WHAT DRIVES US
Big Picture Beef aims to establish a model for producing 100% grass-fed beef that will revive the Northeast rural economy.
Our goal is not only to produce local, delicious, healthy beef, but also to rejuvenate farmland and return a fair price to farmers. We plan to expand the market opportunity for our Northeast partner farms and significantly increase the number of 100% grass-fed beef produced and sold in the region.
OUR MODEL AND METHODS
Our plan for grass-fed beef in the Northeast developed from the facts on the ground:
- The Northeast has good soil – rocky, yes, but great for grazing.
- Unlike the West, we are blessed with abundant rainfall for growing grass.
- Many family farmers here are already raising beef calves, but also have day jobs and are challenged by marketing.
- Not far from our region’s farms, we have densely populated urban areas where the demand for local, 100% grass-fed beef is growing rapidly.
But Northeast beef producers – until now – have found limited outlets for their grass-fed beef because wholesale markets (stores, institutions, and restaurants) need large volumes of meat that is consistently high-quality: that is, safe, tasty, and tender. Cooperatives that draw from a number of small livestock operations - each with its own breeds and farm practices - struggle to provide the volume and consistent quality that wholesale buyers demand.
Our program addresses this problem in several ways:
(1) We recruit Northeast farmers who are committed to raising grass-fed calves according to our standards and protocol.
(2) We provide these partnering farmers with the technical support needed to supply wholesale markets with consistent, high-quality beef.
(3) Finally, because finishing (fattening) cattle for market on pasture requires not only skill but also more time than many farmers have, we aggregate the young stock from our partner farms onto our finishing farms (also in the Northeast), where skilled graziers fatten these larger herds on pasture. This mimics the way the buffalo grazed the Great Plains, which resulted in deep, fertile topsoil.
We are proud to have developed a model for producing 100% grass-fed beef that ensures consistent high quality to wholesale customers throughout the Northeast.
Find details here about how we raise grass-fed beef using rotational grazing, cover crops, and other regenerative practices.
Farmers: To find out more about our network of farms contact us.
OUR TEAM'S LEADERS
RIDGE SHINN, CEO founded Big Picture Beef in 2016. His work with cattle stretches back to his twenties when he was herdsman for a dairy farm, but for the past 20 years he has focused on beef. Ridge was the founding director of the New England Livestock Alliance and for two years ran a slaughterhouse in Stafford Springs, CT. In 2002 he submitted a grass-fed filet mignon to a Wine Spectator competition, and this entry triumphed over the grain-fed entries, establishing that grass-fed beef can be a gourmet food. Subsequently Ridge co-founded a meat company and developed markets and distribution systems for grass-fed beef throughout the Northeast. Since then, in addition to managing his own herd, Ridge has consulted in New Zealand, England, Uruguay, Argentina, and all over North America. His work has been recognized in the Smithsonian, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and Time Magazine.
ED WAZER, COO left a successful career in engineering to start a farm, marketing fruits, vegetables, and grass-fed beef. As an engineer Ed had specialized in monitoring, evaluating, and improving processes; as a farmer he applied these skills to enhance soil and crop health. He succeeded in producing high-quality food for a 170-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), grossing 100K per acre. When we met this results-driven farmer who was passionate about regenerative agriculture, we knew we had found BPB's chief of operations. Ed oversees all aspects of our operation, and is developing efficient systems to fulfill wholesale orders for 100% grass-fed beef. He will also be communicating and collaborating on a regular basis with our livestock producers, finishing farm staff, slaughter and processing facilities, and wholesale customers.
Box 225, Hardwick, MA 01037 413-477-0181
©2017 Big Picture Beef