Niman Ranch currently sells and assists in the distribution for a collection of 676 Farms throughout the country. They started as a beef producer in the 70’s but have since grown into a center for small family farms to sell their products under the Niman Ranch brand.
I commend Niman Ranch for a wonderful website where they truly try to get you to understand their vision of food, as well as offering a collection of videos depicting interviews and actual conditions of poultry, review from restaurants who use their products, … Check out their youtube page as well, they have a collection of ~30 videos posted. The poultry video – located on their website here – is especially good to watch as he takes you through the egg process. It is common knowledge that hens are social, but I never realized just how social they actually are. The video depicts two floors connected to each other that the hens can freely move between. One is the scratching floor which had maybe one hen per 10sqr feet of space, and the floor above which was packed full of hens at about 1 hen per ~2 sqr feet. Not horribly packed as it was a voluntary social gathering rather than a caged 6 sqr inches of space per chicken. But it is immediately impressive that hens prefer that kind of social ‘network’ versus the open spaces below. Either way, we still prefer pastured eggs when we can get them. Quality cageless hens however are a step in the right direction and they are easier able to maximize utilizable space as opposed to pastured hens and thus easier to get on large grocery stores shelves which require high volume.
Niman Ranch isn’t just a producer of high quality meat and eggs however, as a brand that farms throughout the country can sell under, they have their own, high quality standards which include natural behaviors for meat, often pasture raised lamb/beef/pork, all vegetarian feed, no antibiotics, and all the things we at NW Farm Review really appreciate in our food. A separate post is required for their standards and will be posted soon.
Also, back to the earlier mention of their videos. I think this is a novel approach to farming that more farms and farm review sites like NWFarm Review need to take heed of. The Food Revolution won’t be televised but it will be filmed and youtubed. Take a look at this pork video for instance, for some, seeing such cute pigs running around in a natural environment makes them not want to eat pork. Speaking for myself, it makes me want to eat more high quality pork. Only through yours and my purchases of quality products do we shift the market towards sustainability and healthy living for the animals we care about.
There have been some criticisms about Niman Ranch since their merger in 2009 with Natural Food Holdings. Details of that merger and some criticisms can be read here.
- Cage Free, Brown Eggs
- Beef Specific
- May be Organic, Practicing Organic (Farm Dependent)
- Pasture Raised, Grain Finished Beef
- Vegetarian Feed (Random testing done once a month, much is grown on farm)
- Poultry Specific
- No Antibiotics or Hormones
- Stress-Free / Painless Death
- Niman Ranch Standards (Future Standard Link)
- Location of Corporate Headquarters: Alameda, CA – Google Maps Link
- NW Farm Review Rating: 4 Star
- NW Farm Review Visit: None
- Standards Confirmation: None
- Website: Niman Ranch – http://www.nimanranch.com