Anya Fernald Belcampo

Anya Fernald
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Juliet: [0:04:28] Anya Fernald is the co-founder and board chair of Belcampo, a farm to table supply chain complete with regenerative farm, full-service butcher shop and restaurants. She’s an entrepreneur, chef, and agriculture expert. And when we say entrepreneur, there isn’t enough time in the day to go over all of the incredible things Anya has founded and done in her career prior to Belcampo, from founding a cheese co-op in Italy that led to microfinancing and investing in small family businesses, to founding live culture, eat real, slow food, and being asked by Alice Waters to be executive director of Slow Food Nation in the Bay Area. She also managed to write a cookbook called Home Cooked and served as a judge and sustainable food expert on Iron Chef from 2009 to 2015. She was named Food and Wine 40 Under 40 and one of the top 100 Female Founders in Inc Magazine. She also runs something called Meat Camp, which may be the single greatest thing I’ve ever heard of, and I plan to attend.

Kelly and I first met Anya through our mutual friend Andrew Huberman, who’s also been on The Ready State Podcast, and I immediately related to her as a fellow female co-founder and CEO. Anya Fernald, welcome to The Ready State Podcast.

Anya Fernald: [0:05:38] Thank you for having me, guys.

Juliet: [0:05:40] We are so stoked to have you here. And in full disclosure, we know each other and are friends. So I think that will make this conversation even more fun and exciting. But thank you again so much for being here.

Anya Fernald: [0:05:51] It’s such a pleasure to be connected with you guys IRL and on the pod. 

Juliet: [0:05:56] Yep. IRL and on —

Kelly: [0:05:57] IRL. I really think we are two of the most fortunate people. We have been fed by your own hands around fire with animals that you have shepherded, the whole experience. Belcampo has changed our lives. It really has changed our lives. And there is so much to get into here and talk about. But I think we should start with the big thing in the room right now, which is there’s a lot going on in our supply chain. And it’s a really interesting… Oh, you guys didn’t think I was going there? And it’s a really interesting time. You have this experience and depth and history of food from cultures – what I mean cultures, like milk cultures – all the way up to how do we feed people at a larger scale. What do you think’s happening in our current world right now post COVID that’s interesting or we should be aware of?

Juliet: [0:06:50] Are we talking about the supply chain or what’s happening —

Kelly: [0:06:52] Yeah. Same thing.

Juliet: [0:06:53] In the world post COVID? Like what even was that question?

Anya Fernald: [0:06:53] COVID has exposed the fragility and brittleness of the modern supply chain. All of our efficiency comes at a really high cost. And that cost is around the ability to be flexible, the ability to pivot quickly and kind of manage for variable outcomes. You know, it’s like in anything. If you could in your life plan for the next five years exactly what you were going to eat every day and it was all shelf stable, you’d probably spend one-tenth of what you spend on food today, right? The ability to plan long-term outcomes and real consistent performances are things that actually brings you a lot of efficiency and cost savings. The same thing is true about our supply chain and our food system. We’ve built for great efficiency, for great manageability, long-term forecasting. And the trade off and the cost to us is actually in the ability to be nimble and respond. So when the supply chain kind of breaks, I don’t think of it as breaking, it’s just that’s the way our supply chain is. It’s very efficient and very good at doing certain things. But it’s very fragile too.

Kelly: [0:07:59] We’ve described this as Normal Accident Theory. It’s just a normal expression of the system. It looks like an aberrant phenomenon just ends up being part of the system if you give the system enough time to kind of explore, explain itself, or express itself, because the system is so complex. Currently, I just saw a post that you did talking about this kind of thing happening with chickens. Could you elaborate a little bit more? I think that gives a good example of what people are hearing or feeling in the news. 

Anya Fernald: [0:08:28] Yeah. So there’s a chicken shortage in the U.S. and a couple major factors drove that. One is that there were storms in Texas, those big snowstorms that happened a while back and the kind of knock-on effect we’re feeling right now where chickens were euthanized en masse because those kind of factory farms are very reliant on electricity and power, and if there’s any risk of power going out, they actually proactively euthanize. Because otherwise, these are the kind of farms where it’s not like our farm, where if the power shut off for two weeks, it’d kind of be a bummer but everybody would be fine and all the animals would be fine because everything’s outdoors really. So you really just have issues with just more electric fencing and some of the pumps for irrigation, stuff like that. But in these large mechanical or commodity farms or centralized farms, all the animals are indoors. And if you have animals indoors, I mean think about it, if you had hundreds of people in a large enclosed barn and everybody is defecating and urinating and in one space, what the air is like. So how they manage that is massive ventilation systems. 

And actually they’ve shown, The Pew Charitable Trusts did a study about impacts of confinement animals on human workers and showed in the light of human suffering for the people who work in these farms. But if the ventilation systems go down for lack of power, in nine minutes all the people working in that hoop house will be dead because of the toxicity of the air. So for them, the possibility of the power going out and ventilation systems going down is enormously impactful. So what they’ll do is kill all the animals and shut down until the risk of power outages is out. So that is one impact, right? And that’s not only an example of supply chain fragility. That’s a fragile system, right, where it only works at optimum efficiency when everything is going right.

And then the other kind of major disruptions in supply chain have been around the actual use of animals in the globalized supply chain. So in the U.S., we’ve actually increased proportionately the amount of breasts that we’re consuming, and that has driven some changes in global allocation of birds and of parts, and that’s also created some shortages. So it’s sort of like anytime things shift against the pattern, you actually have a major issue in supply chain. So things don’t go exactly as planned, like there’s a storm, there’s a change in people preferring breasts a bit more, there’s also some issues in some slaughterhouses being shut down and occasionally need to pivot and things like that. So it’s like not all these things, each one of them is, they’re sort of bad news. There’s some challenges to each of them. But none of them seems like something that in a normal system you couldn’t react to. But in today’s system, you actually can’t react quickly. And so we just run out. 

Kelly: [0:11:07] That is the perfect pivot to sort of telling how you got here and the story of Belcampo and the relationships that really the reason we’re friends in the first place.

Juliet: [0:11:17] Well, I mean I really want to go way back because I have some sense of what it was like from knowing you. But I would just love to get a little story of what your childhood was like. Because you’ve become a crazy and amazing serial entrepreneur that is so successful that we could get into all that. But where did it all start?

Anya Fernald: [0:11:36] So I grew up pretty itinerant. I think in retrospect one of the great challenges of my life as a young person was just moving a lot. My parents were both academics. I lived in 18 houses before I was 15. So I remember counting that at some point and being like, oh. So I think I’ve gotten a real ability to kind of land on my feet and be in situations with new people and at least to put on a veneer of overconfidence in most situations. 

And then the other piece is I did have a chance to live abroad. Like I was born in Germany, my parents are American but they lived in Germany for a decade. I lived in London for a couple years growing up. I got a lot of experience just being in different cultures and being comfortable out of my comfort zone. So I moved to Europe at 21 and ended up staying there until basically my early 30s. But I moved there right after college and ended up working in Italy. So that ability to kind of bounce out, go and try something, and really put myself out of my comfort zone definitely came from a lot of exposure.

You know, I also, I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family at all. My parents are both professors. But I came from a family where hard work was valued. We never, ever took a vacation apart from going camping every couple years. A vacation for my family was I would get to go with my parents to a conference where there was a hotel with a pool. So like we didn’t ever do anything to relax and relaxing and balance wasn’t part of our lives, which is something I kind of tried to correct for my own life. But I definitely got a culture of hard work from my parents and a culture of kind of risk taking in terms of putting yourself out there and following your passion. But I remember feeling as a child, I started my first business when I was 12, I was always very entrepreneurial and just loved building, like loved making, very hands on, very tactile, loved to touch everything and loved to cook and sew and crochet and build fires and dig pits and garden, all these things as a kid. And I remember feeling kind of like a loser because I wasn’t as strong academically as the rest of my family. 

Kelly: [0:13:41] That’s definitely how we describe you now. Of all our friends, definitely the most —

Juliet: [0:13:44] Not very strong academically.

Kelly: [0:13:45] Not very strong.

Anya Fernald: [0:13:47] So but it’s funny because in the real world, I’m like, yeah, I’m an okay student. But in my family, both my parents are valedictorians, my sister is a professor at Cal, both of my parents are professors at Stanford. It’s like everybody around me is always really brainy. And I feel brainy but not in the same way. It’s like you lose the context. Then of course I realized once I got out into real life that my skills were actually more normal. Like my kind of interests and making money and doing things and building was more normal in the rest of the universe than being like insanely into getting degrees. So that was funny for me to be like, oh, actually I’m more kind of in the mainstream than I thought in this. And I sort of felt like I was an outlier and my life was going to be challenging because I really love business. But it wasn’t the case.

Juliet: [0:14:29] So against that backdrop of academic, college professor parents moving all over the place, it’s not totally surprising that you decided to move to Italy after college. But am I understanding correctly that you started a cheese making cooperative?

Anya Fernald: [0:14:43] Well, actually this is kind of a funny story. I was studying cheesemaking. Actually, sometimes baker and a cook and then I became a cheesemaker, first in Europe and then in the UK. Then I got a job in Italy. And I actually was developing a cooperative, doing the business plan for cooperative cheesemakers, that was funded by the European Union. They were trying to put money into rural impoverished areas to help them get businesses that actually help monetize these really awesome traditional local products. 

So we had all these cheesemakers. And it’s like these guys, this cheese, they literally made it from this cow that only produces two liters of milk a day. Keep in mind that’s only one fortieth of what a conventional cow produces. Like tiny amounts of milk. Less milk than a sheep. And they could eat thorns and rocks and these cows are really tough. They don’t need water. They’re these tough little Sicilian cows. So they milk these tough little cows. They would make like one bucket of milk a day. They’d make one cheese a day. It was the most inefficient cheese. But it was amazing because it would get to be 110 degrees and this cheese would not suffer, right? It could be in extremely hot temperatures and very adapted to this climate and this region. So it was like for me, I was so excited about how to tell the story and build this and then work with all these cheesemakers. And it was a very, very challenging project because I was in really rural Sicily. And it was also very corrupt. My boss at the time did end up in federal prison for [inaudible 16:05] cheese mafia. So I remember at the time —

Kelly: [0:16:09] I think Cheese Mafia is actually one of my favorite punk bands.

Anya Fernald: [0:16:12] It’s like my dad came and visited me because this cheese place I worked had like a dairy research thing. And he’s like, Anya, that’s like a $1 million microscope that they have in there. I was like, really, that’s crazy, I wonder how they have so much money. I was very naïve. But that whole area where I lived in Sicily, I actually remember noticing I had next to my home I had a grotto and I also had a small orchard. I lived in this little monastery, literally like an old monastery. Because it was really cheap back then to get the houses that didn’t have car access. You could walk to this house. It was beautiful. But all the people wanted the really modern, really nice new house. And I was like, I’ll take the cool old house that comes with a grotto. And I walked into my grotto one day and there was my landlord playing cards with his friends and none of them had pinkies. And I was like, huh. And then that was the same landlord that when I ended up leaving Sicily, he said to me, he’s like, Anya, Anya, I don’t want you to… I was moving to work in Northern Italy, which is a little more tame. And he was like, I don’t want you to move away. I want you to move and live in New York and work for me selling couches. But here’s the deal: You don’t have to sell any couches. 

Juliet: [0:17:23] And you’re like side head, what is the subtext here.

Kelly: [0:17:27] This is so —

Juliet: [0:17:28] Are you like 22 at this time? Are you like 22 years old?

Anya Fernald: [0:17:30] I was such a child. I’m a child of the West Coast. I never watched movies. And I was like embracing Sicilian life. I was actually, I played oboe and I joined a professional band. I was like a paid musician in the local band. They have like, they’re really into processions in Sicily, so I was like what a better way to meet people in my new town. And so joined the local band.

Kelly: [0:17:53] Yeah. I’ll be doing funeral dirges, this is going to be great.

Anya Fernald: [0:17:54] Funeral marches with my oboe in the streets. And there are just some things I look back on. For example,  my boss at the time would rent his entire staff out to go to political rallies. So there would be like two days of the week during politics where it’s like everybody’s got to get on a bus and go to this rally. So we all had to sit in the front row and applaud. It was crazy. I mean I have so many more insights now on that. But aside from the guy was corrupt, there were a couple mistresses on his staff. And it was definitely a time where I learned a lot about life. And being a naturally very direct person who isn’t always so subtle, it was really good. It was kind of the correction that I needed about learning about the most indirect, most subtle, complex, kind of nuanced place where you never do anything with a straight line, a straight A to B, was a great life lesson for me. And from where I was, I was such in the periphery of power that nothing even close to dangerous happened. But it did give me a sense of, okay, this is how part of the world works. But I also got to spend my lunch breaks and weekends gathering food and cooking over the open fire, learning how to butcher and take apart animals, milking, making cheese. I mean —

Juliet: [0:19:12] You had a grotto.

Anya Fernald: [0:19:14] I mean I learned how to make limoncello, how to can tomatoes, how to… I mean making… All the making and the drying and the processing and preserving, and just the beauty of a natural… I’d never lived… This is where the health stuff comes in. This is TMI, but I remember distinctly that my pee started to smell really different. And it was this really radical change. And my body started to smell different. And it was like better, you know? And little things that had always bothered me like getting UTIs and bad breath and body odor, stuff like this just changed. My split ends went away. So living in this really traditional place, eating tons of sheep cheese, drinking olive oil by the cupful, doing everything that I was not supposed to do being like a… I graduated from college in 1998, so it was like low-fat mania. So doing all the things differently, my health skyrocketed, my mood improved. I mean I was only eating seasonally and I was eating basically half my calories from animal fat. 

Kelly: [0:20:15] This is so amazing as a crash course in sort of laying a foundation for what you do and what you’ve accomplished now. But just going back, because we actually grew up within 45 minutes of each other.

Anya Fernald: [0:20:26] Yes, in Bavaria.

Kelly: [0:20:26] Right. And how much of your… My exposure to food as a kid really changed how I thought about food. How much of your exposure being in a young Bavarian hamlet influenced, was that first kind of stepping stone building block? Do you ever make that connection or is that something there?

Anya Fernald: [0:20:45] Well, I really wonder about that because I was raised actually in a raw milk dairy until I was three. I lived above a dairy barn. We didn’t have heating, we had —

Kelly: [0:20:57] Cows.

Anya Fernald: [0:20:58] Yeah. So I do think that has… I mean I think more than anything, you know, we moved from there to Eugene, Oregon and had a garden. But it was more that my parents had a little bit more openness to cooking and understanding around farming and seasonality. But yeah, absolutely, I don’t think that I would be on the path that I am now if I hadn’t had this sort of early, early taste of things. Also, just going there occasionally. My parents would go back for work and we went into tasting and eating and trying things. I mean it totally opens your mind to just have the exposure at a young age to different ways of being around food.

Juliet: [0:21:28] Do you think that early, you know your formative years in your 20s you’re living in Italy and having this amazing experience around food and sort of bearing witness to the Italian/European food system, do you think that was your first time that you were able to make this comparison between, okay, something’s going on here that’s not going on in the American food system? Or did that happen later, earlier?

Anya Fernald: [0:21:52] Well, I remember really specific insight around this, which was here, the wealthier you are the more likely you are to have a vegetable garden. And just now, the house I live in now, I moved in four years ago, I’ve been able to have a vegetable garden. And it’s taken a lot of hard work in my life where I’ve been able to get to a place where I can afford a vegetable garden, right? And in Italy it was the exact opposite, where the poorer you were, the more likely you were to have a vegetable garden. And I remember it distinctly too, my ex husband’s Italian and he moved back with me to the U.S. And as soon as we moved back, I’m like I’ve got to start making salami because I need good salami and we need good salami. And he was like, you don’t understand, my family worked for generations to not have to make salami, why do you want to make salami, you know? So it’s like for him as a middle class Italian, it was sort of low status to make these things. And that’s increasing. That was a shift that I was seeing in Italy when I was there, where the privilege of wealth here in the U.S. is the ability to grow your own food and have access to clean food. And that’s actually the way of poverty, it was at the time, where I lived in Sicily. There, the middle class in Italy was for a big date night or something where you’re showing off to your friends was going to McDonald’s, right? 

So seeing that, that sort of shift and the difference in health… And I was there too, now it’s changed. There’s definitely way more obesity than the early days of when I lived in Italy. But it was amazing too, everybody was super lean. Just running around being Italian, eating all the pasta and fat that they apparently wanted. So that was another kind of interesting thing. To me, what’s happened is the rise of processed food and packaged food in Italy has happened in the past 20 years since I first moved there. But yeah, definitely made the connection that the poorer you were there, it seemed like there was more access to simple, basic food and healthy food, the things that we now in I think in the educated class in the U.S. and people with access to resources and time are pursuing, was just like the rights, the basic rights there. Whereas it seemed like in the U.S. the hurdle, if you’re poor social economic status, a lot of access issues is what characterizes it, right? We don’t have basic rights of basic, clean food if you live below a certain socioeconomic strata in the U.S. That seemed at the time that I was in Italy to be the exact opposite. Does that make sense? It’s like if you were in the bottom third of society, you were probably growing your own food because it was cheaper and because you lived in a rural area. In the U.S. it’s like you’re in the bottom third of income, that’s the least likely to have any access or be able to even figure out a way to get land or know how–

Kelly: [0:24:40] Or time.

Anya Fernald: [0:24:42] Yeah. That was a major paradigm shift.

Juliet: [0:24:44] That’s so interesting. I heard that… I read that when you came home from Italy you started a meat CSA out of your van.

Kelly: [0:24:51] What is a CSA, J?

Juliet: [0:024:52] Community Supported Agriculture. But it can be done with meat. I don’t know. Agriculture, in my mind, I think vegetables. But I think it also includes meat. I don’t know if I read that correctly, but if I did, I just wanted to learn more about that. And then also, subtext, what did your family say about that if that is what you did?

Anya Fernald: [0:25:08] Yeah. I mean my family has… I remember my sister coming to visit me in Italy and I was eating raw sausage and I would serve a big plate of raw meat at the start of every meal and she was like, oh my God. It was just like, what the hell. Because I had been vegetarian for years and she actually is vegetarian. But it was an amazing shift. And my health was radically improving. I felt amazing. I came back to the U.S. and I’m like I need to continue, not like I’m eating meat four times a day, but I ate meat every day, which was different from before I lived there, and I immediately gained weight and I immediately struggled with lethargy and mood, which I had before moving abroad. 

So I tackled it first with meat and I set up… At the time I started a small produce distribution company. And so I had a refrigerated van. And I bought a whole cow from a farmer adjacent to a peach farm that I worked with in Capay Valley. Bought a cow from him, mostly for myself but sold some to my friends as well. That was so popular that I basically started buying cows on the regular and helped set up a meat distribution co-op. But it was so illegal and so high risk that it was sort of like fun for a minute. But I realized the way that it’s set up with USDA regulation things I was taking a lot of personal risk associated with it. But if anything, it just gave me an opportunity to understand the complexity of balancing a whole carcass. So cutting up a whole beef and figuring out how to use it. And I also started buying my own whole pigs and butchering them and making my own charcuterie and preserving meats as well. 

And I’d say it just kind of blossomed into a growing culinary interest in working with whole animals. Having developed a taste for meat living abroad and then coming back and having to kind of figure it out, I started buying these whole animals, messing around with them more, and also realized along the way, man, this is a really messed up industry, and it’s super hard to navigate.

Kelly: [0:27:08] I love, it’s Anne Lamott I think who wrote Bird by Bird, right, how to write. And then you basically the story of Belcampo and all the things… It’s like cow by cow.

Juliet: [0:27:18] Cow by cow. So —

Kelly: [0:27:22] That is a bananas story. Just like white van, opens a door —

Juliet: [0:27:26] White van. And then there’s like —

Kelly: [0:27:27] People throw a cow in, shut the door.

Anya Fernald: [0:27:29] It was at a park in Berkeley. And I made up a little document that was about how I had no legal responsibility, and made people sign it. And it made me feel kind of —

Juliet: [0:27:40] You’re like, I have a waiver. I’ve got this waiver, it’s fine.

Anya Fernald: [0:27:43] I know. Also please wave this magic wand around. Yeah, it was like but I mean I knew that it was mostly friends and things, and it was like it was a fun way to support a rancher. It actually grew beyond. It continued actually for a number of years. I passed it off to a local group that managed it. But it was the kind of thing where I was like, wow, people really want this because people go crazy for good meat. And there wasn’t any and you couldn’t buy any from any local stores. And I was like this is kind of interesting. And I sort of filed it away for future reference. In 2005, ‘06, and ‘07, I was really messing around with meat on the ground. And I just realized nobody can get this product. And then also talking to the ranchers, the ranchers are like, yeah, we would love to sell direct, but we end up selling our animals into feed lots to finish because there’s no market for them. So that kind of just stayed with me, that there was definitely an opportunity in that space.

Juliet: [0:28:34] So I hope I’m not skipping over 10 whole years of your life, but can you tell us what Belcampo is and sort of what the ethos is, how it got started, just sort of the Belcampo story?

Kelly: [0:28:44] It is crazy that you’re like, you know what, there’s got to be millions of dollars in teaching people to eat whole foods. This may be the appropriate euphemism: Long way around the barn.

Anya Fernald: [0:28:58] Yeah. You know, the journey with Belcampo has been incredible because it’s hard for me to look at it now as having worked, even though I think substantially it is working incredibly well. It’s been an enormously sort of heroic, challenging journey, right, in terms of what we were up against and how it came about. Initially, I started the business as a consultant. So I sold my last business. I was looking for new opportunities, didn’t want to raise capital to sort of do my own thing just yet. And I started a consulting company and for a couple years I did some consulting. Actually, primarily, couple big clients in the meat space. I then got connected to my major client. So Belcampo’s definitely been a massive challenge and a massive journey. 

The kernel of it, started the business in 2012 with my business partner who I met through a consulting gig. I consulted with him to help him figure out what to do with the ranch that he had bought at the base of Mount Shasta. I really started working with him in 2010 and developed the concept for the business, developed the name and the brand. And he’s like, great, I’ll fund it if you’ll run it. And that was really end of 2011. We formally incorporated in 2012. 

And the initial plan was to basically sell the livestock from this ranch via restaurants. And we opened the first one in Marin, closed that one during COVID permanently. But we now have five restaurants around the state, three in SoCal and two in NorCal. And the restaurants actually built the brand. I mean where we’re growing now at Belcampo is in our retail. We’re growing massively in retail. A big announcement coming this summer about that expansion. And we’ve blown up on ecommerce. But that was all about taking the brand that we built to the restaurants and turning it into a way to get more people to be aware of the product. 

So when I say we built the brand with restaurants, started in 2012 opening the first restaurant and by 2014 I was on like the best burgers in the U.S. list on Time Out, on Eater, a number of big national news and things like that. So we started to really kill it with the culinary reputation, which back in 2014 and ‘15, keep in mind grass-fed beef just wasn’t… It was considered something you might do because you’re really into health or really into the planet, but it’s not something you’re going to do because you think it tastes good. You’re going to do it because you think it’s the right thing to do. So that was the major focus for me, was how do I brand a meat around excellent taste that’s mostly known just for its environmental benefits. And the kind of why the taste was different, that story has to do… That’s where the hard work came in. 

And that was… I bought land with my business partner and built a slaughterhouse about 20 minutes away from the farm. And we built… Initially we had 13 species raised commercially on the ranch, which is nuts. Now we’re down to like four, right? But we were raising squabs and rabbits. I actually had the first USDA certified and free-range rabbit program, which is otherwise known as like a predator snack bar.

Kelly: [0:32:07] Sounds great on paper.

Juliet: [0:32:09] It sounds great.

Anya Fernald: [0:32:09] Why are there rabbits in cages? Let them free. It was like so stupid.

Kelly: [0:32:13] Predator snack bar.

Anya Fernald: [0:32:14] It was so bad because rabbits are like the dumbest. I mean the dumbest. Chickens at least know to go under something. Rabbits are like, mmm, interesting beak. They’re just like they don’t move, they don’t run away, they’re just —

Kelly: [0:32:28] Tasty. Tasty snack bar.

Anya Fernald: [0:32:30] So yeah, basically the concept for the brand has been full supply chain to guarantee optimal taste quality. And my background as a real culinarian probably has cost the company a lot because I can be super particular about quality and taste. But I think it’s also what’s helped ensure that we hold this edge of being really renowned for being best tasting and the most healthy because I have not compromised on the values of regenerative agriculture on the differentiating values. And there have been fights and conversations along the way. 

We have spent more money that we could have by doing it a different way. And I think that the end is justifying the means in that we’re now really renowned for tasting amazing. We’re actually third party certified to be carbon impact positive, so we sequester far more carbon than we emit, documented in the whole operation. And we’re growing really rapidly. We grew throughout COVID. So we’re actually in this moment now where it’s like the business’s hard choices I think in the early years are being rewarded because customers are starting to care more about the values that are behind their meats.

Kelly: [0:33:36] We interviewed Diana Rodgers about regenerative agriculture and one of the things that she brought up, which I think was really interesting, is that we have scapegoated meat around carbon, one, something that I think you just addressed, right? And two, meat is a really important nutritionally dense food for populations of lower economic status, emergent cultures where women can’t own land. There are a whole bunch of things that she kind of brought up. And what I’d love to hear you own, without getting political, I’ve heard recently that there was a talk even within the current administration, about trying to reduce our meat consumption. Is that the right direction to be going? Because we have this relationship with you and we’ve become, we’ve known Belcampo as just eaters in Marin, this is where I think we fell in love with Lardo first. You were making this whipped pork butter that we were putting on toast. That was —

Anya Fernald:[0:34:30] Oh, Lardo. Let’s bring —

Kelly: [0:34:33] Oh, Lardo changed our lives.

Juliet: [0:34:34] Lardo’s like the greatest thing ever.

Kelly: [0:34:36] Whipped pork butter, everyone. And it’s like butter but as nature intended.

Juliet: [0:34:40] But better.

Kelly: [0:34:41] But better. But that’s how we kind of stumbled into you, as just consumers. Little did we know, we ate Lardo and then we were like, okay, we’re going to have to meet this woman, become her friend. I mean that’s literally like step one, Lardo, step three, Anya’s in our life forever. But how do we wrap our heads around this message that somehow there is a better way? And is removing meat the right thing to do?

Anya Fernald: [0:35:04] That’s a lot of questions. And I think the broader answer is meat does not have to be bad for the environment. We’re demonizing meat as a category without looking at the broad range of ways in which meat is produced. And I would say, first off, I’m a regenerative rancher. We’re farming climate positive. I can talk about my segment of the industry. I also need to call out that the data around the actual feedlot in the conventional mainstream is also flawed, right? So I think they’re getting bashed in a way that is not entirely accurate. But that’s not really my fight to fight. And I’m not here to differentiate myself from them in a specific way. 

But I’d say a lot of sort of messy data out there in general. In our world of Belcampo and other regenerative ranches, we’re shown to be carbon impact positive. We are sequestering more carbon than we produce. And we’re doing it through regenerative grazing, which means grazing and land management where practices that integrate animals and perennial pastures are used to increase soil carbon. Then the good thing for us as humans is that when there’s richer soil carbon, there’s greater micronutrient density in the soil. When there’s greater micronutrient density in the soil, the plants themselves have higher nutritional content. So when you look at why do broccoli that you buy at the farmer’s market have higher antioxidants, the data out there about how different plants can be, the tomatoes on a tomato, et cetera. That’s because soil nutrient density is the important factor in nutrient density in the foods that are produced. It’s less of a neat line in animal agriculture but there still exists that connection. So you have to look at agriculture as being a huge range of ways that you can do things. 

It’s like talking about movement and saying you can get from here to 10 blocks a day away walking, you can get there in a helicopter, and you can get there in a rocket. So what’s the carbon footprint of getting from here to 10 blocks away? Well, it’s X. It’s like, no, but I walked. Doesn’t matter, it’s X. Okay, but I took the rocket. Doesn’t matter, it’s X. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re simplifying down to one single scenario that also is not even based on good math. And we’re using that as a generalization for an entire industry. So I’d say first off they’re wrong that meat’s bad for the environment, that it has to be bad for the environment. Second off, meat is an incredible nutrient powerhouse for humans. It’s an essential part of our diet. And I am deeply, deeply concerned about this concept that eating hyper-processed soy and grain based foods as a replacement to meat is a good choice or is it’s actually portrayed as a better choice than eating meat.

Kelly: [0:38:03] It’s more expensive too, isn’t it?

Anya Fernald: [0:38:04] It’s more expensive. It causes higher calorie consumption. There’s emulsifiers and all the things that are immune suppressant. It’s estrogenous. it’s like all the bad things. So to me it’s insane that we’re advocated that people consider eating highly processed grain and legume based products instead of eating meat. That doesn’t make any sense at all. So there is that second layer where I say I don’t think that’s a good choice nutritionally. 

And then also, the plant based solutions that are being discussed are all about monocropping and massively scaled agriculture, which has been shown to be far more detrimental to the environment than probably anything else that we’re doing, right? So there’s just so many layers that I find to be illogical. And I think when I see a lot of things that really don’t add up, I think, okay, there’s an interest in line here that’s not being expressed. There’s an interest that’s driving this that’s not being expressed because these data points, like all together, it’s like this really doesn’t make sense. 

So I’m not sure what that interest is. Part of me thinks, well, it’s just people reacting to all this horrible news about how bad confinement agriculture is. And it is horrible. And I would rather be vegan than eat confinement agriculture product. And actually, when I’m in a situation where I’m staying somewhere and on the road and can’t get meat that I know is regenerative and farmed the right way, I don’t eat meat. I mean I just won’t. So I understand that. But I feel like there’s something else which has to do with just this broader drift away from processed foods that’s happening in the media. People are understanding and it’s becoming more mainstream that processed foods are bad for us. And I think industry is grasping at ways to keep us eating processed food. Kind of one theory I have. There may be some sort of bigger factors afoot. But I encourage us to kind of question this and say, wow, this verified, amazing, important, good for the environment food stuff is being maligned, it just doesn’t make sense. 

Juliet: [0:40:00] Yeah. You know I just read, I mean I think it was within the last two weeks or something, that Epicurious decided to no longer publish any recipes or any new recipes that have red meat. And I had the same thought. I thought, wait a second, all red meat is not created equal. And I don’t know, I felt like it’s a very short-sighted… It’s questionable from a nutrition standpoint. I think there’s so much good, high-quality meat out there that’s climate positive. I don’t know. I was disappointed that that was the direction. I mean I don’t even follow Epicurious. But I read about it in The New York Times. So I don’t know. Did you read about that? What was your reaction?

Kelly: [0:40:37] We have enough recipes. That’s fine. 

Juliet: [0:40:39] Yeah. Who cares? Get a different —

Anya Fernald: [0:40:40] I’m doing recipes all the time. No, I mean I felt sad. Anytime I see people being shortsighted and reactive, I worry about our society, and I worry about our culture and our species. You know, it’s a real challenge to think about how are we going to move forward if we’re being this irrational in the near term with things that are so important like diet and health and wellness.

Juliet: [0:41:04] So I remember… One little story for you is that I can’t remember when at some point in my adult life I remember reading and sort of taking to heart this idea that if you’re going to eat something that has more than like three ingredients, it’s probably not food. And then I used to play this game with my kids at the grocery store, because with little kids the grocery store is the worst place ever, because it’s like can I get this, can I get that, can I get this. And my kids were for some reason really obsessed with those bright orange crackers with peanut butter in the middle. You remember those?

Anya Fernald: [0:41:33] Yeah.

Juliet: [0:41:34] And I made this rule with them that if they could correctly read and pronounce all of the ingredients on the nutrition label that I would let them get it. And of course —

Kelly: [0:00:00] Suckers.

Juliet: That was never possible because I mean first of all, it’s in like 1 point font, and second of all, there’s like 80 ingredients in that. But when the Impossible Burger came out, we bought a package, which I think was expensive, and that actually was the thing that deterred me immediately. And I want to say there were like 85 ingredients in it. Many of the ingredients I didn’t recognize at all and I couldn’t pronounce. And that sort of like just immediately failed my test.

Anya Fernald: [0:42:10] There’s a lot of things to be concerned about with that. And I can go through the list of the stuff that’s in it that’s terrifying. But I think just taking a step back, the fact that there’s so many ingredients should be terrifying. 

Kelly: [0:42:23] Let me, I want to pivot for a —

Juliet: [0:42:24] Yeah, I’m glad that you think that that’s a good rule because I’ve been following it in my adult life, so.

Kelly: [0:42:28] You are this incredible CEO who happens to also be a woman in a field that is kind of crazy. You’ve shepherded us through the pandemic and all your people.

Juliet: [0:42:41] And by crazy, do you mean most ranchers are probably men?

Kelly: [0:42:45] I just think that food as a business done the right way is a tricky, hard, worthy task for our smartest, hardest working people. That’s what I think. What has surprised you about Belcampo through this last 18 months, because you really had a chance to stress test the truth of the model?

Anya Fernald: [0:43:09] It’s been so powerful for me to see people orient around things that represent their values. So COVID brought stuff to the forefront for people. I really don’t like this person. I really don’t like this. This thing is scary to me. A lot of people dealt with stuff straight up, right? That’s what I saw happening around me. But I also found that there was a sense of urgency around kind of agency in making good choices for people. So the support that Belcampo got from our constituency, I felt like people came through for us because we came through for them. 

And it was this moment where things that I had been thinking and saying about our own supply chain and wholly owned and transparency and this stuff, it was like oh yeah, this is real, she’s really there and they really have this farm that they talked about, and they’re driving trucks down to LA and they have all the meat. It was incredible to be able to deliver during that crisis. So that was amazing for me in terms of the business. And it was incredible, just this opportunity to be super nimble and super fast and jump and pivot and take advantage of opportunities was just huge. So it was one of the most exciting times in my career. Even though it was all from my couch, it was like driving in and diving. And I just remember the first month just sitting on my couch drinking coffee and ketones and tippy tappy, tippy tappy, trying to see if everything was going to fall apart and trying to hold it together, and then feeling this sense of, oh wow, this is actually going to be… The breaks in the bigger supply chain are where I can shine. 

Now the question is now that that’s sorted through, behind us, are people still going to care and notice that it matters that you have a local, regional supply chain like Belcampo for me in California, in the West Coast. And so that’s now the big question. The challenge is can I market this in a way where people give a damn about this when it’s no longer like, oh my gosh, I might not have meat if these people weren’t here, right? But the opportunity to show up for my community in a time of need was like the highest calling. It was so exciting. And it was also just really cool how much focus I was able to sort of slough off things. And we really, we honed down our product line. We went deep into certain things. We got greater scale on certain things and started to do them better. So that’s been… Every month in COVID felt like three years, four years of growth in the business in terms of evolution and development.

Kelly: [0:45:34] Well, I definitely can say there was a lot of evolution in every month. But maybe devolution for our family at home. I just want to pause because there’s something that I want to talk about that is lost sometimes in this conversation about how people relate. And we’ve been friends, we’ve eaten at your house. And there was something that happened to us there that really resonated with Juliet and I. And that was you had a wood fire and you cooked us an entire meal on a wood fire. And what really resonated with Juliet and I because we’re secretly dirtbag river guides who’ve been doing this for a long time, but it never occurred to us that we could actually not just have a Green Egg and barbecue but actually cook around a fire. And we actually went home, replicated your fire and grill system, and it has changed our life. 

And part of it is that it gives us a reason to sit down and slow down and have kind of this slow food piece where we get to make a fire, it takes a second, takes planning. We’re able to cook outside. We’re doing all this radical cooking. We’re cooking everything, soup to nuts, outside on the fire. I mean Juliet’s toasting the nuts for the salad. I mean it’s really remarkable. One of the things that we know in all our high-performance environments, people that are really successful eat together. And I just need to give you a shoutout because I have been in a lot of high stakes environments where the leadership team eats together and I feel like my leadership team, my family, is eating together differently than even we did. Because we’re really big fans of sit down. And Juliet is a really incredible chef. But this fire piece really coming from you has changed our lives. So thank you.

Anya Fernald: [0:47:21] Yeah. I noticed just when I started cooking on woodfire, it was a time… I’ve always learned how. In my early 20s when I lived in Sicily and you make a little fire out of twigs and cook stuff, I learned how to do it there and kind of was like cool, neat little skill. And it wasn’t until I started the company, I was up at the ranch a lot because early years it was a lot of heavy lifting of teambuilding and stuff up there and a lot of turnover. It was challenging in the beginning and hiring, building the slaughterhouse and stuff. So I was up there a lot and I started cooking over an open fire and shooting a bow. Just because I was up there and I was like what am I going to do, I’ve got a lot of meat, I’ve got a lot of wood. And then it was something that so clearly downshifted me. And then I had my daughter, my first child, and I remember holding her and cooking over the fire – everyone always gave me heck about your child’s going to burn; I’m like kids can be near fire, trust me, humans evolved with like —

Kelly: [0:48:17] Yeah, humans have never cooked with a baby near a fire, ever.

Anya Fernald: [0:48:19] And so I was like cooking. And I would notice my daughter would just zero in on that fire. And it was better than anything. She would just be really calm and chill and stare at it and she loved watching it. And I have since read into the research and campfires help you downshift. They increase your oxytocin or whatever makes you happy and chill. And it was so great to see that. So I just started to realize, oh, that little fire experience, start to finish, can be this nice way for me to downshift. Now my life is much more tranquil than it’s ever been in recent memory, become chair of the board and no longer have operational accountability of the business, and mostly doing marketing and brand and that kind of thing. But still then, it’s like the ritual of lighting it, sitting by it, all that stuff, it’s become… It’s like a routine. It’s like a routine that brings me peace. And then the food is so bomb.

Kelly: [0:49:11] It’s so bomb.

Anya Fernald: [0:49:12] It’s so fun. It’s a skill that you learn of like, oh, I’m going to work the fire. I’m going to do my veggies on the side. I’m going to get my meats going. And making it all come together at the right time, it’s a really beautiful, really involved kind of thought process that I love thinking through the details and the sequence and making a list and doing a prep. And I also love how food over the wood fire, you can make sauces and combos that are really edgy. You can use more acid because it really holds up to things. So that combination of grass fed and finished meat, free range meat, really bold, delicious sauces, wood, it’s such a great combination. 

Juliet: [0:49:48] Ah, we’re just so grateful for you for that. really. We can’t tell you enough. You know, a question I have for you, and in full disclosure, I have never been to the ranch and I only see the ranch on Instagram, but it seems like a magical place up there. And I know you’ve done a lot of hard work there. But I don’t know, I guess I just wanted you to describe it. I know that you bring women up and teach women how to fully butcher an animal. It just seems like a rad place. And I just wanted you to describe it.

Anya Fernald: [0:50:18] Well, first you should come up and visit when I’m there. I’m there a bunch this summer. But the ranch is actually three ranches, each of which is about 7,000 acres. That’s the core ranch. And then we have some other land that we lease further away. But the core of that, that 21,000 acres, it’s three parcels. And the center parcel is where I built the kind of hospitality center. So I run meat camps there. And we’ve got our first post COVID meat camps in September this year.

Juliet: [0:50:41] Meat camp.

Anya Fernald: [0:50:43] Meat camp. Three days on the forge. Lots of cooking. And the camps are full immersion. I just teach kind of like a way of life, cooking over the wood fire, how to touch and smell and taste your food, look for quality, those things. The scene is up in the middle of a cattle ranch with 3,000 head of animals and it smells like heaven. It’s so beautiful, so relaxing. And that’s kind of my dream for it, is just like, well, if people think animal ag is so bad, they can’t if they come out here and see how lush the pastures are and see how beautiful it is and smelt the air, hear the birds and see the frogs, all those things. So it’s basically just like being in the heart of a massive regenerative ranch is pretty incredible. And people’s minds are totally open by it. I’ve had vegans come to meat camp actually. It’s really about being in a beautiful outdoor space and we have a huge organic vegetable garden and an organic orchard with lots of stone fruit and grapes and everything like that. So it’s kind of paradise. It’s really just the best place. My son is continually asking me when do we get to go back to the farm, when do we get to go back to the farm. It’s like —

Kelly: [0:51:49] Yeah, moving people closer to food, I feel like even… You’re just a busy person. But if you can have a CSA or have a ranch or have a local farm, that connection just connects you to people who grow your food and your food. It’s a different relationship. It really changes sort of the sterile transactional nature of going… It doesn’t matter how great the grocery store is, it’s the heart, see the people and the history and the choices behind that. And I feel like as we try to untangle what it means to be a classically modern human and all the decisions, it really is a simpler way of just knowing a farmer. I mean knowing a farmer, being on a farm one time, having that in your head, I think you’re less wasteful, I don’t think you throw away meat. I think you make just a whole lot of different decisions about where your dollars go and how you cook and how you think about the whole process.

Anya Fernald: [0:52:44] Yeah. Absolutely. I mean everything I’ve learned in my life about food is that simple is better, right? So and the more basic the connection. I even think that about certifications. I love that we’re Organic Certified and Organic Regenerative Certified and all those things. It’s fabulous. But like if you actually know your farmer and visit the ranch and trust their processes, don’t worry about certifications. Direct connection is actually the very best thing.

Kelly: [0:53:03] That’s true.

Juliet: [0:53:05] Right. Right. You could just ask questions.

Anya Fernald: [0:53:06] …is always the best, right?

Kelly: [0:53:08] Oh, I know this hippy girl in Berkeley who has a cow in her van. Trust me.

Anya Fernald: [0:53:12] Yeah. Exactly.

Juliet: [0:53:13] With the waiver.

Kelly: [0:53:14] It’s a cow waiver.

Anya Fernald: [0:53:15] But yeah, it’s like that kind of a simple, direct connection. But it’s also we ask more direct questions about the upgrade on the operating system on our phone than we ask about where our meat comes from, right? And we ask more questions about the most random things, right? We’re not caring about the right things in terms of our absolute health and safety, right? We’re far more concerned about kind of trivial, superficial issues right now than we are about meaningful things that could impact our health and wellness.

Kelly: [0:53:48] How do your kids, I mean your kids don’t know another way, and —

Juliet: [0:53:53] Including a Gatorade way.

Kelly: [0:53:55] That’s true. Gatorade is a foreign object idea. It’s a conceptual idea for one of your children. But do you notice, is it hard to swim upstream because I think people might listen to this and think, man, I’m in, but I have to fight my kids to eat these foods that aren’t processed and it’s not food entertainment where we’re tricking people. Because I even saw recently a study that we’re eating less sugar than we’ve ever done but we’re eating way more calorically dense processed foods, which is the culprit.

Anya Fernald: [0:54:27] I find my kids have sort of a perverse pride in us being a little different and they’re into it. You know, yesterday we went on a little Mother’s Day excursion with a friend and her kids, and she had gummy bears and I had carrots. Like just like literally a whole dirty carrot in my bag. Because I try to get my kids, like it’s always going to be a bag, it’s always going to be processed, it’s not going to be perfect. Just eat good food and don’t worry about it. But my kids ate their carrot and then they had some gummy bears. So I try not to make anything off limits. It’s like you can have whatever. But they also love that everything tastes really good. They brag about my cooking all the time. And they love my food. And they are… My son will come in the kitchen, oh my God, mom, it smells so good. It’s like they really eat with a lot of gusto. If you want your kids to eat well, remember that hunger is the best seasoning. 

Kelly: [0:55:17] Ooh. You and I were talking about, we were texting back and forth, because you had put up a hamburger patty which was just Belcampo hamburger and like chunky salt, and that is the greatest burger ever, and I was a just kind of —

Juliet: [0:55:31] It was like real thin. It was real thin. It was good.

Kelly: [0:55:34] It’s unbelievable. And you were laughing that your kids are like where’s the extra burgers, and you’re like that was for a photo shoot, hon, and they’re like, what, no. 

Anya Fernald: [0:55:41] We have a bowl of fruit that they can snack on. But this idea that you need to have a shelf in your pantry with a bunch of processed foods that your kids enjoy, not true. That’s why your kids aren’t eating their healthy food. Just remember. And the same thing goes with water. People are always worried, carrying around all these drinks. And hydration and stuff. It’s like we’re fine without having water all the time. We’re fine. If you’re really at risk of dehydration or have some other major health issue, okay. I understand. But most of us can be like great. We’ll be a little bit thirsty and then we’ll drink a little bit when we get home. You know, it’s like this idea that every need must be met. You’re hungry, oh my God, we’ve got to get a snack. No, we don’t. You’re hungry? Awesome. Food’s going to taste great when we get home in an hour. That’s just coaching. This whole idea, intermittent fasting is kind of how we used to live and eat a while ago, which is that you didn’t always have food exactly when you wanted it, right? And I think that that kind of bringing back some of that sense of it being okay to be hungry is teaching that as part of your life skills is a great thing you can do for your children. 

Juliet: [0:56:41] You mentioned this briefly in passing, but I know that you just recently stepped down as CEO of Belcampo and now are board chair. So you don’t have the same operational role, although I know you’re still very involved in the company. But tell us a little bit about that.

Anya Fernald: [0:56:56] So yeah, basically I was operational CEO for 10 years, so it was —

Kelly: [0:57:04] I’m married to an operational CEO. That’s badass.

Anya Fernald: [0:57:06] It was a long time. But the issue is the company’s needs too. You know, now we’re scaling logistical capacity on ecommerce, which means setting up fulfillment centers and building up more complex kind of like customer service loopbacks and things. These are not the areas that are my passion. So I can get interested in anything if it supports the broader goals of my life. But that’s really not my best and highest usage. So it’s a natural fit for me to… I hired somebody incredible who was president of Method, the soap company, and built it like eight fold and crushes it and loves logistics and loves distribution and is really good at team building, and it’s been a really good fit. So being free of some of the operational complexity is allowing me to kind of lift off and do more of the thinking and the thought leadership and the space that I want to build for myself as a culinary voice as well.

Kelly: [0:57:55] And frankly, I was going to say, food porn, we will link to you. But your Instagram is so inspiring. Like it’s really so great. You can do many things like so many of the powerful women that I know, comma, you are a master of cooking beautiful foods and taking pictures of them also.

Anya Fernald: [0:58:16] Yeah. That’s kind of what brought me back to my heart of the brand. For years it was a real struggle. And I started working on social. I mean I was the operational CEO of a meat company. I wasn’t developing recipes for our restaurants. I oversaw menu items and things like that. But a couple years ago I was like you know what, this Instagram kind of is interesting to me, I’m going to put my mind to it. And I started doing it on the weekends for the company and for myself, just taking a day and just cooking the heck out of everything, and doing it how I wanted to on the wood fire. And we started to really pick up. And I was like okay, this is actually a good use of my time. So it’s been… I kind of built my future with that because I started doing the piece of things that I loved with a lot of passion. And then fortunately, with the ecommerce, we’ve been able to leverage that aspect of the brand much, much more strategically. 

Kelly: [0:59:04] I didn’t mean to interrupt you. You were going to follow up about what are you doing now, what are you working on. Was that —

Juliet: [0:59:09] Well, I guess it was a little bit more of a specific question, which is that I know that you have been a judge on Iron Chef and spent some time on Food Network. Will we be seeing The Anya Fernald Show on some sort of food —

Kelly: [0:59:21] Please, please, please, please.

Juliet: [0:59:21] Because you have two subscribers already.

Anya Fernald: [0:59:25] I hope. I mean right now I’m really still focused on building the business and getting ecomm up and running. But I’ve talked to… I feel like the world’s evolving or the culinary landscape’s evolving in a way where my voice might fit in better, right? Because for a while, I was doing things that were just way too out there, but now I feel like it’s become more mainstream to be into what I’m into.

Kelly: [0:59:47] Girl, you have become so basic in your craziness. It’s pretty amazing. You’re like, first, I’m going to do this revolutionary thing, I’m going to make a fire and then cook —

Juliet: [0:59:58] Revolutionary thing: I’m going to cook meat over a fire.

Anya Fernald: [1:00:00] Over a fire. Yeah. I hope. I’m interested right now to see. I’m trying to straddle… The business side is still really meaningful. I’m driving a capital rise right now for the company. That’s my first time to raise capital. So it’s a big deal for me. And then I’m hoping six months from now to be able to spend a lot more time being a voice for regenerative agriculture and teaching people to eat stuff and smell it first and savor it and cook slowly and love on their families with their food. You know, that’s kind of the message I want to bring. So I’m hoping.

Kelly: [1:00:31] I have to tell… Here’s my mea culpa. I don’t like pork. No, look. Lisa’s —

Juliet: [1:00:37] Lisa’s in the background. She’s so disappointed, so disappointed.

Kelly: [1:00:39] She’s Puerto Rican heritage and she’s just like, I don’t even know you. I like shrimp. But the idea is —

Juliet: [1:00:47] You can’t counter it with liking shrimp. That doesn’t help.

Kelly: [1:00:50] That’s because it’s part of the heritage. Anyway, this goes way back. I love Belcampo pork. I love the pork I had in Germany as a kid. People in this Paleo movement are like bacon, bacon, everything bacon, bacon, bacon. I was like eh, take it or leave it. I don’t really love bacon. But I love your bacon. I don’t know if I can say that in a non creepy… I love your bacon. All the women here are like writing the time down for HR, what time. You know, I just really have to say that it is interesting that I had this aversion to a meat that I just didn’t love. And then when I fell in love with Belcampo, I suddenly was like, oh, pork is back on the menu. And it really is a relationship to those animals.

Anya Fernald: [1:01:35] I also think I can be kind of woo in this, pork are the most similar to humans in terms of DNA and there’s definitely kind of like a… They’re the most intelligent, they’re smarter than dogs, they can totally sense fear when they’re… There’s actual an energetic load in confinement pork that I think people can be sensitive to, sort of a comment. I also think pork is incredibly, incredibly texturally impacted through slow growth. Everything’s impacted by speed of growth. Musculature that’s put on more slowly tends to be finer, more compact, more tender. But in pork, I noticed the greatest difference between the slow growing pork that’s free range and the confinement pork, just that it’s not ropey, it’s mild and sweet and tender. So it could be woo or it could be science. But somewhere in the middle. The other stuff’s gross and our stuff’s magic.

Kelly: [1:02:27] I think it’s magic. But it really brings back to the idea that I’m not choosing to eat Belcampo necessarily because it’s better for the environment or more sustainable. It’s better. It tastes so good. And I think that’s really… We always lose track of that a little bit. When Juliet and I are like, hey, you should engage in these behaviors because your body will feel better, not because you might have knee rabies someday. You know, I think the immediate tradeoff sometimes that gets lost in this conversation is just how tasty your food is. So thank you.

Anya Fernald: [1:03:02] Awesome. Well, come back soon and have some —

Juliet: [1:03:00] Okay, so one request. When I come to meat camp, can we make herbed Lardo together? That’s my personal request. I want to bring a giant tub of Lardo back to my house.

Anya Fernald: [1:03:13] Well, we can… I can just get you some backfat and I can teach you how to make Lardo at home. It’s actually, it’s an easy charcuterie product to make at home. 

Juliet: [1:03:22] Yes.

Kelly: [1:03:22] Dude.

Juliet: [1:03:22] Yes.

Kelly: [1:03:23] I’m stalking your Instagram right now for Lardo.

Anya Fernald: [1:03:26] Okay.

Juliet: [1:03:26] So where can people follow you and all of the amazing cooking and other things you’re doing?

Anya Fernald: [1:03:32] So @belcampmeatco is our handle and I am @anyafernald. Meat camps, you can come visit the farm. You can also just go on, hit camp to stay there. Most importantly go to and get some meat. We just launched subscriptions. And so we’ll be really able to… I think for many of your customers that are eating for wellness and health and have kind of like consistent needs monthly, it’s a great way to get some value because we do offer a discount and you can get meat shipped to you in whatever cadence you’d like: weekly, biweekly, et cetera. So website’s now got about 60 products on it. We have all the holiday specials and things like that. And it’s just an awesome library of amazing, organic, free-range, pastured, organically farmed meat.

Kelly: [1:04:15] So let me get this straight. Step one, grew up on a raw dairy farm. Step two, lived in a grotto. Step three, save the planet, feed people. It’s a straight line. I totally understand it now.

Juliet: [1:04:25] The grotto’s a key thing. I’d focus on that too.

Anya Fernald: [1:04:28] We can now just like loop together our worlds, guys, and then we can just…a protocol, which is like ice bath, sauna, fire pit.

Kelly: [1:04:35] Ooh, you know the fire pit has always been missing from the ice bath, sauna.

Anya Fernald: [1:04:38] I mean it’s like I actually would recommend it’d be like ice bath, sauna, light the fire, do the grounding laying on the regenerative earth, and then come back and eat the meat. Just saying.

Juliet: [1:04:50] Well, that sounds like the greatest weekend I could ever have.

Anya Fernald: [1:04:52] I’m just brainstorming on the wellness front with you guys.

Kelly: [0:00:00] You’re going to be 2,000 years old. You’re never going to die. This is the problem. There are a million stories and pieces. We love this podcast because our crazy life through fitness and health has brought us in contact with so many inspiring and gorgeous brained people. Thank you so much for being our friends and for talking about your journey because it is amazing. It’s bananas, as Lisa would say.

Anya Fernald: [1:05:21] Thank you for having me.

Juliet: [1:05:23] Thank you, Anya.

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