hands holding different hot dogs

Spring! Time for Baseball and Hot Dogs!

Ah, Spring. Time for the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, a cup of cold beer, and America’s favorite ballpark food, the hot dog. Americans consume around 20 million hot dogs at major league games during a typical season, a tradition that started in baseball’s early days around the turn of the 20th century.

People tell competing tales about how baseball and hotdogs became inextricably linked. One story goes that Chris von der Ahe, a flamboyant German immigrant and bar owner in St. Louis, introduced them at the ballpark where the team he owned, the St. Louis Browns, played. He was apparently a clever guy—he kept the ticket prices low so gamegoers would buy more beer. And maybe hotdogs.

Residents of Niles, Ohio, will tell you that the creation of the hot dog came from Harry Stevens, a local entrepreneur and immigrant from England who became known as THE ballpark concessionaire around the turn of the century. Legend has it that it was a chilly spring day in 1901 and no one at the New York Giants game was buying ice cream, so Harry started selling German sausages known as dachshund sausages, which were traditionally wrapped in wax paper. When the concession stand ran out of wax paper, he sent one of his employees out to buy rolls to serve the sausages. A newspaper cartoonist who drew the event apparently couldn’t spell dachshund, so he called them hot dogs. To this day, the town of Niles celebrates with Harry Stevens Hot Dog Day during the summer.

Whether or not there’s a grain of truth to either story, the fact remains that a baseball game without a hot dog just isn’t the same experience. Why? Hot dogs are easy to eat by hand, they’re inexpensive, and you can customize them with toppings that tickle your tastebuds. Yellow mustard? You bet! Pickle relish? Please! Diced onions? Don’t mind if I do! Cheese, chili, tomatoes, ketchup—every dog afficionado has a preference.

Of course, not everyone lives close to a ballpark, or—gasp—even enjoys America’s favorite pastime. 

For those who want to enjoy a ballpark hot dog at home, Panorama Organic has introduced a line of organic, 100% grass-fed hot dogs that rival anything you’ll find at Dodger Stadium. The ingredients are simple: organic grass-fed beef, vinegar, a touch of organic raw cane sugar and honey, and a tantalizing assortment of organic spices. They’re pre-cooked and warm up quickly on the grill or in the steamer, ready and waiting for your favorite toppings.

Keep it simple with just a squirt of mustard on a soft bun or get crazy with a Sonoran dog. They’re also delicious in mac and cheese, baked beans, or any other hot dog recipe your family enjoys. 

Panorama Organic hot dogs are available at retailers across the country. Stock up today and be ready for baseball season–or just a quick weeknight supper that will please everyone. 

Product of USA Labeling In The News…Again

As we’ve written in the past (here and here), the “Product of USA” claim on beef labels is misleading to most shoppers. You would think when you see those words on a package of beef it would mean that what’s inside came from animals born, raised, and processed in the U.S. But that’s not the case. Imported beef can be cut, ground, and wrapped in this country and carry the claim, despite the fact that the actual product—the steak, roast, or ground beef—came from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, or other places. It’s downright deceitful.

But now, after lobbying from small farm and ranch groups, the USDA has presented a proposed rule to lessen the confusion and is currently seeking comments. The new rule—voluntary, just like the old rule—states that animals must be born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the U.S. in order to carry the “Product of USA” or “Made in the USA”  labels. You can read more about the proposed rule and make comments here. (Be patient–it might take a few seconds to load.)

Beef born and raised in the USA sticker

The confusion around this wording is why you’ll see the “Born and Raised in the USA” certification label on every Panorama Organic product. Unlike the more common “Product of USA” label claim, this is a certified program recognizing products that come from animals truly born and raised on American family ranches. We have never imported our beef, and we never will, and all of our animals are processed here in the U.S. This keeps small businesses—the ranches, packing plants, cold storage companies, truckers, and other allied suppliers—surviving and thriving. 

Why is that important to you as a beef buyer and eater? Most of our customers are values shoppers. They believe in animal welfare, environmental protections, and serving healthy products to their families. All of our beef comes from animals raised on pasture where they’re able to express their natural herd instincts and fed nothing but grass and forage—no hormones, no antibiotics. All of those pastures are certified organic and non-GMO, and every one of our ranchers adheres to a management plan designed to build and restore habitat for the birds, bees, and wildlife that depend on our ever-shrinking US grasslands. When you buy and serve Panorama Organic beef, you’re voting with your fork for a more compassionate, equitable, healthy, and earth-friendly food system.

Not only does our beef exceed most people’s expectations for organic and grass-fed beef, it’s also delicious. (Read more about that here.) With exceptional tenderness and flavor, it’s a product we’re proud to deliver to your family’s dinner table.

We urge you to learn more about the issues surrounding Product of USA labeling and to weigh in with your feedback. The comment period is open until May 12. 

Panorama Organic Announces New USDA Choice Label

Panorama Organic is pleased to announce that soon, all of the company’s steaks and other cuts will carry the USDA Choice quality shield on their labels. This is a first for any organic, 100% grass-fed beef brand in the country, and is a result of the company’s ongoing commitment to creating beef that delivers an exceptional eating experience.

What differentiates USDA Choice beef from non-graded beef? 

Since 1927, USDA’s quality grading system has been a voluntary inspection program that assigns beef carcasses one of several ratings to indicate how palatable the meat will be. The primary consideration is the amount of marbling—the amount of fat distributed throughout the muscle—but trained USDA inspectors are also looking for color, firmness, and tenderness.  

While the USDA recognizes eight quality grades, the three most commonly found in supermarkets and restaurants are Prime, Choice, and Select. 

  • Prime beef has abundant marbling. It’s the priciest grade and is generally on the menu in fine-dining restaurants and steak houses. 
  • Choice beef has slightly less marbling than Prime, but is tender, juicy, and exceptionally flavorful.  
  • Select beef is slightly leaner and may not have the robust, beefy flavor of Prime and Choice. It’s usually the lower-priced option in most grocery stores.

Grades below Select are usually used for making into ground beef or ultra-processed beef products like canned soup, frozen products, or pet food.

Sometimes beef doesn’t carry a quality grade at all. This could be because the carcass graded lower than Select, or because the supplier doesn’t participate in the program, which is true of much of the grass-fed and organic beef on the market. For small producers, the investment in grade inspections may not make economic sense, especially if the carcass quality isn’t consistent or high enough to merit the cost.

At Panorama Organic, we strive to deliver the best-tasting, highest-quality beef to your plate. It starts with genetics and maternal health in the herd, and then depends on finishing, or how the animals are fed after they’re weaned. Our ranchers make sure plenty of high-quality organic, non-GMO grass and forage is available for animals to graze until they’re ready for harvest. Our animals never receive antibiotics or hormones and are never confined to a feedlot. In addition, our ranchers each follow a management plan that builds not only healthy soil and pastures, but also creates and restores habitat for birds, bees, and wildlife. 

But isn’t grass-fed beef supposed to be lean?

One of the complaints about grass-fed is that it’s so lean, it can be chewy and hard to cook. Yet, the fat in grass-fed meat is full of Omega-3s and other nutrients, making it one of nature’s healthy fats. By increasing the amount of marbling in Panorama Organic’s beef, we give you the advantage of meat that’s tender and flavorful, along with a bigger dose of healthy fat. It’s the best of both worlds.

We’re proud to have achieved this milestone, and we hope you enjoy every morsel of our organic, grass-fed, Choice beef.

Erewhon: 55 Years of Delivering Healthy Foods to Conscious Eaters

From its humble beginnings as a small market stall in late 1960s Boston to its current chain of eight stores in Los Angeles County, Erewhon has become the go-to spot in the Los Angeles area for all things organic, healthy, and nutritious. On any given day, you might find a gathering of well-known influencers and famous movie stars sipping green smoothies on the patio and posing for Instagram selfies, but Erewhon is also popular with regular shoppers who want the healthiest, freshest food they can find in their neighborhoods. Panorama Organic is proud to be part of the Erewhon product mix.

Erewhon Studio City market
Photo courtesy of Erewhon

When Erewhon founders Michio and Aveline Kushi came to the U.S. from Japan in the early 1950s, the macrobiotic food movement was mostly unheard of outside of Japan. Based on principles of Zen Buddhism, the macrobiotic diet balances the yin and yang of foods, with an emphasis on organic grains, beans, local vegetables, fermented foods, fish, some fruit, and not much meat. Michio Kushi soon became known worldwide as an expert and evangelist for the macrobiotic diet, and the couple began importing products from Japan for the growing group of adherents to the diet in the U.S. 

They called their market Erewhon, an anagram for nowhere, that came from the late 1800s satirical novel of the same name. In the book, Erewhon is a utopian society where people focus on their own good health. In 1968, the Kushis left Boston and opened a Los Angeles store. Erewhon, one of the first natural groceries in the country, paved the way for stores like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers. Unlike their bigger competitors, though, Erewhon remained a single location on Beverly Boulevard in L.A.

In 2011, Tony and Josephine Antoci acquired that store, and in the intervening years, have grown Erewhon to eight markets in Los Angeles County. While they may have increased the number of locations, the Antocis have stayed focused on the founding principles of Erewhon as envisioned by Michio and Aveline Kushi: a place for pure products that promote the health of the individual, the community, and the planet.

To demonstrate that commitment in a concrete way, in 2021, Erewhon became a Certified B Corporation, a designation that shows a business meets “high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.” In addition, last year, Erewhon earned USDA organic retailer certification, one of a handful of grocery companies in the country to do so.

Where does Panorama Organic fit into Erewhon’s principled approach to grocery shopping? According to Victor Manes, director of protein at Erewhon, “Panorama Organic checks all the boxes for us. It’s organic, grass-fed, and local, and the regenerative piece and Audubon is big, too. It makes conservation easy for us and our customers. We’re always trying to find the best products for our shoppers, who are health-conscious people who want to eat better to live longer. Panorama Organic helps us do that.”

Kay Cornelius, Panorama Organic’s general manager, agrees that the two companies are a good fit. “Panorama Organic is proud to partner with a retailer like Erewhon that’s committed to bringing healthy, high-quality products to Los Angeles consumers, shoppers who value what we stand for—nutritious organic, grass-fed beef raised regeneratively to preserve critical wildlife habitat, restore the soil and water, and promote biodiversity.”

She adds, “We’re excited to grow with Erewhon as they expand in Southern California.”

Erewhon has locations in Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Silver Lake, Studio City, and Venice, with new stores planned in Culver City and Pasadena.