Meet the Revivalists
Revival Meats’ founder Morgan Weber took the long road to a life of farming. He grew up near Yoakum, Texas, a small rural town midway between Houston and Corpus Christi, an hour’s drive inland from the Gulf of Mexico. After earning a degree in music, building a successful career buying real estate for the public sector, and dabbling in the restaurant industry, he returned to his family’s roots – the ranch founded by his grandfather, John William Hermes.
History of Our Home Ranch
In 1934, John and Mary Hermes risked all to add just shy of a thousand acres to some meager property that had been part of our family since the 1870’s in Lavaca County, Texas. John traded registered Brahma cattle, but always with an eye toward the extra income that helped him pay off the land. As Mary happily recalled later in life, “He never came back from the ranch without some squirrels or rabbits, to clean and sell to folks in town.”
John was also the area’s de-facto veterinarian. If someone needed help vaccinating cattle or pulling a calf in a rainstorm, they called Johnny Hermes. Mary tended acres of vegetables and had her hands full raising three girls, baking dozens of kolaches in a wood-burning stove, and welcoming unannounced visitors that John would bring home for dinner. John worked cattle with area friends and neighbors; Morgan’s mom, Jeanne, rode along with her father on the ranch from an early age.
As a young boy, Morgan was never much interested in accompanying Grandpa Hermes, known as “Pappy” to his grandchildren, to the ranch. Little did Morgan know that 20 years later, the idea of healing the ranch – land that had been abused, overgrazed, and leased out to other ranchers since Pappy’s death in 1988 – would be the calling that he felt was most true to his beliefs.
The Path to Revival Meats
The desire to sell the tastiest meat possible did not happen overnight. Morgan’s journey began in college, starting with a simple desire to learn how to cook. The more Morgan learned about cooking, the more he began to realize that the taste of the food on his plate, whether at a restaurant or at home, depended greatly on the quality of the raw ingredients. Finally, he could understand the words his mother told him often as a child: “No matter how well you cook it, you just can’t make bad ingredients taste good.”
In 2006, Morgan married Stacey Franklin, a lovely young lady from Houston. A few years later, upon buying their first home and moving to Houston Heights, the couple decided to turn over a new leaf in their eating habits. They didn’t have to look far for inspiration: Their grandparents butchered their own pigs and cattle. They had a milk cow and made their own butter, buttermilk, and cottage cheese. They grew hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, selling some at the market while canning enough to get the family through winter. They ate seasonally because it was simply how they lived.
Newly attuned to the politics of food, and able to filter their observations through a lifetime of family visits, Morgan and Stacey began to notice what a tremendous toll Big Ag seemed to be taking on rural Yoakum. The sharp rise and fall of the commodity agriculture markets combined with unpredictable Texas weather to deal blow after blow to farmers and ranchers all over Lavaca County who were dependent on the conventional (modern, industrial, and chemically dependent) methods. Not only did conventional farming and ranching lead to precarious incomes, but the methods themselves seemed in need of revision. In large-scale industrial agriculture, the welfare of animals comes second to their real purposes: To grow quickly, efficiently, and cheaply.
Morgan and Stacey feel strongly that agriculture does not have to follow this path. They’ve set out to do things differently: To sell humanely raised meat of the highest quality, directly to consumers -- to take the middleman and the mystery out of the equation. In founding Revival Meats, Morgan and Stacey want to give customers an opportunity to see where their food comes from. To this end, Revival Meats reaches back to the past, to restore values and ideals deeply steeped in family tradition, following a model of small-scale, humane, and truly sustainable agriculture.