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Located on a 120-acre farm outside of Boise, Idaho, American Ostrich Farms (AOF) provides an unexpected source of protein to American consumers. True red meat, ostrich is both high in protein and iron and low in fat and cholesterol. Compared to conventionally raised beef, ostrich production uses one-third of the freshwater, one-fiftieth of the land, and produces less than one-tenth the greenhouse gasses per pound of meat. There’s also reduced waste because virtually every part of the animal can be used to create products that consumers love.
Our customers have diverse interests and are drawn to our products for a variety of reasons. Prized for its tenderness and rich yet delicate flavor, we supply our meats to some of the nation's finest dining establishments, most prominent private chefs, and many adventurous home cooks. Recommended by both the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association and suitable for those with red meat allergies and intolerances such as those caused by tick-borne Alpha-Gal syndrome, many Americans looking to maintain or improve their health choose ostrich. Consumers committed to minimizing their environmental footprint also support our business, recognizing that ostrich meat is a responsible choice that also happens to taste amazing.
In 2012, I was living in South Africa and first had ostrich when I was training for a full-length Ironman Triathlon. Although I was on a strict training diet, I was craving red meat and ate a huge ostrich steak on a “cheat day.” I expected the inevitable food coma, but after digesting for only an hour, I went for a 16-mile run that was among the fastest I’ve ever had during my months of training. Because I realized ostrich was an option that could satisfy red meat cravings and allow us to eat healthfully at the same time, I was determined to bring it into the mainstream back in the U.S. I left my career in finance, moved back to my home state of Idaho (where the climate is coincidentally favorable for raising ostriches), and purchased a 120-acre property on the Snake River Plain that has since become the largest operation of its kind in North America.
The past few years have really been a wake-up call for many consumers. With the impact of disrupted supply chains, widespread drought, and extreme weather events, more consumers are concerned about sustainability – both in our food system and for our environment overall. In response, a growing number of plant-based substitutes have found their way onto grocery store shelves, and a lot of investment is being made in lab-cultivated meat. We’re offering a different solution: a healthy, scalable, and sustainable alternative that works within the nation's (and world’s) resource limitations while allowing consumers to enjoy red meat that is actually…meat.
American Ostrich Farms has provided the U.S. market with a new alternative protein and built a fully vertically integrated value chain in less than 10 years, something quite rare in agriculture. Some may recall an ‘ostrich boom’ that began to heat up in the late 1980s and 90s. Unfortunately, there was no domestic value chain in place at that time. The difficulty of connecting products with a sustainable consumer market due in part to logistical challenges, as well as a dearth of consumer education, along with the absence of operational frameworks that would allow farmers to scale production, ultimately led to the industry’s demise by the early 2000s.
Following much research and a lot of trial and error, we have established ourselves as the industry leader, developing many agricultural innovations – from feed formulas to breeding programs to ranch infrastructure and the virtues of complete vertical integration – that have allowed our business to achieve what so many others failed to before us: an economically viable, scalable, and sustainable ostrich farming operation that doesn’t compromise on product quality or humane husbandry practices.
When you have a particular vision of what you want to achieve, one of the biggest challenges is cultivating patience. There's a tendency to want to go after every great opportunity and to scale as quickly as possible. While growth is something every business strives for, sustainable growth requires slowing down enough to really examine the best path forward and making time to reflect along the way in order to always evaluate and improve judgment and decision-making.
This article was originally published by Go Solo.
We understand being hesitant to spend money on something unfamiliar, but don't let fear of the unknown stop you. We stand behind our products and are very confident you'll love them. If you're disappointed in your purchase for any reason, we'll refund your order, up to $100.