The Plan to Eat Podcast

#51: Interview with the Niman Ranch Farmer Advocate, Elle Gadient

March 01, 2023 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 51
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#51: Interview with the Niman Ranch Farmer Advocate, Elle Gadient
Show Notes Transcript

We are joined by Elle Gadient, the Niman Ranch Farmer Advocate. Elle grew up on a diversified farm in Iowa, raising livestock including Niman Ranch pigs. Since joining the Niman Ranch team as the farmer advocate, she has launched impactful farmer support resources including the mentor program and Next Generation Foundation Young Farmer Grants. Elle was also recently recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list!

We chat with Elle about what makes Niman Ranch special as an organization and how a company like Niman supports small farmers and local economies. Elle shares that she was a vegetarian in college, even though she now works in the meat industry, and what that means for her choice in meat consumption. This episode is an inside look at what it means for small farmers to humanely raise livestock and buck the conventional model. Enjoy!

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I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner.

Roni: Hello and thank you for listening to another episode of the Plan to Eat podcast.

Today we are interviewing Elle Gadient. She is a farmer advocate for Niman Ranch and Niman Ranch is a community of hundreds of independent family, farmers and ranchers who raise pork, beef, and lamb traditionally humanely and sustainably.

Riley: Elle grew up on a diversified farm in Iowa and raised livestock, uh, including Niman ranch pigs. Um, we had the opportunity to meet Elle at an Edible Institute event in Denver. Weeks ago, uh, and today we just talked to her about her story and about what Niman Ranch is, about the importance of how animals are treated, and then the products that Niman Ranch puts out and why they are high quality and why you should purchase them.[00:01:00] 

Roni: All right, Elle, thanks for joining us on the podcast today. We appreciate you taking some time to be here. And we wanna say congratulations on making the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Elle: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. I'm just so honored. I can't believe it.

Roni: it's a pretty big deal for sure.

Riley: It's not just like a pretty big deal. It's like a gigantic deal forever. You will be on Forbes 30 under 30 in the year 2022. That's crazy. 

Roni: Yeah. 

Riley: Why don't we jump in and you just tell us a little bit about you and your role at Niman Ranch.

Elle: Thank you. I'm Elle Gadient. I'm the Niman Ranch farmer advocate. I grew up on a family farm in eastern Iowa and we raised hogs and cattle in the hogs. We sold to Niman Ranch. That's how I originally got involved. And then throughout college I was a scholarship through their. Next Generation Foundation that led to an internship in the communications team and then they created this role to,[00:02:00] to better support farmers.

Roni: That's awesome. So, uh, what is your general day-to-day look like? Like what is a, I mean, you said they created this role, so I'm guessing they kind of created it because they wanted you to fill this position. So like, what does that look like to be a farmer's advocate?

Elle: Oh. Today, I'll start with today. I just had the best morning, so I started my morning. We have this farmer mentor board, and it's experienced farmers that are in this group to better support beginning farmers because it's, it's really challenging, of course, just getting into farming with. The land access and debt.

But then also Niman Ranch. We raised pigs without antibiotics and we raised them outdoors and deeply bedded pens. Um, so there's more learning curves on how to have the lowest stress environment. So this board is training and being a resource for new farmers. And we had a call this morning discussing what more we can do to support those beginning farmers.

So that was the, that was the best start to the today and. [00:03:00] Overall, it's my role is amplifying those voices, so bringing those voices up to Niman Ranch leadership, and always representing the farmers in, in company decisions and how we're navigating, navigating through the changing market.

Riley: Wow. So tell me about the area that you cover are how many farmers are you interacting with 

Elle: Over 600 families that are in the network. And my family's one of those, we're in over 20 states. Um, many of the farmers are from Iowa where I grew up. And, um, with that too, So advocating for sharing their, sharing their stories, but also building resources and how I can create more resources like that.

Mentor program is something that I started at Niman or relaunched. They had it years ago and then we relaunched it recently. Um, and then with their scholarships and grants, how we can reach more, more families with that.

Roni: Oh, excellent. Yeah, so I was reading, in a, I think it was a blog post on the [00:04:00] Niman Ranch website that. The farmer, like the average age of a conventional farmer is around 60 years old right now. And Niman Ranch farmers, the average age is about 20 years younger. It was like 42 or 43. Um, so I'm guessing like your job, some of these like advocacy programs that you're creating, kind of play into that, right?

Like helping younger farmers get into the space so that, you know, we can continue to have farmers as we all get older.

Elle: And that's what we're really proud of for. For the programs that I'm leading with the foundation, with that mentor program, but also just Niman Ranch as an opportunity. We are, it's a niche opportunity. People can get started as small farmers and just have, I could just have a few pigs as I'm getting started and.

You don't need a lot of land. You don't need a lot of capital to invest, to have this opportunity and this training to help you grow and help diversify your farm. And what was so appealing to my family is the [00:05:00] stability of Niman Ranch. You have. This low cost needed to get started with it, but then you're getting paid a premium because you're going above and beyond and you're raising practices.

We follow strict protocols to care for the animals, and by taking those extra steps, we really say a labor of love that we're putting into it. Um, we're being rewarded and no matter what happens to the market, there's always the stability of our, of our price. We're.

Riley: For a farmer. I mean, I feel like that's, stability is not usually the name of the game, right? Because you really are at the whim of weather and a lot of other things, health of animals. And so I guess that is just, probably such reassurance for farmers, um, who really love the animals that they're raising. 

Elle: Just especially now, um, grain prices are really high. Land prices are rec at record high. And to have this stability and especially for beginning farmers who haven't, haven't experienced these high [00:06:00] market fluctuations in their time farming, to have, at least they have that something that's stable and the strong community of the fellow like-minded farmers to be there for.

Riley: What are the protocols that they have to meet for their animals.

Elle: And our protocols are unique. Um, we have never, ever antibiotics, um, which is different than no, but no antibiotics or antibiotic free doesn't mean that they were never given antibiotics. And how we do this is we raise the animals in lower stress environments. We have bigger space requirement per animal.

Um, on our farm, we're raised, they're born out on pasture. They're with their mothers longer than the conventional systems. They're with their mothers for at least four weeks. The baby pigs are, and then they stay with their litter throughout. Throughout their lives on the farm. And for us, we always love, they always have, access to sunshine on our farm.

And who doesn't that make feel better? So space is a big one to low stress environments. [00:07:00] And then, Like humane animal care focus, so there's never, ever tail docking, um, cutting their tails or teeth clipping, which is different than lots of the industry.

And then a huge topic right now, um, with California has a Proposition 12 law that just went to the Supreme Court and it bans the sale of pork when the mothers were kept in crates throughout their pregnancy. And for Niman Ranch, the sows, which are mother pigs, are never ever in crate.

Riley: That's fantastic. Sounds like a good life.

Roni: It sounds like, uh, Niman Ranch is going to then be the preferred pork option in California if that goes through, because you guys will. already. You're already on that track, so that's awesome. I think we all have our personal reasons for like, why we would want animals to be treated humanely when they're being raised, but are, is there like a, uh, different components to like, just like why, I don't know exactly what the word, but like just humane treatment of animals is important for, you know, like the food that you're eating [00:08:00] and you know, the livestock and all that.

Elle: We think so for Niman Ranch overall the. The way the animals are raised, um, they get more exercise. They are in those lower stress environments, not needing. Therapeutic antibiotics throughout their lives, um, translates into the meat quality. So there's more marbling in the meat, more intermuscular fat.

It is phenomenal if you haven't tried Niman Ranch pork. Uh, and then also for, for my family personally, it's the quality of life for us and for our animals. There, there are livelihood and we really do. We love them. They. Like each life of them matters to us and making sure that they're having a good life is very important to us.

And that's why we do this extra labor in raising our animals outdoors and with access to sunshine, um, because we think it's best for them.

Roni: That makes me think, I think you actually told this to Riley. So we met Elle at, an edible event in Denver [00:09:00] and, um, You guys were talking about livestock, and like you said, just a really, a really powerful statement, which is just like these animals only ever have one bad day in their life, which I think is such a powerful statement, such a good thing to consider when you're thinking about like, you know, the food that you're eating and how it's treated and everything.

I really loved that.

Elle: Thank you, and I truly believe it too. Riley and I bonded over our love of cows, and it is, you have them their life, especially if you have a bottle calf and you just love them, looking forward to your time together every morning and evening. And then eventually when it comes to market time, she had asked how I dealt with that, and that's what I think of.

I loved them and gave them the best life possible their whole life. And it's just that only that one. That isn't, and through it all, we respect and honor that.

Riley: Yeah, cows are an interesting one. Um, I have a couple of bottle calves myself. And uh, [00:10:00] one thing I learned about cows is that they can recognize faces. So they know people , so they know me when I go out to feed them. They know me. And the longer that I've had them, the more that I feel like they actually do know me, and I know that that sounds.

Silly, but they're not like dogs. They're different than that. But there's this element of like, they know why I'm there. I'm there to give them food. So they love me . But , I just feel like that I interact with them and like one of 'em in particular is a little bit feisty and he always tries to get out of the pen when I open it up.

And. But he al, he plays me, he does not play my husband, he like interacts with us very differently when we go to feed him and he'll try to sneak out and open, you know, kinda like nudge the door open a little bit to try to get out and, it never happens to my husband. It always happens to me and , but it's just his, he knows who I am.

He knows he can do that to me and he can't tell my husband. So, um, I don't know. That's just a side story about sweet cows

Elle: I love that each one [00:11:00] has their own personality and you really get to know that throughout their life, and I love it too. My Jenny was a bottle calf of mine, I don't know how long ago, and she's always been the sassiest girl. And you move cows. She does it to all of us. If it's my parents or I, and she'll, she'll go the opposite direction and she pretends she can't see you and it just cracks me up that she's so sassy.

Riley: Oh yeah. That's awesome.

Roni: So then the farm. you grew up on you guys. Did you have both cattle and hogs or just hogs?

Elle: Yep. Cattle and hogs in the hogs. We sold to Niman Ranch in the cattle we sell locally.

Roni: Oh, okay. Great. Cool. And so, and then that family farm is back in Iowa, right? Okay. you're in Colorado. Close to us. Right.

Elle: yes. I'm in Colorado. Uh, I worked at our Niman ranch office is in Westminster and so I came out to, to be in the office, but I get back to Iowa very often and I'm working on my transition back to the farm. I do miss it [00:12:00] and I miss the animals so much.

Riley: Do you have siblings? Is it, is your family farm? Multi generational?

Elle: Yes, my, um, my brother's also involved, my little brother Johnny. And then both my parents are involved as well. And then we bought the farm. Um, part of our farm was my grandparents' farm where my mom grew up. Um, we bought the neighboring farm when I was a kid, which was the best way to grow up. So we were on the farm and then just we could walk to grandma and grandpa's house.

Roni: Oh, that's awesome. That's great to be. To family and hopefully you guys had to get to have like delicious grandma family dinners and stuff.

Elle: Yes.

Riley: One thing that you talked to us about, um, when we chatted with you before was, uh, that you. Not a huge meat eater. And so I'd actually like to talk about that because I think that's a unique position that you're in, being a farmer, and respecting animals and loving animals and, but choosing to consume animal products.

Um, but like how you balance that. I would love to hear your story on that cuz I really [00:13:00] enjoyed hearing it before and I'd like to our, for our audience to hear it.

Elle: I, I believe in less meat, better meat when available because I care so much about the animals, so much about my family farm. I prioritize. I only want to be supporting my family farms and farms like that. So people who are putting, putting in extra effort to take care of their animals, to love their animals, to care for the land and for the, for that to be raised or food to be raised.

Family farmers. And to do that, I am very mindful where I purchase meat, of course I buy from Niman Ranch. And often, when I go back home to the farm, then I bring back, back a cooler fresh meat. Um, because I just wanna make sure that I'm putting my money where I want to be supporting and helping, helping businesses like my families thrive.

And we had also talked about when I was in college, I was a vegetarian and it was to be. Fight [00:14:00] back against industrial agriculture and the, the big meat packers in the industry and that are running the small family farms out of business. And I get really worked up about this . So I was vegetarian throughout college and I didn't have as, as much access to, to be purchasing Niman Ranch and I wasn't investing as much in researching where my food was coming from.

So at the time, that's how I did. But then after I realized I'm not supporting, I'm not supporting what I want to, if I'm not supporting anything. And then that's what got me into eating meat at my family's farm. Or if I was at Friend's house in Iowa, they had a farm. And then moving to a bigger scale for buying meat and buying eggs that are ethically sourced.

Riley: Yeah, that's fantastic. I love the phrase less meat, better meat. Um, and then also just the way that you kind of came about that in your story of just, if you're not doing anything, you're not [00:15:00] supporting the people that you wanna support . And so making that choice in that pretty dramatic change in your life, to support.

Like your heart, your heart's, uh, mission because even just, I wish people could see you talking about this right now because, you can see it like welling up in you, uh, just how you feel about the animals, but how you feel about, even just supporting local agriculture and supporting Niman Ranch and because you know their mission and what they stand for. So I love that.

Elle: Thank you. And with that I'm spending more. That's why I got to the less meat, better meat, because I'm spending more on what I'm buying because I'm investing in things I really care about and places that that dollar is getting back to the farmer.

Riley: Yeah, for people who, um, , maybe this is a new conversation for, um, why do these products cost more? And I know that that really relates to the way that they're treated. But if you don't mind talking to us about that. So when they're in the store and they're looking at the prices of different products, they [00:16:00] have like a little checklist in their mind, what they know and why, why it might cost a little more.

Elle: for us, I'll start with on the farm side. Um, there's different ways, of course. Raising, raising our animals. And there's the way of the least qu costs or there's the way of the highest quality. And our family, our focus is the highest quality. So we're paying for more nutritious ingredients for the feed, um, for the additives, for the feed, we're having the vitamin and mineral mixes.

That are tailored to our farm. We're having different things we put on the feed, like apple cider vinegar and oregano essential oil blends, which is cool because I take these things to, to be healthy during cold and flu season. Um, but we're also giving those to our animals to boost their immune systems because we're not using antibiotics.

And with that, we're not pushing the animals to grow as fast as they can, which would be a lower cost way. We're having them be as healthy as they. While they're, while they're growing up. So we're putting more [00:17:00] into, um, what we're planting to feed them, what we're purchasing and all of the ingredients. And like even their bedding, making sure they have quality bedding, um, that they're rooting, it, rooting through and staying warm, staying cool in.

And then when that goes to Niman Ranch, um, Niman Ranch is because they're paying that premium to the farmer. More of that money. It's costing the farmer more. Niman Ranch is paying that farmer for that added cost and giving them the premium. Plus we're investing in these, all of these programs to support more farmers with the, the scholarships, the grants, that mentor program that we talked about That's why for us, it's costing more because there's so many people supported down the line. And then in addition, what I love about Niman is we work with other, so we're working with those small family farmers. We're also working with a lot of small distributors or family owned distributors and family owned grocery stores, and all of these people who [00:18:00] like the value added and they have that true appreciation of the value add.

Roni: Right. Well, it sounds like it doesn't just support. Humane treatment of animals, but it also is supporting lots of people, hopefully lots of people in your local community as well. So, you know, I know that you can buy Niman Ranch at a big place like Whole Foods, but I'm guessing that you can also buy it at some of the smaller grocery stores.

I don't know. All across the country is Niman available all across the country.

Elle: We are, we're available all across the country and, um, some broadliners, like Whole Foods, natural Grocers, sprouts, but many are independent grocery stores. And on our website for anyone interested, we have a store locator. It's Niman Ranch. Where to buy? Um, And there you can find a grocery store near you.

Roni: Oh awesome.

Riley: One thing I wasn't expecting you to say was that it goes towards like the mentorship program, um, and things like that, and it makes sense. But to me, when you're purchasing this kind [00:19:00] of product, you're ensuring that that product will be available to you for the long run and for your children, you know, et cetera.

Because, uh, and it's, I think I love that because, uh, it means it's still gonna be there in the future. And so it's part, it's like built in is like, this purchase is helping to fund future farmers, and helping them have excellent pro, um, Livestock, excellent products from their farm, uh, which I think is a really big deal.

Um, and something I wouldn't have considered. I, I, like I said, I really wasn't expecting you to say that, but that's, that's really awesome.

Elle: Thank you, and that reminded me too, of how it does help our local communities. We did a research study last year with Iowa State University and found that. Niman Ranch Farms are these independent family farms who are raising pigs, Niman, ranch way. Our labor of love, uh, we're they're putting 150% more jobs into their local economies [00:20:00] than the alternate industrial model.

And that's because. Um, of course the more labor that goes into it. But like our family, we're an independent family farm. We're working with our independent seed store, with our local veterinarian, with our local grocery store, and this money is going back into our local economy, and this is going back into rural America across the country.

Roni: That's great. I, we probably should have gotten to this a little bit earlier, but I'm wondering if you can tell us, uh, like how Niman Ranch got started. What was the, you know, the, the starting point and who started it?

Elle: Niman ranches started. It was, um, the Niman Ranch in California. They were a cattle, they raised cattle and they were, an the antibiotic-free remodel. And how we got involved in Iowa was Paul Willis. He's our founding. Hog farmer. He had come back to the farm in the nineties and there were all of these, um, confinement buildings, CAFOs, confined animal feeding operations going up around him.

[00:21:00] And the price of hogs was declining. So he was looking for an alternate market and he went out to California to visit a friend. And then his friend, Jeanie McCormick, is a Niman Ranch, lamb rancher now. Um, she was talking about. There's this big interest in free range products here in California, and it just started with just Paul Willis in Iowa, sending his hogs out to California, or his pork out to California, where all the demand was.

And then there was so much growing demand that he brought on his neighbors. And then now we have over 600, 600 in the network that, that we're helping and supporting and partnering with to keep their family farm alive.

Roni: Wow. And then so all of these other, I mean, because Niman is so unique in the fact that you guys do. Of, um, you have a scholar, you have the scholarship fund, you have the mentorship, all of these things. So did that just grow out of, you know, like the farmers and the people working for Niman, seeing that there was a need for that?

Like [00:22:00] how did, how did that part, um, come about too?

Elle: Yes, for, um, for the scholarship program in 2006, David Stirling was a, he was a Niman ranch farmer. Every Niman ranch farmer is so cool, but he's also so cool. He was involved with writing the original conservation stewardship program, which is a, um, program for farmers and people to conserve their land. And get money from the, like money incentive from the government.

It's super cool. Lots of farmers take take advantage of this program, but he passed away tragically and he was very, um, very invested in higher education and creating more resources for farmers, for helping local farmers get started in his, in his memory, they started a scholarship that year and it has grown over years.

To be. Last year we just passed, over a million dollars has been awarded in scholarships and grants to farmers. And then with the mentor program too. When [00:23:00] Niman originally got started, there were lots of people who were raising pigs, small family farms who just had a few pigs they were raising. And then as the industry is consolidated quickly, and that has gone to the wayside, There's not as many people who are growing up raising pigs anymore.

So we're seeing this need that this education that I grew up with on how to raise these pigs. Lots of people don't have this opportunity, but we still want to help them, not only with the opportunity to partner with Niman, but the opportunity to be successful. And that's where the mentor program came from.

Riley: If people wanna get involved with Niman Ranch, is the mentorship, uh, program kind of like a require. Partially also cuz you kind of build them into your processes and, um, kind of how it all goes, how it all works. And, um, it is required.

Elle: They're, they're open. They're welcome to participate as much or as little as they're interested, [00:24:00] and their mentor will check in with them. And they're open to visiting or calling as much as they'd like. So some people are very, very active in it. And then there's other people who, they grew up on the farm and they're, they're feeling confident and thanks for the call, but we're feeling good.

They may be working with their parents yet, or their aunt or uncles.

Riley: Sure. Yeah.

Elle: I love it. That's my favorite part of my job is. Getting to work on the, the Farmer Mentor Program, getting to know all of these farm families and just you get ideas from each one on what would be helpful for them, or they've always wanted to do, to do like this mentor program. Like we've always wanted to help more farmers in our community, but we're not meeting.

Farmers that are raising hogs anymore, and just, there's just so many things. And then there's people who love to share their story and connecting them with opportunities too, if it could be with the media or it could be, um, a written blog or a traveling to [00:25:00] visit Niman ranch restaurants to, I love tailoring things to help each person.

Riley: Yeah, it's really neat that the opportunity exists for someone who may not even have a farming background, but. Is excited about this for however they, however they came to be excited about this, um, to have that process to walk through, um, and feel supported by other farmers and not just feel like they're going at it alone.

I, I, farming I feel like is, is just. Uh, and maybe this is just a belief that I have, but farming is just family oriented. Like, I just feel like farmers that I know their parents were farmers, their grandparents were farmers, their kids will be farmers. You know, it's just like this, uh, very multi-generational process.

But there are people out there who don't have a farming background, but who wanna get involved in, and this is what they feel like their life's calling is. Uh, so the fact that you offer something like that for somebody, New and passionate about the things that Niman is passionate about, um, is a [00:26:00] really unique opportunity.

Elle: I agree and I love that. Just recently was looking back and I'm a fifth generation to be farming in the United States, and I've just been, I feel really lucky to. I've gotten to grown up to grow up this way, but especially I feel like my parents gradu or my parents' generation, um, a lot of people left the farms during that time.

And I love to see the many niche opportunities like Niman, Niman's, just one of them. For these people who are coming back on a small scale. They can partner with an organization that will, that really cares about them.

Roni: I was gonna say, I think that's a really special part about an organization like Niman is. You know, we all like to eat food and we all like to eat good food, but I think that the production of the food that we eat is often really undervalued, um, on an individual level, on a societal level.

And so it's really great to hear that there are organizations like Niman who do a really good job of taking care of the [00:27:00] people that work for them. So that you know those people. Hopefully it does continue to be a multi-generational thing for people because they love what they do and it's, they don't, you know, I think that part of the reason probably why people in our parents' generation moved away from farming is cuz they were like, there's no money in this.

I'm not treated very well. You know, all of the list of things that are associated with, you know, more conventional industrial farming. I just think that's really special and I'm really glad that, um, we're getting to learn that , there are people who do still really care about farmers in the industry.

Elle: I, I just love it. Me too. Thank you. And what's so cool is that each family, it's an independent family farm. So they, they own their own pigs. They're making their own farm decisions. They're, they're growing crops to feed those. I. Are grow best in their soil or grow best in that local climate. And as long as they're meeting the, the protocols of Niman Ranch and we have field agents that go out and check in with the farmers, they talk to them weekly.

[00:28:00] Um, we're third party audited by Certified Humane. So it's not just Niman Ranch, making sure that being there for resource, but also making sure that all of the protocols are met. We have certified Humane also going out. And then different customers also, um, that buy Niman Ranch have their. Audits to make sure that, or to ensure and see that Niman Ranch really is what we say it is. And I just believe so deeply in this company and what we're doing.

Roni: I actually think that was a really, uh, interesting thing that we learned at the Edible, edible event that we met you at, was that I don't think I realized like how much. Farmers do, aside from animal husbandry, like there's all of these audits that they go through, or like in this situation, like there, it's not only animal husbandry, it's also growing crops.

Like it's a very intensive job. And I think just, yeah, I think this idea of just like peeling the layer back a little, like peeling the curtains back, I guess, to kind of like get a little bit [00:29:00] inside view just gives me so much more respect for what farmers are doing. And particularly, you know, farmers who are doing their best to have humane care for their animals.

Elle: And I always especially think of it as, I'm here in Colorado today working in the warm office and it's snowing and blowing on the farm, and I talked to my dad before work and he's getting bundled up to go outside and, and check everything that there's, you're doing it every day, no matter the weather.

And you're also like, with those weather, we're also of course making sure that our animals are comfortable and protected from the weather 

Riley: you know, i, um, did not grow up on a farm.

I live on a ranch now. And, um, you just become so much more connected, uh, to the place where you live and the animals you're raising when you have to spend that much time with them. I don't know. I, I just don't think it's a very well known thing. You know, I had a good friend of ours as a, a cattle rancher in Eastern Colorado and he couldn't come to my wedding cuz he had cows being born.

Uh, cuz a snowstorm [00:30:00] came in that day. And at the time I was like, oh, a bummer. You know? And now I'm like, yep, I just get it now. And I didn't quite get it as much then. But I just think it's important for people to realize, uh, that there are farmers out. A lot of farmers out there who, this is their life's work.

And it's not just like a nine to five, you know, it's 24 7. And so, for a product like Niman Ranch, you know, meats and things like that, They're going above and beyond that 24 7 because they really, really love the animals they're working with. And just to make sure that they're treated beautifully.

And, I don't know. I just think it's pretty amazing and I think having cows of my own has really, uh, just grown my appreciation for it and my desire for really high quality products also. Yeah, it's not really a question. I'm just, I just think it's important that people know , you know,

Elle: I too just appreciate I, it was reality when I grew up. . And then [00:31:00] especially though leaving the farm and then going back, uh, I get to go back every spring and fall when we're farrowing, when we're having baby pigs to help on the farm when we're planting and harvesting and get to work from home. And different times throughout the year, but just so much respect and appreciation.

Like there's hard, we work hard at work, but it's, it's just totally different than that. And it's your sleep, um, different times of year where you're hardly sleeping because you wanna be checking the animals. When they're having babies to, to ensure they're okay. Or when you're planting the crops that will feed the animals.

And you're also, you're just juggling so many things on top of the weather. And it seems like those are the nights that the pigs, pigs are so smart that they open the gate and they're out in the middle of the night and. It's just, that's how it is every day and you, you don't think anything of it. And now that I've gone away and I'm going back just, ugh.

The appreciation, respect I have and especially for my parents, for raising [00:32:00] us and this like doing all those things and raising kids, it's amazing.

Roni: Mm-hmm. Well, before we end, um, our podcast today, why don't you just, uh, remind everybody. Where they can find Niman Ranch online and then then where they could find Niman Ranch in their store.

Elle: Thank you and thanks to everyone. Thanks for listening. Thanks for having me. On Niman Ranch, we have online. You can find stores near you that are selling Niman, and you can purchase Niman. Ranch online to be delivered to your store. And if Niman Ranch isn't near you, there's still ways you could support your local family farmers and get to know people in your area who are farming and who are raising, raising their animals, caring for their land and ways that you want to support.

And by supporting them and helping them be successful, helping them have the opportunity to pass that to the next generation is super impactful.

Roni: Love that. Okay. Well we like to [00:33:00] end our episodes talking a little bit about recipes. So can you tell us a recipe that you've had recently, that you just loved and would like to share with our listeners?

Elle: Oh one my mom and I made that. I just love, it's like a taco spaghetti squash. I do love beef, but I really love pork. Um, so spaghetti squash and then it was, we put ground pork, beans, spicy tomatoes, peppers, and really any other furnishings with cheese, salsa and sour cream. It was amazing. And then I froze part of it and when I took it back out and heated it up, it was just as amazing the second time.

Riley: Oh, she's speaking my language. I love freezer meals.

Roni: Yeah. Really,

Riley: Yeah, that sounds

Roni: I love being able to use a spaghetti squash as a substitute. It's the best.

Elle: Yeah, I felt so healthy too.

Roni: Yeah.

Riley: That's awesome. Uh, thank you so much for your time, Elle. We really, really enjoyed this conversation. And you're just [00:34:00] such a lovely person and it was, I just can't wait people to hear this, so thank you.

Elle: Thank you both so much. Thanks for having me.

Roni: Thank you for listening to this episode. We wanted to just mention really quickly that we talked about Edible a couple times in this podcast and we wanted to just shout out to Edible Communities and Edible Magazines. Um, So Edible magazines are local magazines that you can find in your area, that have stories focused around food and restaurants and.

Culture, farming, agriculture, a whole lot of stuff. 

Riley: Thanks so much for listening to the Plan to Eat podcast. Um, we hope that you'll subscribe to this show so you can get an update every time we launch new episode. Um, and if you're interested in any of the recipes we share on our podcast, you can go to