Coleman Natural Foods Chairman Mel Coleman visits Vail |

Coleman Natural Foods Chairman Mel Coleman visits Vail

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyMel Coleman Jr. will speak at the Vail Symposium Monday at the Eagle County Ambulance District Building in Edwards. The presentation will include a tasting of Coleman Natural meats.

VAIL, Colorado ” On Monday Mel Coleman, Jr., the “man who is feeding Vail skiers,” will speak at the Vail Symposium at 5:30 p.m. at the Eagle County Ambulance District Building in Edwards.

With his cowboy hat and amiable expression, Mel Coleman, Jr. is the epitome of a true Colorado rancher. As Chairman of Coleman Natural Foods, the company started by his father, Mel Coleman, Sr., Coleman upholds the standards set by his father: good food, the natural way. Coleman Natural meats are free from antibiotics, added hormones, artificial ingredients and preservatives and Coleman Natural ranchers pledge humane and sustainable raising practices.

In Oct. 2007, Vail Resorts, Inc. announced it would be providing “Good Food on a Grand Scale” by serving natural, hormone-free meats and poultry and organic dairy products in casual on-mountain restaurants at its five resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado and Heavenly in California and Nevada. Vail Resorts created the Good Food Partnership with two other Colorado companies: Coleman Natural Foods LLC and WhiteWave Foods Company, maker of Horizon Organic dairy products and Silk soymilk products.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz remarked that the company admired the brand promises of Coleman Natural and is proud to make those same promises to its guests.

Coleman Natural is thrilled with the partnership, too.

“We are really excited that many of the one million skiers that visit Vail each year are eating Coleman on the mountain and might be trying and tasting the difference for the first time. When they go home, we hope they will look for our beef, chicken, hot dogs and bacon at their local grocery store,” said Mel Coleman, Jr.

Vail Resorts offers its guests high-quality, sustainable foods including all-natural beef, poultry, lamb, pork and deli meats supplied by Coleman Natural Foods, headquartered in Golden, Colo. It’s estimated that during the 2007-2008 season, Vail Resorts will prepare and serve over 447,000 pounds of Coleman Natural meat:

– Deli Meats (turkey, ham, roast beef) – 33,000 pounds

– Hamburger and Ground Beef – 180,000 pounds

– Beef Brisket – 15,000 pounds

– Chicken – 137,000 pounds

– Franks (hot dogs) – 44,000 pounds

– Bacon – 18,000 pounds

– Pork (spare ribs, back ribs, loin) – 20,000 pounds

Coleman Natural Foods employs the highest protocols in the industry. While “natural” is still a vague definition for many companies (the USDA defines natural meat as having no artificial ingredients and being minimally processed), Coleman Natural Foods never uses antibiotics, never adds hormones, never uses preservatives and only feeds its animals a vegetarian diet.

“Organic and natural meats are among the fastest growing offerings at grocery stores today,” Coleman said. “We want to make sure that people know the difference between what they think they’re buying and what they might actually be purchasing in the grocery store.”

Coleman is a company steeped in Colorado history. Mel’s family settled the Saguache area in the 1870s and 1880s. All were involved in some aspect of raising, selling and transporting cattle and sheep throughout Colorado and parts of the Southwest. In 1952, seven family members, including Mel Coleman, Sr., his parents LeRoy and Hazel, and his four brothers, reorganized the family ranch into a general partnership that consisted of 6,231 deeded acres and about 250,000 acres of public grazing allotments.

Around the same time, the biochemistry industry was making leaps and bounds with the application of antibiotics. It was discovered in 1949 that antibiotics, combined with added synthetic hormones such as DES and tranquilizers, contributed to a significant increase in rate of weight gain and feed efficiency when administered to cattle, chickens and pigs.

Mel was one of the few ranchers at the time to resist the drug companies’ pressure to administer growth promoters to his herd. Although it seemed logical and profitable to make livestock grow as fast as possible, he read the research that debated the issues of antibiotic resistance and the effects of added synthetic hormones on cattle. Mel decided that he could wait a little longer for his cattle to reach market weight naturally rather than take a short cut that may risk their health and consumers’ health.

In 1979, Mel Coleman, Sr. approached the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with an entirely new product concept: natural beef. While terms like “natural” are quite common at grocery stores today, no food, beef or otherwise, was referred to as “natural” at that time. It took two years of work with USDA before a natural label was approved, creating the natural meat and poultry marketplace as we know it today.

Today, Mel Coleman, Jr. is continuing the work his dad started at Coleman Natural Foods LLC, headquartered in Golden. Coleman Natural Foods is the leading United States processor, marketer and distributor of fresh and further prepared natural and organic proteins. Coleman Natural Foods offers its natural and organic products to food retailers, food service, schools and institutions across the country.

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