Rancho Santo Niño: The Beginning
Let me first start by stating that I am not a meat expert, nor a cow expert, nor a long-time cattle rancher, but I do have a passion for Rancho Santo Nino, its Limousin cows and the process in which these animals live their lives to eventually serve the community by providing grass-fed beef. My Spanish is not great either, bordering on bad, but about a year ago the idea of producing 100% grass-fed beef for the San Miguel de Allende community presented itself, and I have thrown myself into all areas of discovering what it takes to make good, clean meat. From slaughter to sales, I am involved in step of the process.
Once a long-time suffering vegetarian (ate too much cheese, probably, bread too) and even tried a stint as Meagan the Vegan when I lived in San Francisco, but this never fared well on me and I recall my doctor grabbing me by the shoulders and telling me I needed to eat a steak. I did and my return to meat was glorious! However I continued to waver back-n-forth; to meat or not to meat, that was the question. I tried the Atkins diet in the 90's -- holy Toledo that was horrible and I never felt more weighted down in my entire life. Most recently I was dealing with some stressful auto-immune issues, which led me to begin eating only organic and grass-fed meat, along with the good, hearty, organic vegetables that are wildly available in Central Texas, Home of Whole Foods Market and numerous farmer's markets. My health improved tremendously when I went on a solid paleo-type diet; I was perky once again, as well as quite content to have allowed myself permission to eat meat again sans guilt. I found my groove and I was committed to it.
In mid-2015, I returned to Central Mexico, where there is no Whole Foods Market, but there is a growing and passionate real-food/slow-food community. Organic resources are on the rise for sure, but clean meat was hard to find. It was being trucked in from the Mexican state of Vera Cruz. Vera Cruz!? Guanajuato is the agriculture bowl of Mexico, yet there was no clean meat to be found. I then overheard Reed Burns, a blustery Texan with a cattle ranch in Dolores Hidalgo AND my one-time husband, on the phone attempting to sell his cattle to Mexico's version of a factory farm in Northern Mexico. I asked why would you send the cattle away like that, when we need clean meat right here??? He told me he didn't have time for that and said, "I'll give you a cow and you go figure it out."
With a big burst of gusto, I have been figuring it out and I hope t be always figuring it out. The next day after that conversation with Reed, I was in Via Organica, speaking to them about grass-fed meat and they were thrilled to discover they could get it locally. We now sell our meat in their tienda and they use our meat in their restaurant. I look forward to continuing to work with them; they are a diverse and passionate group of people who are interested in clean food, and a visit to their organic ranch to see their operation and discover their educational programs is well worth the journey.
And so it begins! Thank you for your support.
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Producer of Grass-fed Beef at Rancho Santo Nino