The California-based Panorama selects farms if "they follow Panorama's raising protocols, which mandate 100 percent grass-fed and 100 percent grass-finished cattle. Also, they must be USDA-certified organic," says CEO Mack Graves.
In May 2009, Panorama, Whole Foods and the Arapaho Ranch in Wyoming teamed up to bring the Native American tribe's beef to Whole Foods, announcing the arrangement in an elaborate ceremony at the Lakewood store. But the deal between Panorama and the Arapaho tribe didn't last long .
"It was mostly a matter of price," David Stoner, who manages the Arapaho Ranch herd, says of the falling out. "I'm not saying anything against Panorama or Whole Foods, because they're trying to do what we believe in as well -- which is marketing and promoting sustainable products in environmentally conscious ways."
The deal's dissolution was actually positive for Panorama, Graves says, because it allows the company to have beef that is "now being raised by a group of family ranchers rather than one big ranch. This allows Panorama to more efficiently raise cattle year-round because of the variety of growing seasons."
Kiowa Valley Organics is a perfect example of a small, family-run ranch. It is only 500 acres (compared to Arapaho Ranch's 595,000), and since the beef is raised within fifty miles of Boulder's Whole Foods, it can be considered a local product.
The ranch is run by a husband-and-wife team, David Rippe and Sara Bevan. As Rippe explains their simple philosophy on Panorama's website: "We both believe we should be constantly improving the land rather than depleting it. My intention is to leave the land in better condition than I found it."