As director of the Animal Welfare Approved program, I recently had the opportunity to visit the Arapaho Ranch, in north-central Wyoming. At 580,000 acres, it is the largest USDA certified organic ranch in the U.S. - and one of the most inspiring ranches that I have ever seen. Arapaho Ranch is actually part of its environment, working in harmony with nature, rather than trying to control it. My visit began at the front of the local high school in the town of Thermopolis, where I met with David Stoner, who manages the Arapaho Ranch on behalf of the Tribal Council of the Northern Arapaho Nation. David is one of those people who can say a huge amount with very few words, and as we drove out to the first pasture it quickly became clear that the Arapaho Tribe had struck gold by appointing him to manage their ranch.
Alexandria, VA—Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) farmer Dan Gibson of Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent, New York, first heard the rumor on Sunday morning—the short ribs he had been accumulating and subsequently supplied to a mysterious buyer had been served at the reception following Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to Marc Mezvinsky on Saturday, July 31 in Rhinebeck. The rumors abounded that Grazin’ Angus Acres had been named on the menu. Unable to confirm this, AWA approached the caterer who had purchased the ribs. AWA spoke with Rob Cano at RCano Events to confirm that Grazin’ Angus Acres short ribs were the short ribs being written about by gossip columns and blogs.
“I was first approached at the Union Square farmer’s market,” Gibson says of the New York City farmer’s market where he sells his 100% AWA grassfed beef and prominently displays his “Proud to be Animal Welfare Approved” sign. “A customer I hadn’t worked with in the past said he was looking for humane, local, grassfed beef for a large event. He asked me if I could supply short ribs for 350 people. At first I said no, but I went back and crunched the numbers and said yes. There are so many events in New York—from charity galas to company dinners—that I really didn’t think anything about it.”
“We’re committed to sourcing locally and sustainably,” Rob Cano says. “Especially for this event, we wanted to make sure that the beef the couple requested came from the most humane, local farm we could find. Grazin’ Angus Acres met all our requirements. And because we ordered months in advance and couldn’t tell Dan anything about the event, he had to trust us and take a leap of faith that we were who we said we were and wouldn’t run out on the check.”
Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther is pleased that the bride and groom chose their menu with care. “Whether or not they wanted it to be this way, Chelsea and Marc’s wedding was the social event of the season. In the midst of all the publicity, pressure and planning, they cared enough to make thoughtful choices about their menu—what could they offer their guests that aligned with their values? Choosing Animal Welfare Approved sustainable, 100% grassfed beef was a great choice and one that will resonate with other couples planning a wedding.”
Grazin’ Angus Acres is euphoric to be associated with a happy event. “Food is an integral part of everybody’s heritage. We’re proud that the Clintons chose our beef for the big day. They raised a great daughter—one who made sure “her” day reflected her values. We wish Chelsea and Marc all the best and hope that they will accept our open invitation to visit Grazin’ Angus Acres in the near future.”
Animal Welfare Approved audits and certifies family farms that raise their animals with the highest animal welfare standards, outdoors, on pasture or range. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has lauded these standards for two years running as being the most stringent when compared to other third-party certification programs. Visit www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org for a searchable database of approved farms and restaurants, shops and markets where our farmers’ products are sold. Choose the one independent food label that means healthy, safe, environmentally responsible and humanely raised.