#FOURUSA | A Day In The Life Of…

17 Jun 2014
3 min read
John & Kyle Robinson of Walling & Spencer tell us about their passion for raising grass-fed beef on a native prairie in South Dakota.

We wake up quite early in our family. Actually, each morning starts out with John, my husband, waking up very early between 4:00-4:30am, which is when he is doing his most creative thinking and best work. I can smell the coffee brewing as I awake a little before 6:00am, snuggled up with our wire-hair Jack Russell terrier, Foxy. By the time I awake, John has solved multiple issues related to being an entrepreneur. Today, he is finalising our new packaging – a freshly designed cardboard box displaying Walling & Spencer’s signature blue and iconic symbol. This box will hold the grass-fed beef and sustainable seafood, which arrives at the customer’s doorstep. John and I review what needs to be addressed that day before I head out for my morning walk with Foxy.

Spring/summer time is the happiest time in South Dakota because the kinder, more gentle mother nature makes her debut. We made it through the harsh winter snow, cold winds and minus temperatures. Today, I am especially grateful to have sunshine and a blue sky that looks close enough to touch.

I am working from home this morning, which is a treat. A few months ago, we decided to re-brand our business and move to a more powerful, stable e-commerce platform, so our consumers could have a better online shopping experience. Keeping the consumer in mind is always first and foremost in my business decision-making. We produce and sell artisan foods, with our signature, premier product: grass-fed beef raised on native prairie grasses. Producing healthy food is a passion of ours. In fact, we started the company because we are interested in food that tastes great, comes from trustworthy sources, offers health benefits and supports a worthy cause. We also want to give back to our natural resources and land – not take from them. Grass-based agriculture allows for that and gives back to mother nature. Our “black baldies” (cattle) are raised on the finest native prairie grasses in the Prairie Coteau region. I like to say we may have discovered the “Napa Valley of Beef”.

Looking at all of the site’s recipe photos is making me hungry, so I head to the kitchen to fix some lunch. Creating, making, producing high-quality food truly is an art. We have learned so much over the past year as we launched our new company. Both John and I come from very different backgrounds. His is vested in medicine and scientific research. Mine is in marketing, communications and sales. Yet, both of us have a desire to lead healthy, productive lives. Our focus is on producing and making healthy food available. John’s scientific/medical research on diastolic heart failure is really symbiotic to our company’s mission. Today, I am editing a blog focused on metabolic syndrome and the obesity epidemic, particularly childhood obesity. Much of this epidemic is fuelled by high simple carbohydrates (e.g. high fructose corn syrup) and unhealthy fats. I’m writing to convey how one’s food is raised and produced truly impacts our health. Specifically, this blog outlines how grain-finishing involves feeding cattle unnatural grain that is very high in simple carbohydrates. Cows, like humans, get metabolic syndrome when they consume large quantities of simple carbohydrates. The cattle have, effectively, early stage diabetes. As a result, the cattle remodel their fat, within their cell membranes and stored fat. They exchange “good fats” for “bad fats” as a result of their metabolic syndrome.

Later in the afternoon I have a conference call with our new partner, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a non-profit innovative hunger-relief organisation. They deliver meals by parking a food truck into low-income neighbourhoods. They also have educational programmes to teach children and adults about nutrition and also offer cooking and nutrition classes for people to learn about the culinary industry. As their partner, we supply grass-fed beef to their programme. We offer our customers the opportunity to give back. With each Subscription Box or Lifestyle Box they purchase, we will donate a box of beef to help relieve hunger.

After my conference call, I continue working on the website by adding a recipe page. We want to be a resource where people will enjoy visiting the site and also receive helpful information, especially as it relates to meal planning, family time and healthy living.

I can’t believe it is already 5:30. I’m typically in charge of preparing dinner and lately I have been working on my grilling skills and can “eyeball” the meat knowing when to turn it and when it is done. Tonight we’re having sizzling fajita steak wraps. When John gets home, we can enjoy a delicious dinner, which somehow tastes even better knowing you were part of the food’s production. After dinner, we make it a priority to take an evening walk in the botanical gardens across the street. It’s a special time for us because we slow down, give thanks, enjoy nature’s perfection and the unmistakable fresh air on the prairie.