The terms “grass fed” and “pasture raised”—meaning that an animal was allowed to graze the old-fashioned way instead of being fed an unnatural and difficult-to-digest diet of mostly corn and other grain—have now entered the food-shoppers’ lexicon. But Andrew and I didn’t fully understand what those phrases meant until we got to know Greg Nauta of Rocky Canyon Farms. Nauta is a small-scale rancher and farmer from Atascadero, California, who grows organic vegetables and raises about 35 animals on pastureland. Since we met him at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market a year ago, it has become even clearer to us that supporting guys like him—by seeking out and paying a premium for sustainably raised meat—is the right thing for us to do.
Nauta’s cattle graze on 200 leased acres of pasture in central California and are fed the leftover vegetables and fruits he grows that don’t sell at the farmers’ market, supplemented by locally grown barley grain on occasion. “That’s dessert,” he says of the barley, “not a main course. That would be like us eating ice cream every day.”
~ Christine Lennon (August, 2007)