To get a good perspective, sometimes you need to look in from the outside.

I had an invitation this week to come to Uruguay with a business associate, Anthony Zolezzi, to meet with ranchers who raise grass-fed beef. These producers know grass-fed. Uruguay has an ideal climate, with green grass growing throughout most of the year. And, the Uruguayans haven’t gone down the grain-finishing path over the past few decades. In the U.S., we are learning grass-finishing all over again. In Uruguay, they never forgot.

So, this morning, we are headed to meet with some beef ranchers. This is a business trip. But it’s impossible not to play tourist. So, en route to the meeting, we couldn’t resist pulling over as we passed a simple open-air market along the road. To say it was a market may be a bit of a stretch. It was more of a roadside stand, with a collection of wares spread out along the ground. As we stepped out of the car, the delightful aroma of the sausages and cured meats hanging from the rafters filled our senses. The proprietor stepped from behind a small display cooler containing bright wheels of locally made cheese and greeted us with a welcoming “ola’ as we picked our way through the collection of merchandise ranging from rusty branding irons to hand-made shoes.

Countries like Uruguay have rapidly moved into the international marketplace with state-of-the-art production and processing facilities. The little open-air market was a comforting reminder that the old ways remain alive and well.

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