Natural Grocers selected Thousand Hills because of its “exceptional quality, humane-handling standards and because the cattle are raised on independent, family-owned U.S. farms,” the companies say.
Natural Grocers’ meat standards for all unprocessed, fresh and frozen meat, include humane raising requirements, no hormones, no growth promoting drugs, no use of antibiotics and no animal by-products at a minimum, and non-genetically modified feed is always preferred.
“People expect animals to be on the land grazing with room to express their natural behaviors, treated humanely and not given antibiotics or drugs to unnaturally accelerate their growth—but that isn’t the norm,” said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers’ EVP. “We offer meat that matches the quality standards our customers are looking for. The best thing about our standards is that we make this incredible quality affordable, and our customers really appreciate this.”
“Unfortunately, the USDA’s standards do not match up with what consumers want and expect when they see 100 percent grass-fed on the label,” Isely added, noting that the USDA allows meat to be labeled as 100-percent grass fed even if cattle are confined in feed lots and fed distillers’ grains, GMO alfalfa and antibiotics. “Our customers tell us they expect the animals to be out on pasture, grazing their entire lives, no antibiotics, no hormones, no growth promoters and no GMOs. We want our customers to be confident that the grass-fed beef they are serving their families is truly grass fed and matches their expectations.”
Thousand Hills’ cattle are raised on American ranches throughout the Midwest and Great Plains and are 100 percent grass-fed and lifetime grazed.
“At Thousand Hills we focus on one mission: nourishing soil, plants, cattle and people by holistically grazing cattle for their lifetime,” said Matt Maier, chief grass farmer and owner of Thousand Hills. “There are many compromises and shortcuts that can be taken with grass-fed beef, but we don’t believe in shortcuts and do strongly believe that keeping cattle grazing on the land benefits the cattle, soil, grasslands, environment and the final nutrient-dense product we enjoy.”
Natural Grocers offers 100-percent organic produce, conscientiously raised meats, 100-percent free-range eggs, 100-percent pasture-based dairy, non-GMO prepackaged bulk products, groceries that don’t contain any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or hydrogenated oils and more. Based in Colorado, the company has more than 3,000 employees and operates 145 stores in 19 states.