Brilliantly Green Events & Education, oh my!!!
Hello my perky party planners and eco-evangelistas,
Today I interview a real hero of mine, my grass-fed cattle loving brother, Clint Wagner, for our segment “Inside the Vendors Studio”. This is where you get to know an event vendor up close and personally through a series of questions. I know you know I come from a long line of green DIY peeps, but Clint is the first person in our family to take the raise it yourself beef idea and make it into a local sustainable business.
Clint and his lovely wife Miranda own Wagner Cattle Company, a high-altitude, free range Gelbvieh cattle ranch in Bayfield, Colorado. They raise grass fed Gelbvieh cows for local restaurants, events and families. They’ve taken the sustainable small business idea a step further and issued an “adopt a local rancher / farmer / brewery” challenge to their followers. Clint and Miranda know education is the best way to spread the slow food movement idea. The “adoption” idea is as follows
Melissa’s note – If you are looking to serve eco-friendly food at your wedding and event, consider going with local small businesses who practices sustainable ranching and farming. Your guests will be wowed by the fresh and natural fare and you support your local community, encourage sustainable ranching and farming and help small businesses owners support their families.
OK on with the questions… 🙂
Why high altitude? Beef from cattle raised on grass grown at high altitudes contains higher amounts of CLA and Omega 3 than from grass fed beef raised at lower altitude. High altitude grass has better nutrients & the water is clean. The cow processes it better which adds more pounds naturally. We go up on the mountain for 3 months. The cows go up weighing 260 pounds and come down at 600-700 pounds. It’s just amazing.
Here’s an idea! Let’s treat a cow like God intended. Let’s let them roam, let’s let them eat what they are designed to eat, let’s treat them humanely. They nourish us after death, we should give them a good life.
Why did you decide to start doing this?
1) why buy a product from a nameless corporation you don’t know who has pumped growth hormones and antibiotics into the cow to make it grow. You don’t know what they put in that cow to make it get that big. There’s all kinds of growth hormones they put into the ears of a calf to make it grow fast. They get huge but all it is is a big steroid. All those growth antibiotics and hormones stay in the meat. I didn’t want to have that in my body.
2) Why stuff an animal in a little pen where it can’t move, force feed it corn until it’s obese to get the “marbling”**. For those who don’t know, marbling is fat. We call corn “Hot” feed. It’s high in protein and starch. Cows can’t process it well. It makes them sick & turns into fat. It shuts the cow’s body down. It burns up their guts essentially. It’s not right for the cow and I just can’t bring myself to do to a living creature.
Marbling is intended to mellow out the taste of beef. Cows are fed corn that they can’t process so it turns into fat. It makes the meat bland tasting, like chicken. Chicken is a bland meat. You have to add spice to it to give it flavor. It’s the same way with corn-fed beef. You have to punch up the flavor yourself.
I thought to myself “Here’s an idea! Let’s treat a cow like God intended. Let’s let them roam, let’s let them eat what they are designed to eat, let’s treat them humanely. They nourish us after death, we should give them a good life.”
**What is Marbling? Marbling is intended to mellow out the taste of beef. Cows are fed corn that they can’t process so it turns into fat. It makes the meat bland tasting, like chicken. Chicken is a bland meat. You have to add spice to it to give it flavor. It’s the same way with corn-fed beef. You have to punch up the flavor yourself. Everyone associates corn-fed beef with high class beef. They’ve had it pumped into their system for so long they think that’s what beef should taste like and it’s not. The general population has had their taste buds dulled down to the point that they don’t recognize authentic beef flavor anymore. Grass fed beef is more flavorful.
Aha moment: I had two. First, we sold a full beef to one of our first customers, a manager of a local grocery store. When I talked to them, he said and I quote “my wife doesn’t eat beef normally, but she eats your beef and she loves it” and I thought “Wow, we’re putting out a natural product people enjoy! We’re on to something here”.
We’ve also heard from people with Crohn’s disease and other digestive problems saying ours is the only beef they can eat without getting sick. That was a big eye opener, I knew our beef tasted better than beef from feed lots, but it didn’t click how that natural goodness could actually help people with actual illnesses until that moment.
What inspires you? My boys, Cole and Ian. I want to leave a better world for them. Having the ability to leave a legacy for my boys. If they want to stay in the family business of high-altitude natural ranching, that’s great. If they don’t, then I hope they sell it to someone who will run it well and use the money to follow their own dreams, whether that’s surfing or being CEO of a company.
The general population has had their taste buds dulled down to the point that they don’t recognize authentic beef flavor anymore.
Fave guilty pleasure: Drinking beer, I guess.
Advice for someone just starting out in your field: Take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt & don’t be afraid to swim against the stream. Listen to the old ranchers who have been in the business a long time but don’t be afraid to cut your own trail.
Least favorite activity: TAXES!!!!
Favorite adult beverage: I go through phases depending on the seasons, but it’s always beer. It was Guinness this past winter, but right now it’s Coors Original.
Listen to the old ranchers who have been in the business a long time but don’t be afraid to cut your own trail.
Person you’d most like to met: Sam Elliot. I’d like to have a beer with him and see if he’s really as cowboy as he seems.
Fave Muppet: Gonzo
Best Vacation Memory: My honeymoon with my wife Miranda, swimming in Key West.