Nature’s Bounty, a Vacaville, Calif. farm run by Ahmad and Lourdes Kararouni, sells all-natural meat to customers looking for food that is chemical and hormone-free.
The Karaouni’s are a Lebanese and Honduran-American family. They have three children: Ali, Jasmine and Hassan.
Jasmine Karaouni, a UC Davis senior majoring in biological sciences, said she is very proud of her family’s non-commercial farm.
“We started Nature’s Bounty because we believed that the people would appreciate having a source for all-natural, high quality, meats that allowed them to save money. We also wanted to help the community preserve its diverse cultural and religious customs,” Jasmine said.
The Karaounis have lived on their farm raising lambs, goats, and cows for the last sixteen years. Before founding Nature’s Bounty in 2008, they used the livestock they raised for their own consumption.
According to Ahmad, the owner and manager of Nature’s Bounty, the farm is a family affair.
“My son, my wife and myself are licensed meat inspectors so we can deal with the state inspectors. All of my children help with the breeding, cleaning and feeding of the animals. It is a whole family job,” he said.
Nature’s Bounty sells fresh-farm lamb, goat and beef. The Karaouni’s are proud to say that they do not use hormones in their livestock production and they treat the animals humanely.
“[The animals are fed] Rye grass and Alfalfa. Our animals are free-roam. They have several acres of open pasture. The animals have a corral where they can be viewed by customers during business hours,” Jasmine said.
Ahmad agrees, stating that the organic recipe of Nature’s Bounty is his main concern.
“The meat is fresh and my main concern is that there are no hormones, no chemicals and no feed lots,” he said.
The farm sells custom meats, including halal meat.
“For those who are interested, we provide customers with halal meat, meaning meat processed in accordance with Islamic culture which minimizes the suffering of the animals and ensures the quality of the meat,” said Jasmine.
In the beginning Ahmad had been concerned that Nature’s Bounty would not appeal to the general public.
“At first, I thought that our food was only going to be sold, or, would only interest, certain ethnic or religious groups. But in the last year, it’s amazing to see how many natives have stopped by to take a tour. After they see the process, they want to buy our meat,” he said.
While the majority of customers come from the surrounding area of Vacaville, many constant-consumers come from hours away for Nature Bounty’s meat.
“We also have regular customers that come from as far as San Jose. People are willing to travel from far distances because we offer a unique service and product. We offer all-natural, farm fresh meat that is reasonably priced,” she said.
Ali Sidisalah drives all the way from Berkeley just for a whole lamb from Nature’s Bounty.
“The meat is really good. In my opinion, it’s the best meat. It has no chemicals and it has a natural taste. Every two or three months, my family and I buy a whole lamb; we like it a lot,” said Sidisalah.
Customers can either visit Nature’s Bounty in Vacaville to place an order, or they can order over the phone.
According to Nature’s Bounty brochure, “Animals are not processed until ordered, and, consequently, are generally sold as a whole. Customers typically share an animal with friends and/or family so that they can enjoy farm-fresh meat, and save money together.“
“Prices vary by the animal’s age and size. The best value is taking a whole animal, which can be as little as 25 lbs of meat,” said Jasmine. “Our prices are comparable to grocery store prices. However, our meat is of the highest quality because we do not use any chemicals or hormones.“
If potential customers are worried that they can’t handle a whole animal, a half an animal is only a phone call away. Nature’s Bounty will match a half order with another customer only seeking half an animal, and will find the most convenient delivery date for both parties.
“Typically, [match-up] customers are matched together in a week. Half sizes start at about 15 lbs, which is a totally manageable size for students,” Jasmine said.
Jasmine said she believes that the current economic crisis will only emphasize the importance of watching what you eat.
“During the economic crisis, we have noticed that people have refocused on essentials to simplify their lives and save money. They seem to have an even greater appreciation for knowing what they are eating while saving money in the process,” she said.
Whether it’s to stock up on lamb chops or to check out a fellow Aggie’s business, those interested can visit Nature’s Bounty, located on 5636 Weber Road in Vacaville, Calif., open Friday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (707) 693-0908 for more information.
MEGAN ELLIS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.