Burnout. A recent conversation with my supervisor in the social work field unearthed just what was going on underneath my surface. I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually spent. My supervisor wisely suggested my wife and I take a vacation. Without any hesitation, I began daydreaming about touring local microbreweries, driving through alien countryside, great company, and an entirely new adventure. So: the Redwoods were calling, and we had to go.

After initial plans were put on paper, the next logical step came to mind. We had to bring Duba & Company heritage beef to adorn the excursion. How utterly romantic: an intimate barbeque of heritage beef, shared between the espoused, under the largest trees in the world, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Fantastic! In considering what we felt were all the necessary measures for such a vacation, a more abstract question came to mind: What is it that makes heritage beef, microbrewing, Buffalo Trading, and similar movements so captivating? This was the perfect question to take to the mythical Redwoods of California.

An answer to such a transcendent question is difficult to put clearly. When thinking this through, I had to begin with analogies and contradictions. Heritage beef and microbrewing are comparable to county road travel versus interstate thoroughfare. On one hand, you have meticulous craftsmanship involved, passed down over generations. Never exploited, never mass-produced. It is slower, certainly. It takes more effort and time to supply goods to eager patrons. And yet, the journey from farm to table, from grains to brew, from county road to destination is so much more gratifying. With the induction of the Interstate Road System, something at the level of the heart was lost in America.

You can see remnants of the heart in one popular clothing line and in Niagara Falls. One clothing line in particular has as its origin a farm and tool broker catering to all firearm, flannel and farming needs. One hundred years and many lucrative opportunities later, you are left with a soulless fashion selling-out at exorbitant prices. Similarly, with Niagara Falls, you have a World Wonder. It is a tremendous torrent of water cascading hundreds of feet down a huge fall, which could have been the world’s first National Park. Instead, hundreds of sharks and moguls seized a profitable opportunity and entirely defaced a scene of glory.

To conclude this inquiry into enterprise, I offer Duba & Company a word of caution, and a note of thanks. Carefully note the stories of Niagara Falls versus Yellowstone National Park. Heed the beginnings and ultimate downfall of certain clothing franchises. Observe the posture-shift in American culture at the spawning of the Interstate System. There are lessons to be learned at every level.

And finally, thank you. Thank you for keeping the heart at the center of your venture. Thank you, Jeff, for providing enthusiasts with meat that has taste unrivaled by any other. Thank you for purveying an experience that entices the senses and evokes the rustic magnificence of The Old World, The West, and the Shire. Well done.

Now back to the original question. What is it about these trends that are so enchanting? I suggest you cook some heritage beef, take a magical trip by way of county road, and sample some local micro-brewed libations along the way. Lose yourself in these experiences, and answer the question yourself. I think you will find the answer at the level of your heart.

"Burger of Highland Beef in the Redwood Forest". Photo, Ben Richardson

“Burger of Highland Beef in the Redwood National Park”. Photo, Ben Richardson

Ben Richardson writes from Colorado and is an avid outdoors-man, living with his wife on a mountain stream in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In his free time, he tackles the state’s “fourteeners” (14,000 ft. + mountains). Having hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2009 to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, he captives listeners with tales of his encounter with the “Hatchet Man”. Mr. Richardson‘s fundraiser, PennyBen (begun in memory of his father), to date has raised over $26,000 for the cause.

The Redwoods 5

Ben Richardson

3 replies
  1. Jeff Duba
    Jeff Duba says:

    We’ve just recently discovered another aspect of heritage meats that makes them worth enjoying: eating meat from these rare breeds conserves the breeds from extinction. It is for this reason that heritage meats can be considered the National Parks system of meat. How poetic to be enjoying a heritage burger, therefore, in the Redwood National Park!

  2. Xan Hood
    Xan Hood says:

    Ben, great words. I like the comparison of Niagara vs. Yellowstone. So true. How do we honor beauty, history, stories, and our past, and not exploit it. How do we cultivate? restore? bless? I know it is far too easy to see it was something to own, dominate, profit, control… and so to sit over a beer or a burger and taste and see… Jeff is on to something wonderful and true. I am eager to see how it continues to develop with you.


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