Ever wonder where the term “natural meat” comes from? Would you be surprised to learn the original definition is far different from how the USDA defines it today?
Tracey Ryder, co-founder of Edible Communities, sat with someone who might know a bit of that story—Mel Coleman, Jr., a fifth generation rancher from the Coleman ranching legacy of Colorado, and a driving force today behind the Coleman Natural Foods brand.
Tracey Ryder: Hello everyone. It’s a pleasure to be with you today. My name is Tracey Ryder and I’m the co-founder of Edible Communities. We’re a network of over 75 independently owned and operated food magazines across the U.S. and Canada. And we decided we’d love to talk to some of our favorite thought leaders, companies, organizations that are doing really wonderful things in the food industry today, especially with the fact that we’re living in a time where people are more concerned than ever about the foods that they’re eating and making for their families and have a lot of questions about what’s safe and what’s not safe.
And so today it is a great pleasure of mine to be with my friend Mel Coleman, who is a fifth generation rancher from the Coleman ranching legacy of Colorado. And still a driving force today behind the Coleman Natural Foods brand. So welcome Mel, and thank you for heading down to Northern New Mexico and sharing this time with us.
Mel Coleman: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here. So, I look forward to it.
TR: Thanks. And as I said, fifth generation, so there’s a lot of history behind the Coleman family and Coleman ranching legacy. And I’d love if we could start today by having you just kind of summarize that history. I think I know in 2025, I think it’s going to be 150 year old legacy. So it’s a little hard to summarize in a few minutes, but I’m hoping that you can give us some history, especially with regard to your dad, Mel Sr. And then throughout our time today, we’ll talk about some history and then we’ll talk about what’s happening today with Coleman Natural Foods and where it’s going in the future.
MC: Okay, well, thank you. And to give a little bit of history, if I can, I’m going to jump back a little bit further to when the settlers first came out. And what they were doing is that they were looking for land that had grasslands, had water and had shelter. And so a lot of the small towns, even the big cities were founded originally around those types of areas, which were highly agricultural production lands. And so it’s kind of the same with cattle ranching. You do it in grasslands so in the summertime you can harvest the hay for winter feed and then run the cattle up in the mountains in the summertime on grasslands.
And our family actually came a year before Colorado was a state. Settled in the small town of Saguache, Colorado. And then all the ranches would turn their cattle out under rangelands.
And then soon in the early 1900’s, it became evident that what was happening was so many cattle that were concentrated into basically the lowlands and creek bottoms that they were overgrazing. And so my grandfather, my dad was younger then, but my grandfather began to realize, as did the forest service and the BLM that there was overgrazing going on. And so they really became conservationists way back in the twenties and the thirties and started looking… And so they practiced on things. If you took the cattle off the land, it didn’t really help. And so putting the cattle back on the land and then grazing them for a period of time, short period of time, and then moving them to a different location, helped.
So as time went on, what we were doing is cattle were sold back in those days. The gold mining rush was going on in Leadville. And there was cattle that were either being driven or taken by train often up to some of the gold mines. And then as time went on, what we did on our ranch is raised calves, which when they were weaned were sold into the commodity markets.
So kind of jumping forward, in the seventies, in the late seventies, interest rates were really high. The cattle market was really down and dad was at the kitchen table and he said, “I don’t know what we’re going to do.” He had four brothers and the ranch was bigger and the bank was knocking at the door and my sister-in-law and brother were going to the University of Colorado.
And Nancy came up and she said, “Mel,” she said, “Some of the students at the University of Colorado and some of the people in Boulder are looking for meats that have been raised with no antibiotics or growth hormones.”
And dad made a comment that kind of the hair rose up on his arms. He just had this epiphany and said, “Well, where do you shop?” And she said, “Well, we kind of shop at a couple of natural food stores in Boulder.” And so he said, “Well, I can raise that kind of beef and I’ll just call it natural beef.”
So rather than selling some of the calves, he fattened them up, took him to a harvesting plant and where the USDA inspector is. And so when the brand came off the cattle, he wanted to make sure that ours were identified. And so he made an ink roller and he rolled the carcass with natural. Then the USDA inspector said, “What the heck are you doing? You can’t do that.” And dad said, “Well, the heck I can’t, it’s our beef.” And he said, “No, you’re not going to do that.”
And with all the stress and tension of the bank, knocking at the door, having to save these calves back and everything he said, “Well, I can do it.” And the guy says, “Listen, I have authority to throw you in jail.” “No you can’t.” Dad said, “Well, what do I do then?” And he said, “You need to go to the regional office.”
So long story short, about a year later, after going to the regional office and then to Washington D.C., he established the first definition for natural, that talked about the way that cattle were raised. Raised with never using any antibiotics or no growth hormones. And that was the first label. And dad had written all the standards out, had the veterinarian sign a bunch of affidavits and a number of other people so they could trace the cattle back to when they were born.
And so that was the original definition and it pertained to all meats.
And then about within a year, the USDA changed the definition so that you could call a product natural if it was minimally processed and contained no artificial ingredients.
The problem is everything in the world qualifies for that.
MC: So now you get all the confusion and everything. So for decades, what we’ve been trying to do is to educate consumers and use the labeling to do it. And to talk about natural is how the animal was raised. And so that’s been an ongoing process for anybody that’s doing natural.
Unfortunately, there was a whole lot of people that call just regular commodity product natural because it was minimally processed and didn’t contain any artificial ingredients.
TR: Exactly. So, and your dad was the very first person to have a USDA certification for natural beef.
MC: Yes. He basically started that whole category.
TR: Started that category. Yeah. And then after a while, Coleman moved away from beef and went into the hog industry. And do you think you’re going to come back to beef for where is it today and what kind of products do you have under Coleman Natural Foods?
MC: Yeah, the story behind that is, is that as we began to get a little bit bigger, we needed to have some investment money. So we had venture capitalists that came in and then the second round of people came in. What they did is that they bought Petaluma Poultry, Coleman, and Penn Valley Farms. And so there was a group of about four or five, I think maybe six companies that were put together. And at that time, the Coleman brand was more well-known than the other ones. So they changed the name from Coleman Natural Beef to Coleman Natural Foods. And so we had pork, we had chicken and we had beef.
TR: And so what about today? So you still have pork, chicken, beef under the larger brand today?
MC: So, Coleman Natural Foods right now is primarily natural pork.
TR: One of the things reading the history of your family and your dad was quite a visionary. He did have the hair stand up on his arms when he heard that there’s a market for natural.
But the other things he really seemed to care about and I know you do as well, which I think is really relevant to our readers is that there’s also, it goes beyond the fact that there are no growth hormones and antibiotics in the product. And that it’s so traceable and pure, but there’s also this care. Obviously, the animals are raised very high in a very humane environment.
There’s care for natural resources, like the grasslands and water, that it seems to go beyond just the product itself.
MC: And the answer to that about hormones and antibiotics and animal care and everything. It really goes back to the fact of about being stewards. And I think that what farmers and ranchers are are stewards of natural resources, livestock, and in the case of building brand, we’re not stewards of other people. But what we do is that we actually create partnership with those rays, whether it’s pork or beef or chickens in the case of the chicken program.
Hormones, obviously, were used to promote growth.
Antibiotics were used two different ways. First of all, to treat disease. But then what happened is that the industry found out that you could use a sub-therapeutic level of antibiotics and it actually makes the feeding process and okay, you can put on more weight, make it more efficient if you mix in antibiotics. Because antibiotics would cut down the bacteria level in the gut. And so we knew that we couldn’t say, “Well, we only use antibiotics sometime.”
So the original thing with no antibiotics ever is that obviously if an animal gets sick, the first thing you do is you treat it. Every farmer and rancher cares about the life of an animal. And so you treat it. But then what we would do is that we would tag that animal and not use it. We would sell it into another market, to an alternative market.
But in terms of animal welfare, for example, one of the things that Coleman pork is right now, is that we’re the largest company that does crate free, both in gestation crates and in farrowing crates. So that basically, what the industry’s moved to, for a lot of different reasons, but mostly efficiency, is that most hogs pretty much spend most of their life in a pen that’s about the size of a coffin. Pretty small area. Can’t turn around. And so a crate free program allows those animals a lot more room to kind of live a natural lifestyle.
TR: Absolutely. And I think all the things that we’re talking about here today are the things that just make consumers’ heads want to explode, right? They’re so confused. The term “natural” has come to mean so many things. I think people are very, especially our readers, they’re very smart. And they know now, they’re voting with their forks all the time when they make choices.
But one of the things that also is a great concern, especially now with our economy having such struggles that we’re facing since COVID came along is the cost of these high quality things.
And I think one of the things I’ve noticed about Coleman is that it seems to be accessible to a great number of people. It’s not a commodity product, it’s a special product. It’s much healthier, it’s raised in a more humane way, but you’ve also managed to do that in a way to make it accessible to a great number of families.
MC: Yeah. And the way that we’ve tried to make it… Two things, one is accessible, but also affordable. And so, in the early days of Coleman, basically our market was in a lot of the natural foods stores, some of the specialty stores around the country. And I’m going to say, kind of with the regeneration of the Coleman brand and my current involvement, our goal is to try to provide consumers in mainline supermarkets with a product that is clean, that’s natural from birth, meets all the standards and everything that we originally started, and yet be more affordable, and more accessible, and convenient.
TR: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I think that’s really commendable, especially in the world we live in. I mean there’s… We often hear the high cost of food is one of the things that prevents a lot of people from having the access. And I think it’s just amazing.
What are some of the challenges you face today that are similar or different than what your dad faced back in the ’70s? All things come around and recircle, just-
MC: Sure. I think some of the challenges that we face today, compared, say 30 years ago, or longer, is that the vision has remained the same, but the mission, and the way that you accomplish that has changed. Coleman got out of the beef business, and I’ll go back if I can to when Coleman Natural Foods started. So they had the pork division, they had the chicken division, and they had the beef division.
And investment bankers and venture capitalists get, buy company, so that the company becomes the product. And so the beef division was sold off. And so that’s been a number of years ago. And when the beef division sold off, then Coleman basically had two products. Okay. The pork product, and there’s still a branded chicken under Coleman.
What we’re going to do is, we’re going to get back into the beef business, but we want to make sure that we do it the right way. See, some of the challenges that we have today… Okay, the vision is the same, but the mission, the way that we accomplish that’s a little bit different.
Early on, what we did is, obviously, you want to follow the same standards. And today, what we’re trying to do is that ag viability, and making sure that we’re not necessarily always tied to the commodity markets, that we pay a premium for people to raise livestock.
And farmers and ranchers are producers that make money. They’re conservationists, they’ll invest that into more sustainable practices. Taking better care of animals. And so the challenges today, especially with COVID, has been, maybe not as much on the producer side and the processing side, bringing the product to the consumer, but all of a sudden, consumers were in a situation where, rather than cooking a few meals a week and eating out, now you’re cooking 21.
And so, one of our main focuses is, is to provide consumers with recipes. I mean, you were a tremendous help in that. You’re involved in that. And we want to show, hey, there’s a number of ways, you can use bacon, you can use ham, you can use sausages, you can use pork chops for every meal, in one form or another.
And one of the things that’s always been important to me is that I’ve seen how much food is wasted. You go to restaurants and people don’t eat all the food, and there’s so much food waste. Leftovers are… There’s great things that you can do with leftovers. Sometimes I prefer eating the leftover than I do the original meal. And so we want to try to engage consumers whether it’s through social media or on our website, on how you can take one particular product and use it for several different meals, or a snack, how you can use the leftovers.
And that’s a focus that, if you go from farm to fork, consumers end there. Because the consumer’s the one that’s holding the fork.
TR: Exactly. I think that’s such an important point to bring up. And I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of Coleman product. And creating recipes. And we actually had this part of a conversation about this this morning about liking the leftovers more than the main meal. And I think that’s one of the things that consumers are very interested in today. It’s like, okay, I have this ham, and we have ham, and something with it for dinner. And then for lunch the next day we can have ham salad. And then we can have a soup.
We just did a ribollita soup with ham and that. There were three or four meals. And it makes it that much more economical. I mean, one of the things that we also touched on was how we always talk about how there’s not enough food being produced to feed all the people in the world, but if we solve the question of food waste we would have plenty of food produced in the world to feed everybody.
So that’s really one of the problems that, I think as a food system we still have to address more and more.
It occurs to me, recently we held an event in Santa Fe called Edible Institute, in January. And we had a couple of livestock meat producers there who were talking about labeling. And I was thinking how Coleman is really a true product made in the USA. It’s raised and created. How important do you think that is to consumers now? Because I know with labeling, there’s a lot of meat that comes into the US that’s really not US, but it can be labeled that way in certain circumstances.
MC: Yeah. It could be labeled that way if it’s processed here. I think that… And that’s one of the other changes that we’ve made, is that we’d always let people know that all of our farmers and ranchers are in the United States, from the United States, and we’re vertically integrated from that aspect.
But I think now more than ever, that’s one of the things that we’re going to focus on, to let everybody know that this product is coming from our own economy. It’s coming from our own communities, our neighboring farmers and ranchers. The United States is a big, big place, unlike Europe or other places that are more congregated.
But, we want to use the… Dad always used to say, the land needs to be used in its highest and best use. And livestock, especially in the western part of the United States, 64% of the United States area is grasslands. And livestock can convert that into… Grass is a renewable resource. And you convert that into a high protein food that we need.
TR: And we’ve learned now, without being short of overgrazing, having animals on the land actually regenerates soil. Which soil is one of our greatest resources. And that we can sequester carbon that way. Yeah.
MC: Right. It’s interesting. If you go back and look at what the buffalo did before settlers came, and freeways, and everything, there was very large herds. And there was a very, very large migration area that went even up into southern Canada. What the buffalo did, is that they would come through the land, they would be there for a short period of time, and they would basically eat everything that’s there. But while they’re there, there’s seeds, in desert country especially, or in moderately arid areas, they would step on a seed and their hoof print would make a little cup. You get a little bit of rainfall, and then now you’ve got a new sprig of grass. And when you let that land rest, and as the buffalo would move on, actually increased grass density.
So when I was in high school, and actually grade school and high school, in the large areas that we ran cattle on the national forest and BLM land, we broke these really large areas up into pastures. So you would heavily graze it, move the cattle to a different pasture, and then you would rotate and let that land rest.
And dad, over a 50 year period of time, there were some old, old pioneer graveyards that were well-fenced off. And he would measure… He would take that area, take another area exactly the same size. And over a 50 year period of time, and every five years he would count all the plants inside the graveyard, and in the same area outside, and we actually increased grass density. When you increase grass density you improve the watershed, and the other thing that you do, is you sequester more carbon.
MC: And so, the right… I was talking about stewardship earlier. And so we’ve got all these natural resources. And if we steward them correctly, what they’ll do is that they’ll not only solve a lot of environmental problems, but they improve the watershed, which in high country like in Colorado, where you’ve got five major rivers that supply water for an irrigation water for a lot of farmland. You take care of those high mountain pastures and meadows, and what it does is that it allows the streams, the watershed collects more water, allows the streams to flourish and allows more water to flow to farmlands.
TR: That’s amazing. Yeah. I remember my dad saying that a whole ecosystem could be viewed in 12 inches of good soil if you just paid attention.
Talk a little more about that, Mel, cattle are brought to the higher country in the summer where there’s grass to feed on, rotated around. One of the things that’s so great about the Coleman story is you are a Coleman, you’re fifth generation. And I think at one point the ranch covered 300,000 acres of land. What was it like growing up in that environment? And what are some of the things you learned growing up in that environment that sort of informed who you are today?
MC: Some of the things that I learned about as a kid, well, I think some of the things were instilled within us where it was hard work. And sometimes what you’re doing when you’re working really hard and it’s a hot day and you’re kind of wishing you were doing something else, but at the end of the day there’s a great joy with that, and a great deal of satisfaction. Quite frankly, I wish that every city kid had the opportunity for one summer to work on a farmer ranch, because I think that there’s a whole lot of values, that’s another thing that we learned. There’s values, do the job right.
And then when we got into the natural side of it, integrity came a very, very important part.
Is that you have to do what you say you’re going to do or say what you’re going to do, and then do what you say you’re going to do.
MC: And that was always important, but I think that the other part that was really important was family and community. I think that there’s a whole lot of values that our country is founded on, that comes out of those rural communities. I think it’s a strong foundation. Agriculture is a very strong foundation to any culture.
TR: Truly, one of the pillars I know that your dad really cared about in addition to the humane care of animals and the care of natural resources was the preservation of rural lifestyles and the preservation of rural communities.
MC: Right. Yeah.
TR: If we think about it, I mean, cattle and hogs are not being raised in cities. These are families and that live in very rural areas. I think that’s just one of the things I’m personally very passionate about as well. How do we do a better job of that? I mean, that’s a very complicated-
MC: Well, I think how we do a better job of that and I’m all for local farmers, but I go back to the highest and best use of the resources, highest and best use of the land.
And sometimes maybe it’s not so important to put livestock on land if it’s land that’s really rich in soil, maybe it’d maybe a better place to raise vegetables or fruits or whatever. And so local is very, very important. And there’s a lot of models that you go, if you look in Europe where things are a lot tighter and closer, it’s much more of a local market. But with so much imported product coming in, if you look at the main agricultural land in the middle part of the United States in terms of farming and then livestock, obviously in that part, but into the Western 17 States where cattle and other livestock are produced.
It is local when you look at it from a standpoint of how much product is being imported right now. And the West of the best place to raise cattle. In the Midwest, the best place to raise crops, the soils fits that, the climate fits that, the water fits that. And in the West a lot of these mountain areas, you can’t farm it, the terrain is too rough. You don’t have enough moisture, but what you can do is that you use that land to the highest and best use.
And so I think that when we talk about local, I think it talks about right around communities. But I think when you look at 300 million people in the United States to feed and then export product that we have leftover to other countries that are in need of food, we have to utilize these larger areas that are not densely populated to raise food. And in that sense to me, it’s local.
TR: That’s really interesting. Now, living in this time of COVID, we’re four months into this now. So we’ve seen empty supermarket shelves. We’ve seen, obviously everybody knows there’s a great shortage of toilet paper suddenly in the United States, but what is Coleman done to help ensure that products are still available to consumers everywhere?
MC: During COVID, the thing that we tried to ensure was obviously to get product to consumers, but first of all, and most importantly is to make sure that we put all kinds of safety measures in our plants, where people are congregated. We put protocols in our office on what we were going to do. And we were very fortunate to dodge the bullet, so to speak on that.
But equally as important was for us to make sure that the commitments that we made to the farmers that are in our program, that we would take their livestock. And we did that, and it was hard to do because we had cut back on some shifts, but we took everything that we were committed to take. That’s important because during COVID believe it or not, there were hog farmers that were losing $50 a head. We took all those animals and we kept with that commitment.
TR: That’s, again, such an important point because we all heard the horror stories about all the food that had to be dumped or that spoiled, or that animals were being euthanized, because when the bigger much bigger meat producers had to shut processing plants down, those animals had nowhere to go. They could not get them to consumers. I mean, I think that’s one great argument about smaller, right? Because you’re able to pivot faster, compensate, keep your commitments to farmers where other companies can’t. I mean, you never had to shut down your processing plant. Right?
MC: No, we didn’t. So I think that one of the learnings that would come out of COVID is that with all the concentration that we have in the livestock industry, in terms of the concentration with the big packers and the bigger companies, I think that the learning that comes out of that is that there’s maybe wisdom in going back to smaller, regionally based plants that are close to where the livestock are raised, so that if there is a COVID outbreak in one plant, it doesn’t affect such massive numbers of livestock.
TR: So there’s a hope that a company like Coleman could have influence over some of these bigger brands to do things in a different way.
MC: Well, I think that the influence that Coleman has over larger companies is that finally, I talked about all the venture capital people that were involved in the past with Coleman. And now Coleman is owned by a private company, Perdue Farms.
And there couldn’t be a better company for us to be involved with. And one of the things that dad wanted to do is to see the reduction of the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics. We were always for treating animals if they were sick, but to reduce that massive amount that was used in livestock feeds.
And Perdue is one of the large poultry companies that actually took the lead in getting rid of antibiotics. And so it’s a great company to be a parent company to us, and to be partners with and trying to do progressive type things, more involvement with farmers and our producers through the entire supply chain.
TR: It’s wonderful, so often we don’t hear stories like that, and it really is great and Perdue’s family as well. And here we are almost a decade later and it’s allowed Coleman to grow and thrive and head in new directions as well.
Are there any new projects on the horizon that are coming up possibly that you can tell us about?
MC: Well, some of the new ideas and some of the things that are on the horizon that we’re doing, actually some of the things that have been done, and that is that now not only does Coleman have its own, we basically have our own plant. Okay. We have our own case ready plant. Our harvest facility for example is 100% wind powered. And recently what we did is that in an effort to try to make our program more efficient and to reduce a lot of the transportation and processing costs and everything to make a better value for consumers recently what we did is that we purchased a processing Alexander Horning and make artisan hams and sausages and hot dogs and that type of thing.
So those are things that we’ve recently done that’s going to make us better.
But to answer the question specifically on what are we going to do in the future, Coleman is going to get back into the beef business. We are right now for some private label product that we’re making for customers, hot dogs, but we’re going to expand that into other new products. And so that we can get, not only continue to expand our pork program and some of the things that we’re doing there, in terms of animal welfare. I’ve mentioned that we’re crate free and that’s been a big step and yet still maintain it being affordable and accessible.
TR: And, and talk a little bit also about American Humane and why you decided to have that certification be part of Coleman.
MC: The certification, I think, and really what’s important, Tracey, is the audits. That’s because we already had our standards. And a lot of the certification companies have their own standards. And so the reason that we picked American Humane is that they’re an organization that’s not only worldwide, but what they do is that they’re not only concerned about livestock, but they’re concerned about zoo animals, they’re concerned about the animals that are used in film production. And they’re doing projects in, in Africa.
Every time there’s a disaster or something, what they did is that they American Humane did a major effort in Haiti for animals, pets, that that were just out there wandering around. And so not only are they a great auditing company, but part of the reason that we chose them is because of their size and because not only are they just concerned about what we’re doing, but they’re concerned about animals everywhere. So it’s been a great relationship and a great partnership with them.
TR: That’s really wonderful. And along those lines, I know that you’re involved with some charitable work as well with the Pups for Patriots program. Can you tell us more about that?
MC: So the Pups for Patriots program and our involvement there. It’s interesting, what we wanted to do is that … well, I’ll talk about three different things. The thing that’s necessary. The thing that’s necessary is for us to provide consumers with great tasting pork.
And then we try to do some fun things. So we came up with a Budweiser barbecue collection by Coleman, and that’s a set of products that they’re all using our product, but we did it in conjunction, and so it’s got beer powder in there.
And so that was kind of a fun thing, but we also want to do something that’s meaningful for our community and for the people around. And so the Pups for Patriot program is what really rang a bell with me, and saddened me is the number of vets that have got PTSD, but commit suicide every day.
And they can train dogs to sense when a vet is in that kind of a situation where you kind of zone out a little bit and start contemplating those things and they just save lives. And so we, we have a great partnership.
We’ll donate probably close when it’s all said and done a million dollars toward that. It takes about $20,000 to train the dog and the vet, because they kind of both need to be trained. And so several months ago, I was at the graduation where they graduated six sets, and it was really moving. And so, that’s giving back.
I think the other thing that we did during COVID well, Pups for Patriots during COVID is very important because everybody got focused on COVID and we didn’t want to leave these vets alone. We didn’t want to get away from that.
But what we did do during COVID is that we also donated product to different food banks in key locations so that we could help share what we have with those that don’t.
TR: So Mel, as we’ve mentioned, we’re four months into COVID now, and everybody has been quarantined since March. So how are you and your wife, Kathy holding up with that and what are you cooking at home?
MC: So Kathy and I, during COVID, and what we’ve been cooking. Well, to answer the first part of the question, it’s been kind of neat. Because I did probably traveling 40 or 50% of the time. And so that’s been really good, and been working from home.
But what we’ve been doing is that’s really where … because I’m eating every meal at home. And so I had talked earlier about leftovers and about how you can use the same product for different things in the same day and yet be a totally different dish. And so, we’ve kind of hung a lot about, I’ve eaten a lot of our kielbasa, it’s really great.
And we’ve had some ham rows and chops and things, but probably the ribs are what we, if you said, “Well, what he’d been overdosing on?” It’s been the ribs. And then obviously we chicken and beef and other products as well, but on the pork side, those are kind of some of the items that we’ve been using a lot.
TR: Well, I really agree with you about the kielbasa. I love it. And I actually find myself daydreaming about new ways to use it and try it in different things. It’s actually quite delicious.
MC: Yeah. It’s a great item. Yeah.
TR: Ribs, I mean, who doesn’t love ribs? That’s great.
Mel, is there anything that I haven’t asked you today or anything that we have not covered that you would like to let our readers know about?
MC: In terms of some of the things I guess that I would say is that it’s pretty exciting to be in this time. We’re going to learn a lot. We’ve learned that what we’re doing in my opinion, is the right thing. Whether it was with farmers in the way that we backed them, whether it’s in the plants, where we reacted quickly, and we put safety precautions in our plant way before other people did. And we had a contingency plan in our office that when we decided that we were going to start working from home, we’d already practiced that. So we basically didn’t have any glitches. But we suddenly realized that, and we acted quickly. We called you and said, “Hey, can you put a bunch of recipes together for us?” Because what we want to do is that we want to engage consumers and say, “If you’re cooking a lot of meals, here’s a lot ideas on how you can do it. Here’s a lot of ways you can use leftovers.”
And I think that that’s helped a lot. So we’ve increased what we’re doing with social media. We put a lot of stuff on our website, which is simple, it’s just Colemannatural.com. And so I’m excited about the way we move forward, because we’ve learned a lot through this. And we found out that a lot of the planning that we’ve done worked and it’s made us better people and it’s made us a better company. But that all said, we can’t wait until things relax, and we can all get back together.
TR: Exactly. Well, I think we’re all craving that. To emphasize that again, how too many times, I think people think, well, they see a pork chop at a supermarket and well, here’s a pork chop in a supermarket. But the life of an animal, it doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t go from here to there that quickly. And to keep that commitment to a farmer who has invested so much time and resources into raising animals in a humane way, which to standards that aren’t the easiest thing for farmers to do. They have to really make commitments to you as well. And I just think that virtual circle and knowing that that is part of our food system is so important. And especially, I know for our readers, it’s something they care about so deeply.
So I really want to thank you and thank Coleman for doing the good job that you do, and for taking care of farmers and ensuring that a really high quality, beautiful food is available to so many more families, than some much more expensive choices, but they’re equally as healthy and as delicious, that’s so important.
We’re going to get to do this a couple of more times throughout the year. We’re to actually follow you and go through all the seasons of the life of the animals and the process of everything Coleman does. So I’m going to look forward to our next installment and hopefully, we’ll be able to shake hands or have a hug then too.
MC: Yeah, exactly. Right.
TR: Anyway. Thank you very much, Mel. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today.
MC: Thank you. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
Find out more about Coleman Natural Foods, American Humane and the Pups for Patriots Program at colemannatural.com.