Farmers Market Profile: Jojoba Beef Company’s Gregg Vinson

“It’s just a good, natural, locally grown product that people really like,” says Jojoba Beef Company’s Gregg Vinson. “Our customers like buying beef from us because they know we take care of our land.”

The Jojoba Beef Company is comprised of three ranches that operate as conservation ranches.

“Pastoral grazing is the lowest form of environmental distribution. The animal hoof prints graze the land and also plant the seeds. This maintains a cycle of balance and renewal.”

Applying this stewardship philosophy of honoring the land and the animals in his care, Vinson is knowledgeable about what he does and allows mother nature to tell him the rest.

“Our animals forage on a wide variety of our desert plants. We move them so they don’t overgraze. It’s difficult and requires a lot of training to know when to move the cattle. We base our operations more on an ecological principle process, rather than an agricultural one.”

Vinson’s animals are not given any antibiotics or vaccines, explaining that it’s survival of the fittest on the ranch which leads to a strong herd.  This dedicated practice ensures that the animals do not depend on the rancher and increases their overall intelligence.

“The only thing the cows rely on me for is to move them from pasture to pasture,” he says. “I am not monitoring them individually, I am observing the whole ranch.”

The company’s namesake, jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba), stems from the shrub that dominates the ranch land. Oil extracted from the seeds of the jojoba bush is frequently used in shampoos and lotions because of its moisturizing benefits.

“The cattle eat all of the brush, but their favorite is the jojoba. The jojoba adds a decisive flavor to the beef and increases its quality. My beef has more flavor compounds than wine,” Vinson describes.

(Photo Credit: Michael Moriarty)

(Photo Credit: Michael Moriarty)

Running the ranches and ensuring the land and cattle are operating properly keeps Vinson busy but he also looks forward to days at the farmers market.

“It’s interesting coming out of my world into that world. The people are very nice and thirsty for knowledge.” He explains that he often teaches customers how to best cook his product. “A lot of times, it is so simple they don’t believe me. We think we need some complicated website to teach us how to cook and it isn’t true.”

This year marks The Jojoba Beef Company’s tenth anniversary selling its meat at the farmers market. Vinson can only be found at the Rillito Park Farmers Market on Sundays and his daughter is at the Uptown Market in Phoenix on Saturdays. His products are also for sale at the Oracle Patio Cafe in Oracle and served at the JW Marriott in Phoenix.

“We don’t ship, it’s all sold locally in Tucson and Phoenix. We love it that way.”

Gregg Vinson and his family created a business that nourishes this community and provides a healthy, quality product. The Jojoba Beef Company fosters a product that celebrates the land it uses and honors the animals by allowing them to live naturally.

“I was a cowboy with a dream. It has been a long journey that has provided opportunity and hard work.”

For more information or to buy from The Jojoba Beef Company, visit Gregg Vinson in person on Sundays at the Rillito Park Farmers Market. In his own words, “We don’t need a website, we always sell all of our beef.”

Jennifer Rothschild is an aspiring freelance food writer by night.