Adventurrito: Skeptical About Pig-spiration

AdventurritoI love Burritos. Yes, with a capital “B.” Chipotle makes awesome burritos. Therefore, I love Chipotle. Chipotle wants me to win 20 year’s worth of burritos through a game called Adventurrito. You can play too, but you won’t win because I am going to win. Anyway, this is a little series about my thoughts as I play to win 1,040 burritos. SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU DO NOT WANT THE ANSWER TO TODAY’S PUZZLE!

The first puzzle is: What magical place in Iowa inspired Steve Ells to source sustainable pork? [paraphrased]

First off, I was confused and slightly frustrated when I entered “Niman Ranch” several times and got a “Sorry, last time we checked that was not the answer” response, I thought maybe I spelled it wrong or auto-correct had auto-screwed up (I was playing on my phone while eating at veggie burrito). I knew this was the answer. Not only is it covered quite thoroughly in Eating Animals, but it is also included in the video Chipotle shares along with the question.

The real answer is “pork utopia.” Really?! I’ll admit, I cheated to find this out. In fact, many people had to cheat to find this out because many people were confused by this as well. The word “Utopia” does not even appear on the Niman Ranch website. I hope all the following puzzles have real answers otherwise I may start to doubt my burrito-ful future.

Regarding Niman Ranch, Foer explains this unique ranch quite extensively in Eating Animals. It’s an intriguing section especially for vegetarians and animal welfare advocates. Essentially, Niman Ranch farms are known for “their humanely raised and natural meats which are never caged, never given any antibiotics or any added hormones, and are fed all vegetarian feed. Niman Ranch farmers also adhere to strict protocols when it comes to animal care and environmentally sustainable farming practices.” I’ll leave the question of whether or not its OK to eat animals for other blog posts.

However, just to break your heart, did you know Bill Niman was asked to leave Niman Ranch years ago? According to Foer,

I spent a really really nice time with Bill Niman and his wife Nicolette Holland, who are two of the other heroes of the book. They used to be in charge of the largest truly alternative meat source in the country: Niman Ranch, which has between 700 and 800 family farmers supplying it. Just before the book went to press, Bill was asked to leave his namesake company, he left willingly, because according to him, they were changing their welfare standard in order to scale up in ways that he wasn’t comfortable with. If the book has a punch line, it’s that Bill Niman doesn’t eat Niman Ranch beef anymore.

So please be careful, Chipotle. While your pork is still probably the most sustainable pork out there, the management team that asked NIman to leave did so because there were disagreements regarding “finances and animal protocols”. Also, pork utopia?!? C’mon!


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