El Gaucho and AQUA Honored to Partner with Niman Ranch

El Gaucho is thrilled to announce our partnership with Niman Ranch to provide All-Natural Certified Angus Beef® brand Prime and Certified Angus Beef®.  Quite simply, Niman Ranch, in partnership with Certified Angus Beef®, provides the best beef available today.

Why the change?
Our guests deserve the highest quality beef, and Niman Ranch All-Natural Certified Angus Beef® delivers.  This is largely based on their incredible beef program recreated by John Tarpoff, who joined Niman Ranch in 2006.  (Niman Ranch is more than one ranch – it’s actually a co-op of over 700 independent beef, pork and lamb farmers and ranchers).  After having spent his life in all aspects of the industry, he has contributed his skills, knowledge, and passion of supporting traditional farming methods and humanely raised animals.

Tarpoff is no stranger to El Gaucho. He and El Gaucho founder Paul Mackay helped to create the Prime program with Certified Angus Beef®, which was patented in 2001 and touted as the pinnacle meat brand in the industry.  When John first ventured to Niman Ranch, there was not enough beef to supply all of El Gaucho’s properties.  Over time, however, Tarpoff worked on building Niman Ranch herd sizes and the network of family ranchers.  There are now more than 70 family ranches in the Niman Ranch beef co-op today.

Two years ago, when cattle prices began hitting record highs, and indicators were pointing toward a potential supply shortfall, Mr. Mackay, El Gaucho COO Chad Mackay, and Corporate Executive Chef Ken Sharp decided to take matters into their own hands.  Their first call was to Tarpoff.  This time, the answer was different:  “Yes, we have enough.”  The partnership with Niman Ranch ensures El Gaucho enough supply and more stable pricing than the usual precarious commodity world.

A Little Background and Terminology
Not all beef is equal.  The USDA created a grading scale to determine beef as Prime, Choice, Select, or one of several lower grades (seven in total).  Beef is mostly graded on marbling, or fat content, and maturity:  all factors that affect the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the meat.  Only the best beef produced is considered good enough for Prime, which is only the top 2%.  Certified Angus Beef® mandates an additional ten stringent specifications beyond the USDA grading scale, in order to place their Certified Angus Beef® brand Prime label on the product.

Take that top 2%, and Niman Ranch adds even more protocols.  With a focus on quality, Niman Ranch places heavy emphasis on genetics, nutrition, and animal husbandry practices.

Niman Ranch Protocols
Cattle are strictly Angus genetics, mostly because of the terrific records and traceability that the American Angus Association® has employed since their U.S. inception in 1883.  At Niman Ranch, all cattle must be traced back to their birth ranch, and have spent their entire lives in the continental US.

Cattle are fed only the finest all-vegetarian feeds, and are never given antibiotics or added hormones – ever.  They are also raised in harmony with seasonal grasses, and given enough space to roam outdoors, always having access to fresh, clean water, and, therefore, able to express their natural behaviors. Sustainability is also very important for Niman Ranchers, meaning that their methods do not damage the land or the natural resources.  Some examples they use to accomplish this are by practicing crop rotation to prevent soil erosion, and some are powered in part by alternative energy sources, like wind energy. Animal waste is used as fertilizer on crops that are frequently rotated, to help ensure soil health.

The Niman Ranch protocols might seem like a no-brainer, but most livestock today is raised in crowded factory settings and lives in polluted waste lagoons, with weights artificially boosted through a daily ration of antibiotics.  Unfortunately, these have become common agricultural practices.

What does this mean?
Quite simply, you are getting the best when you dine with us.  El Gaucho is the only restaurant group in the U.S. – and possibly the world – that serves 28-day dry-aged Niman Ranch All Natural Certified Angus Beef® steak, grilled over charcoal.

We look forward to serving you soon.

To learn more about Niman Ranch’s beef program, please visit: NimanRanch.com
For more information regarding Certified Angus Beef, visit: CertifiedAngusBeef.com


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