Cafe Society

Northern Arapaho tribe's deal with Whole Foods falls apart

The idea sounded so good: In "Meat with Meaning at Whole Foods," his May 2009 post, Tyler Nemkov described how Whole Foods had contracted with California-based Panorama Meats to buy organic, grass-fed beef from a ranch owned by the Northern Arapaho tribe on the Wind River reservation. "If I'm going to buy a few nice steaks this summer, these are the people I want my money going to," Nemkov wrote.

But Nemkov can hold onto his wallet. The idea that was announced with much ceremony -- including a "prairie chicken" dance at the Belmar Whole Foods -- fell apart in March.

According to John Lancaster, who wrote about it for WyoFile, the tribe pulled its beef after a "price dispute" with Paramount, and are now selling their cattle in the traditional beef market. "We weren't making a profit," Harvey Spoonhunter, chairman of the tribe's business council, told Lancaster. "it just wasn't a good fit."

That's a different story than Spoonhunter offered Nemkov fourteen months ago: "During this economic downturn, it's hard to find the words to express what this means to the Arapaho tribe."

We'll bet he can find some new words now.

Read Lancaster's excellent story here.

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Contact: Patricia Calhoun