A couple of years ago after one of Dan’s talks at a Patagonia store in California, a young gentleman walked up and introduced himself. His name was Jesse Solomon and much like us, he was trying to change the environment through our food system. He was just getting the final pieces in place for his sustainably raised chicken business, Emmer & Co. Jesse mentioned that he used our philosophy and business model in his approach. Intrigued, we exchanged business cards and said we would keep in touch.
For a few years now, we’ve wanted to offer another protein for our customers to
Our daughter Jilian dabbled with raising chickens and although successful, her experiment was on a very small scale (100 chickens). Our drastic seasonal changes on the Great Plains and harsh weather conditions conspired to limit production. But, her test gave us an inside look at how chickens could and should be raised for food.
Months later, I reached out to Jesse and ordered a dozen chickens. We passed them out to friends so they could give them a try and did our own in-house testing. To quote Dan, “This is the best chicken I’ve ever had.” Still, we needed to know more. As consumers ourselves, it is easy to be swept up in the marketing hype and packages covered with certifications. We’ve seen firsthand that what’s stamped on a package doesn’t often line up what the consumer imagines or has been led to imagine. We needed to see for ourselves. We needed to meet with Jesse and meet the farmers.
One year later (all good things take time) our resident chicken expert, daughter Jilian and I headed to California to do just that. We met Jesse in a parking lot in Red Bluff and wound our way through the California countryside to the Big Bluff Ranch, a 2,776-acre, off-the-grid ranch owned by the Dawley family.
The Dawley’s (Frank, Vicky, Tyler, Holly, Evelyn and George) greeted us warmly along with their ranch security—comprised of many large dogs, which made us feel right at home. Tyler was our guide and as we walked among the happy outdoor chickens. He spoke with passion about the holistic management approach of the ranch, including; the grass, soil and the restoration projects they are working on.
He talked about how they came to chickens, their learning curves, pasture rotation, composting for redistribution on degraded soil areas—all in the name of creating a “happy” chicken farm business model that could be duplicated.
When Jesse met Tyler and the Dawley family, the stars started to align and they knew that together they would be able to improve the environment as well as give the consumer a
Emmer & Co.’s mission, product and people met our expectations, allowing us to confidently and proudly offer their product to our customers. Here are a few “bullet points” on their product:
We hope you join us in supporting another truly sustainable business and the producers who are helping improve our environment and food system!