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Articles by Darby Minow Smith

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When your family owns a Montana cattle ranch, it seems like selling beef to a friend should be easy enough. David Balatero, an old boyfriend’s bandmate, wanted good meat from a small ranch, and he knew my family could provide it. Once while waiting in line at a trendy barbecue joint, I had described our slice of river valley land and the people who worked it. And for a holiday dinner at his house, I brought the prime rib.

So when David said he’d like to buy some beef from us, I wanted to accommodate. Every year, my family puts aside a few animals for just this purpose. The rest get sold on the conventional market, but the calves that stay behind plump up on alfalfa until they’re ready to fill the deep freezes of our horse veterinarian or tax guy.

But Balatero lives in Seattle, so if he wanted our beef, he’d have to pick it up — and I couldn’t blame him for not wanting to drive a Prius full of melting chuck for 10 hours through winding passes across the Rocky Mountains.

There are a lot of Davids in the world: People who love beef, but who also care about the impact of our conventional agriculture system on farmers, animals, and the environment. They wou... Read more

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