is to create the finest tasting grassfed beef, lamb, and poultry in a wholesome, humane, and environmentally conscious manner, supplying chefs and consumers meat exclusively from free-range animals in peak condition and in season, every day of the year.
BILL NIMAN'S GUIDELINES
Bill Niman, a founding partner of BN Ranch, widely considered the "godfather of sustainable meat,” began supplying meat from carefully raised animals to restaurants and retail stores in the 1970s. Among Bill’s first customers were some of the country’s most revered restaurants, including Chez Panisse and Zuni Café. This grew into Niman Ranch, which became the nation’s premier natural meat company, trusted by chefs and consumers for offering consistently delicious beef, lamb, and pork from sustainable farms and ranches. Today, Bill Niman brings the same passion for eating quality and sustainable animal husbandry to BN Ranch. His deep knowledge and broad experience enables us to establish our own unique set of criteria for sustainability and humane animal treatment. We are confident in saying the quality of BN Ranch meats is unsurpassed.
BEST IN SEASON
Our commitment to slaughtering animals only when truly in peak condition requires us to follow the wisdom of nature’s seasons, based on temperatures, sunlight, and rainfall. We allow each of our animals to mate naturally, to grow at a natural pace, and to lead lives and eat foods compatible with their particular needs and instincts. Our cattle and sheep spend all of their days foraging on pastures and rangelands, and we harvest them directly off highly nutritious meadows of grasses, legumes and forbs. For our heritage turkeys, we follow the natural mating seasons of our heritage breeding flock, which dictates that eggs are laid and babies are hatched only in spring. We raise them through spring, summer, and fall until they reach maturity in late fall. There is good reason turkey was the centerpiece at the first Thanksgiving feast!
At every stage, all BN Ranch animals are handled with care and in a manner that respects their natures. Their days are spent in environments appropriate for their needs and instincts, exercising, breathing fresh air, grazing, and foraging, which helps avoid the digestive distress and other health problems often experienced by conventionally raised animals due to crowded conditions, conventional diets, and inactivity. Our turkey flocks can express natural behaviors and always have plenty of room to roam, inside and outside. All of our animals are transported carefully and only when necessary. They are as close as possible to the abattoir, reducing the stress of handling prior to slaughter. A senior member of the BN Ranch team (often Bill Niman himself) is always present at every occasion when our animals are slaughtered.
HUMANE ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
We believe in taking a holistic approach to animal husbandry, always striving to do what is best, from birth to death, for each individual animal. Our most important strategy for keeping our animals healthy is preventative: providing them wholesome diets, low-stress living conditions, exercise, sunshine, and fresh air. Occasionally, an animal falls ill and needs to be treated with antibiotics. While we never use antibiotics subtherapeutically, we do not believe in sitting back and watching an animal suffer when we have an effective, responsible treatment at our disposal.
Carefully stewarded herds and flocks play an essential role in bio-regenerative food systems that continually protect, restore, and replenish natural resources. For our cattle herds and sheep flocks, we use rotational practices that mimic the patterns of ancient and pre-historic herbivores, improve soil fertility and water-holding capacity, reduce soil erosion and increase carbon sequestration. In raising our turkeys, we do not use waste ponds and return all of the manure back to the land as composted fertilizer.
For many reasons, including meat eating quality, environmental impact, and animal welfare, we consider it essential to farm and ranch in the most appropriate locations and physical environments. Bill Niman has vocally advocated for years that when it comes to meat, it’s more important to focus on the question of “locale” than “local.” Today’s shipping methods make transporting meat surprisingly efficient, and unlike most other foods, beef actually benefits from additional time in a temperature-controlled environment. We are purveyors of local when the meats we raise are in season in this geography. But meat differs markedly from fruit. Peaches and tomatoes picked green and shipped half-way around the world will never compare to fresh summer fruit ripened on the tree or vine. By contrast, grassfed meat is best when harvested according to the globe’s grass seasons, which is actually optimal for eating quality. We believe animals should be raised where they thrive and where they ecologically belong. They should be slaughtered when in peak condition and at the right moment according to the grasses. Their meat should then be transported to eaters. This approach creates best in season meat, every day of the year.