luis joined Ranch Foods Direct seven years ago after running a taco restaurant. Since then he has helped with many aspects of the business, including most recently the management of plant operations.

Among the changes he has instituted in recent months is a decision to expand the sausage line and bring back the chicken gouda and chicken spinach flavors that have long been popular at Ranch Foods Direct. "A lot of people had been asking for them," he explains.

Other new summer products include marinated California-style tri-tip, beef kabobs and cowboy short ribs. Luis also introduced a new rib-eye steak bundle to the popular bundle line-up.

Luis is nothing but appreciative for the opportunities he has been given since he joined Ranch Foods Direct and says he loves working with an owner who cares about the business and responds promptly to suggestions on how to improve facility design and work flow. "It's a cool thing. I really appreciate being part of this," he says. "Mike's not just telling us what to do or how to do things but he works with us to help find solutions for making things work better."


Making the case for why cows aren't bad for the environment 
Former environmental lawyer turned California cattle rancher Nicolette Hahn Niman says her book DEFENDING BEEF began as a handbook for chefs explaining why beef isn't the environmental culprit it's so often made out to be. At the time, Niman was serving on the board of directors for Chefs Collaborative, a culinary organization that seeks to inspire, educate and celebrate sustainable foods. The lawyerly case she makes was first summarized in a New York Times op-ed, entitled "The Carnivore's Dilemma," and later expanded into a bestseller.

"I've been astonished by the statement that more than half of climate change gases come from cattle. That is just ridiculously false," she said during the Slow Meat symposium in Denver. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, all ruminant animals combined account for less than 2 percent of methane emissions. In her writings, she also points to research showing that only about one-fifth of the food system's energy use is farm-related. The rest goes into processing, transportation, storage, retailing and food preparation. That means in-season foods that are minimally processed, and grown and sold locally, are generally climate-friendly, she says.

Carbon dioxide makes up the majority of agriculture-related greenhouse emissions. On a worldwide basis, most of that results from clearing forests to grow crops or graze livestock. In Brazil, this deforestation is connected to soybean cultivation. Much of that soy production ends up in the tofu and soymilk sold in American supermarkets, an alternative protein source many vegetarians rely on, she notes.

Meat production is unique because it is a way to utilize marginal lands where other food crops can't be cultivated, she explains. Well-managed animal farming minimizes greenhouse gases and benefits the environment, she says. "There's nothing about grazing animals that is intrinsically environmentally damaging. In fact, if you look at the long term history of the globe, you see that huge herds of grazing animals have been essential to the ways our ecosystems function. We should look at cattle that are well managed as a proxy for the disappearing wild animals," such as North American bison or wildebeest on the Serengeti. Research shows that properly timed cattle grazing can increase vegetation by as much as 45 percent. Compared to cropland, perennial pastures used for grazing can decrease soil erosion by 80 percent and markedly improve water quality, she adds.

"I was compelled to write this book by the over-simplication of this particular issue," she explained while at the Slow Meat conference. "I'm leery of the 'eat less meat' message. Most ranchers are living a very marginal existence, and if concerned citizens eat less beef that doesn't do anything to support ranchers who need the support."

Echoing her remarks was Will Harris, a grass-based Georgia rancher and one of the rock stars of the regenerative ag movement. He said his ecologically managed ranch "sinks" far more carbon than it releases into the atmosphere. Ranch Foods Direct owner Mike Callicrate also took every opportunity to drive home the idea that improving environmental sustainability is dependent on bringing back diverse multi-species family farms where animals and plants are grown in rotation and valuable manure remains on the land: "My message is that we have to create a new non-industrial food system that clearly supports family farmers and rebuilds rural communities."  

Exciting new arrivals...  


It's here! Associate Publisher Nanna Meyer, below, holds a copy of a special preview edition of LOCAL FOOD SHIFT magazine, which features an in-depth article about Avondale grower Dan Hobbs and how he helped to launch the first food hub in Southern Colorado. (You can find organic seeds from the Hobbs Family Farm for sale at Ranch Foods Direct.)


Future issues will contain stories from around Colorado about the people and places that are at the center of current food re-localization efforts. For more about it, or to subscribe, go to LocalFoodShift.org.     


In-store favorite MOUNTAIN PIE CO. has added Spicy Southwestern Sausage Rolls to their line-up! Just like with their other flavors, all of the meat they use comes from Ranch Foods Direct. Find them in-store NOW.





Customer Snapshot: Meet Beth Landstrom     

DAY-JOB: Coaches archery. Homeschools.

WHAT ARE YOU BUYING TODAY? A ground beef bundle. It's an easy go-to for me. You know, at the last minute when you need something to make for dinner?

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO MAKE WITH IT? Meatballs. Sometimes I make my own sausage.   

ALSO BUYING: Ciabatta bread. I usually bake myself, but some things are beyond my capabilities. I haven't mastered sourdough yet. I'm a homeschooling mom, so I don't necessarily always have a lot of extra time on my hands. This ciabatta is going to become garlic bread. I know, this is the cheater's starting point, but, hey, it works me!

WHY DO YOU SHOP AT RANCH FOODS DIRECT? I'm one of those crunchy organic people who like to know where their food comes from. The good quality beef is really important to me. We have some food allergies in my family so I have to be careful what I buy. That's why I love coming to a store where I know the food is free of artificial ingredients.

Attention: Now open Saturdays until 6 p.m.
Enjoy our expanded summer hours