In the middle of a warm December morning, Franklin and I arrived at Bill and Nicolette Hahn Niman’s Bolinas ranch. We’d been slightly delayed on the way up there from stopping to take photographs of Stinson beach along the scenic Highway One that snaked through Marin, running on up the coast. We were headed to BN Ranch to meet Nicolette for an interview about her recent, somewhat controversial book, Defending Beef. Nicolette’s a fascinating woman. She has been engaged in environmental issues her entire adult life, culminating with a career as an environmental attorney for Robert Kennedy Jr. As an animal welfare activist and vegetarian, her union with Bill Niman was not an obvious one.
In the meat world, the name Niman, is a recognizable one. Bill Niman, is the namesake and founder of Niman Ranch, though he is no longer involved in the company that bears his name (we hope to do a story on that one day too). Under the label, BN Ranch, he and Nicolette are raising grassfed cattle, heritage turkeys and two children on a gorgeous 200 acre farm.
In our conversation you can expect to hear a nuanced and well researched view on what it means to sustainably raise and eat beef in America. In particular, we urge every chef to check out the podcast and the book. Nicolette is a credible champion for responsible ranching without the tone (or message) that we shouldn’t be eating meat. Instead her focus is squarely on dispelling many of the prevailing narratives about hamburgers being an inherently bad thing for the environment.
This is our first episode of TasteDubs this year. After a quarterly release last year, we are excited to announce that we will be doing these podcasts once a month.We appreciate all of you who have supported this endeavor thus far and encourage you all to keep listening and sharing!
– Stephen & Frank