(Originally published February 18, 2013 on Examiner.com).
Ethical arguments aside, simply put animals not confined to pens plus fed their natural diets, free of antibiotics and growth hormones, taste better. So always striving for the best tasting food to provide their patrons, LA Chefs seek out local suppliers who humanely raise their livestock.
One such LA Chefs’ supplier, Devils Gulch Ranch, is a diversified family farm, in Nicasio, Marin County, California where the Pasternak family has been farming for over 40 years. Mark and his wife, Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), raise and sell rabbits, quail, pigs, sheep, asparagus and wine grapes to both retail and many well known restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and California. Devil’s Gulch utilizes sustainable and humane agricultural practices as well as organic ones whenever possible. Mark and his wife also founded DG Educational Services (DGES, a 501c3 non-profit) in 2008 to provide agriculture and nature educational programs for diverse communities, both locally and globally.
Devil’s Gulch has been working in Haiti since 2007 providing agricultural education, mostly for rabbit production, but have recently also become involved with coffee producers and now offer locally roasted, 100% Haitian single origin coffee direct from the mountain forests of Haiti.
Closer to home, some Los Angeles Chefs and restaurants that Devil Gulch supplies are:
• Hugo Bolanos and Tetsu Yahagi at Spago, Beverly Hills
• Josiah Citrin at Melisse
• Zach Pollack at Sotto
• David Coleman at Michael’s on Naples
• Jordan Toft at Eveleigh
• Ari Taymor at Alma
• Zachary Walters and Zach Jarrett at Salt’s Cure
Devil’s Gulch Ranch is well known for their high quality rabbits, being one of the only consistent suppliers of local, California rabbits. Their Berkshire cross pigs are finished on whole milk, brewers’ grains, tortillas, and whole wheat bread. The whole milk, in particular, makes for distinct, succulent pork that is extremely well received by discerning chefs throughout California. Their Dorset cross sheep graze in their vineyards in the winter when the vines are dormant, and are 100% pasture raised and grass fed. Devil’s Gulch Ranch has also recently added quail to their offerings, and it has become very popular.
Chefs interested in learning more? Mark can best be contacted by email at email@example.com
On a personal note, for many years of my life, I’ve been a vegetarian and vegan. This wasn’t because I didn’t like meat or didn’t believe humans are omnivores. Rather my not eating meat was in protest of commercial farming practices like concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFO] where animals confined to pens are fed grains full of antibiotics and growth hormones. I simply couldn’t support such inhumane treatment of animals and unhealthy practices.
Now though, I’m eating meat again. However when purchasing meat, I make a special effort to understand how the animals were raised, treated and fed. Yes this costs more, but I’d rather eat higher quality products less frequently than inexpensive inferior ones treated inhumanely. So it’s a lifestyle decision. Plus in making this choice, I’m actually having a greater impact on the commercial food industry than by being vegetarian since I’m using my consumer dollars to create a market for humane meat suppliers like Devil’s Gulch and other like minded small farmers.