These free-range turkey sticks are good. Really really good. They’re succulent and moist and highly flavorful, with an explosive taste profile from all sorts of spices blended into perfect umaminess. Strict paleo folks will love that there’s not a lick of sugar in them. Nutritionally-savvy folks will love that these are 100% free-range, because the fat from animals grazing on clean sweet grass is definitely something you should be eating, chock-full of healthy omega-3s and CLA. And “ban factory farms!” types will love the fact that these sticks are straight from Nick's 5th-generation family farm in Iowa.
Okay, this is kind of embarrassing. When I was a little kid, I used to love Slim Jims. I’d beg my mom to put them in my lunch every day, and I’d save them till the bus ride home, where I’d savor them nibble by nibble, delighting in their intense sweet-salty tangy fatty spiciness. In retrospect, I was umami-deprived back then; my mom learned to cook in the 1950s, when boiling frozen veggies until they were grey was considered acceptable practice, salt was dangerously unhealthy, and spices could burn your mouth, and were best avoided. So I learned to seek out umami wherever I could find it, mostly in all-too-rare visits to Chinese restaurants, and in pre-packaged snack foods like Slim Jims.
If you ever want to get really depressed, google Slim Jims ingredients and behold. I won’t go into the ConAgra cocktail of not-quite-food ingredients here. But suffice it to say, you probably don’t want to be putting Slim Jims into your body on a regular basis, now that you’re grown up and label-savvy and clean-eatin’ and all that. But still, the craving for meaty umami goodness continues, and this is where Nick Wallace and his sticks come to the rescue.
These free-range turkey sticks are good. Really really good. They’re succulent and moist and highly flavorful, with that satisfying snap that you get from Slim Jims, and an explosive taste profile from Real Salt, blended with all sorts of spices into perfect umaminess. The turkey flavor is rich but subtle; most of what you taste is just pure umami tangy-salty-spiced meatiness, like sausage or salami. They’re lower in fat than Nick’s grass-fed beef sticks, and just as flavorful. I like to mix up my nutrition as much as possible, so I eat both kinds with abandon. (Fun fact: Slim Jims themselves contain a goodly amount of poultry, in the form of, um, mechanically separated chicken.)
Strict paleo folks will love that there’s not a lick of sugar in these (and yet they still have a deeply sweet quality). Nutritionally-savvy folks will love the fact that these are 100% free-range, because the fat from animals grazing on clean sweet grass is definitely something you should be eating, chock-full of healthy omega-3s. And “ban factory farms!” types will love the fact that these sticks are straight from Nick’s 5th-generation family farm in Iowa, where animals are treated right —pastured, hormone and antibiotic-free. Nick and his family know grass and soil and animal husbandry, and their standards are impeccable.
But I digress. Have I mentioned how awesomely delicious these sticks are? I can’t make a pack last for more than a few minutes, which is fine by me, because there’s not a lick of bad stuff inside, just ultra-healthy protein and fat. They taste like good charcuterie, but they’re totally shelf-stable, so you can bring them anywhere you might want to go, even if it’s just upstairs to your desk. I love dipping them in tangy spicy mustard, for an amazing counterpoint to an already-delicious mini-meal. But most of the time I just eat them as is, happy that Nick has created a worthy replacement to the beloved Slim Jims of my youth. As Nick says, All of the goodness, none of the garbage.
Nick’s life is a roller coaster ride of sorts.
1997 — A woulda, coulda, shoulda been college baseball star… curse you lymphoma!
1998 to Present — A cancer survivor
2003 — Co-founder of Wallace Farms (www.wallacefarms.com)
Today — A leader within the natural foods industry
Tomorrow — A person who you can always trust to bring you the healthiest, cleanest, most nutrient-dense snack sticks in the… Milky Way Galaxy!
Nick Wallace is one of the founders of Wallace Farms, a 100% grass-fed farm located in Keystone, Iowa. He grew up in a town called Strawberry Point… charming, right? Ventured far west for college, landing in Corvallis, Oregon…. Duuude! Got sick (see above) and finished school and chemo in Iowa City, IA…. Whoa! Then had a come-to-Jesus career moment that led to a year of culinary school in Colorado…. Free food + lift tickets = Gnarly! Finally, he returned “Back to the Land” that his great-great grandfather first farmed in 1894. Alleluia!. It is now the homestead for Nick and his family, in addition to being the centerpiece of Wallace Farms.
Today, other farmers simply watch in amazement as Nick stacks and packs the snacks that will keep you coming back! Try to say that 5 times fast!
Some farmers are turned on by confinement livestock, GMO feed and MSG. Nick and his animals thrive on grass, sunshine and free-range living. Along the way, he developed the idea and the recipe for Nick’s Sticks. They are a straightforward, uncomplicated food that nourishes your body and soul. Read it and weep, Dalai Lama fans!
Today, hundreds of customers rely on Nick and his network of family farmers to provide food that is safe, sustainably-raised, hormone and pesticide-free, and always all-natural.
One of the biggest complaints about grass-fed animals is that the taste, quality and consistency are often inferior to grain-fed products. At Wallace Farms, we simply do not accept this notion and have made it our corporate mission to prove that grass-fed animals can taste great and be tender on a consistent basis.
Wallace Farms cattle are currently raised on lush grasslands in the Midwest by experienced family farmers who adhere to the highest standards in the industry. The personal touch that these producers provide lies in stark contrast with conditions found at most of the giant, corporate-driven feed lots, which furnish the vast majority of today’s cattle and turkey.
Our turkeys eat nothing but grass and hay and are never given additives, synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics. Rather, they eat what Mother Nature designed their bodies to digest—grass—nothing more and nothing less.
So, what did Wallace Farms discover that is beginning to make our company stand out among others in the growing grass-fed marketplace? Why does our grass-fed meat taste superior on a consistent basis? We believe it has everything to do with our soil, our grass, our genetics, our processing and our people.
Our premium beef and turkey begins with the soil. It is the foundation upon which our system is built. We constantly monitor soil fertility, measuring and adjusting levels as necessary. The superior quality of our grass-fed animals is directly linked to the nutrients that were present in the soil of the pastures used to raise each animal.
Wallace Farms cattle and turkey producers also grow and manage the finest grass available in the industry and treat it like the important crop that it is. Many people might simply overlook the importance of grass quality in the overall equation. However, our company’s leaders and family farm partners realize that grass is a crucial element and another building block upon which our final product stands.
At Wallace Farms, our producers choose every animal with care, selecting breeds that will excel in our production system. Then they personally manage the growth of each animal, without detrimentally “speeding up” the natural growth process that each animal will take in reaching their ultimate final weight. This critical step means that our animals can often take 50 to 100% longer than typical grain-fed animals to reach their ideal size. Veteran grass-fed entrepreneurs oversee all responsibilities in this area, fine-tuning every detail of the Wallace Farms commitment to quality.
Wallace Farms utilizes a customized, stress-free processing method for the animal. Each animal is currently slaughtered and processed at a family-owned, state-of-the-art, USDA-approved meat processing facility. As with each aspect of the Wallace Farms system, this final step is in stark contrast to the way in which most of the huge meat processing plants operate.
Below are just three examples of how a careful and customized process can make all the difference:
Lastly, Wallace Farms is inspired and led by experienced professionals in the grass and animal husbandry industries. Our experts ensure that each step in the company’s grass-fed system is followed carefully and with caution. With leaders such as Steve Wallace and his large network and access to forage experts, the company sits on very solid, fertile ground.
Turkey meat is nutritionally quite impressive. It’s loaded with protein, low in fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega fats. Here are some of the most awesome things about turkey:
Not so many years ago, a majority of the turkey in the United States was free-roaming, produced and finished using grass exclusively. In fact, it wasn't until the 1950s that grain-fed techniques and confined poultry “houses” became widely popular. The grain-fed movement spread very quickly, and by the 1980s, confined poultry houses with tiny cages were responsible for producing nearly 100% of this country’s turkey.
The nation’s switch to grain had a strong rationale. Grain-fed techniques have neutralized many of the unpredictable variables associated with raising poultry (favorable weather, green grass, and steady pricing in the market) and significantly streamlined the nation’s poultry supply chain. However, several nutritional experts now believe that this migration to grain-fed, cooped-up poultry was not in the best interest of our nation’s long-term health. For instance, rates of heart disease and obesity in the U.S. have increased significantly during the last four decades. Many researchers believe that the timing of these two events is more than a mere coincidence.
While still a niche movement, free-range poultry production and consumption is making a comeback. To better understand why, consider the following comparisons of grass-fed versus free-range turkey:
Low saturated fat levels (similar to the levels found in lean chicken breasts)
High in “good fat” omega-3’s (also commonly found in certain fish, such as salmon and tuna)
High doses of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), thought by many to be a cancer fighter
Reduced exposure to E. coli bacteria
Features an agricultural process that is ecologically friendly
Research on the cancer fighter aspects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is quite promising. The passage below is a direct quote from the book “Why Grass-fed is Best,” by prominent author Jo Robinson:
“Researchers did not get their first glimpse of the many health benefits of CLA until 1987. Although the research is in its earliest stages, CLA shows promise of reducing the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and a number of immune disorders. What’s more, CLA appears to be perfectly safe. Even in very large doses, this good fat has shown no harmful effects in laboratory animals.”
“At this point in time, the research on CLA and cancer is the most promising. When rats are fed very small amounts of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of their total calories—they show a significant reduction in tumor growth. At 1.5 percent of their caloric intake, tumor size is reduced by as much as 60 percent.”
“So, is there enough CLA in grass-fed products to reduce your risk of cancer? Probably so. It has been estimated that people eating ordinary grain-fed meat and dairy products consume about 1 gram of CLA a day. Judging by animal studies, this is one-third of the amount required to reduce the risk of cancer. Switching to grass-fed animal products would increase your CLA intake three to five times, which could make the all-important difference.”