LOS ANGELES, CA (May 23, 2012) – Starting this Memorial Day, Southern California shoppers can heat things up with seasonal Hearst Ranch grass-fed beef at Whole Foods Market’s Southern California stores. Available through August 2012, while supplies last, Whole Foods Market is the exclusive Southern California retailer of Hearst Ranch Beef for the second year in a row.

Raised by ranchers who consider themselves both cowboys and grass farmers, Hearst Ranch pasture-raised cattle live a natural existence as foragers and grazers. This enhances the biodiversity of the native landscape, makes for healthier meat—and results in the authentic flavor of the American West. Just over 800 head of cattle will be harvested from the 155,000 combined acres of the sustainable Hearst Ranch.

“The Hearst legacy started in 1865 when my great-great-grandfather bought this land. Our partnership with Whole Foods Market is one way that we’re able to perpetuate our heritage and provide Californians with access to our products,” said Steve Hearst, vice president and general manager of Hearst Corporation's Western Properties. “We have built our business on the foundation of being sustainable and stimulating our land naturally by allowing the cattle to live the way Mother Nature intended.”

Nestled at the heart of California in San Simeon, Hearst Ranch beef is produced by the Hearst Corporation on the company’s two ranches: the 82,000-acre San Simeon Ranch, which surrounds the world-famous Hearst Castle, and the 73,000-acre Jack Ranch located 60 miles inland. In 2005, Hearst Corporation, in concert with a coalition of visionary Californians, preserved the fabled San Simeon Ranch as a grass-fed beef ranch in perpetuity through the historic Hearst Ranch Conservation Agreement.

In addition to being locally sourced, Hearst Ranch’s seasonal grass-fed beef has earned an impressive level four rating from Whole Foods Market’s Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Animal Welfare program. This means that Hearst Ranch’s cattle have been raised on a pasture with no antibiotics, added growth hormones or animal by-products.

“The process of raising and nurturing grass-fed cattle is a cyclical process that has been around for hundreds of years,” said Mike Hacaga, Whole Foods Market regional meat coordinator, Southern Pacific Region. “We hope to take this exciting venture with Hearst Ranch to the next level through tasting events, special recipes and really getting our shoppers excited about this great, quality meat and the exceptional taste, texture and health benefits of grass-fed beef.”

The cattle which are born and raised at Hearst Ranches are able to range freely and graze solely on the grasses that grow on the ranches, resulting in a distinctive flavor that comes from the unique combination of the grass, soil, water and climate of the region.  Just as the region or “terroir” adds unique taste characteristics to wine varietals, the Central Coast terroir adds a zesty grassiness to Hearst Ranch’s. 

Hearst Ranch Grass-fed Beef will be sold at 21 Southern California Whole Foods Market locations through August 2012 including 5th and Wilshire (Santa Monica), 23rd and Wilshire (Santa Monica), Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Fairfax, Glendale, Montana (Santa Monica), Pasadena (Arroyo and Pasadena stores), Porter Ranch, Santa Barbara, Sherman Oaks (East and West stores), Tarzana, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, Westwood, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, and Venice.

For more information on Whole Foods Market’s local grass-fed beef, please visit https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/grassfedbeef/ranchers.php.

About Whole Foods Market®
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company's motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s more than 64,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 15 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2011, the company had sales of more than $10 billion and currently has more than 315 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.