April 20, 2023

#115: Adrian Bota (ORIGIN Milk)

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Adrian Bota — co-founder and CEO of ORIGIN Milk — on creating the superlative, regenerative A2 heritage milk company!

Adrian’s roots in farming go back to his father working on a farm in Romania. Adrian’s parents and four siblings escaped from Romania right before the fall of Communism, immigrating to the U.S. and arriving in Cleveland in 1991. While Adrian’s father imagined his children would seek careers in medicine or law, Adrian ultimately drew on his background in business and health to enter the farming industry. Prior to launching Origin, Adrian began his career helping to define Pfizer Pharmaceuticals’ approach to the changing healthcare marketplace in the U.S. He later worked at Cleveland Clinic Innovations Group to manage new ventures in healthcare technology, genetics, and health and wellness.

Led by his passion for nutrition and innovation, coupled with searching for the best options in nutrition for his new child, Adrian embarked on the journey of utilizing his background in the pharma & biotech sector to rethink human nutrition from the ground up. In 2015, Adrian embarked on that journey to wholesome, nature-led nutrition and established Origin, a trailblazing regenerative A2 Guernsey dairy brand right here in Cleveland Ohio. He began partnering first with small farmers in Ohio and has since grown the operation, partnering with small, family-owned farms in Pennsylvania and Colorado. Their deep expertise in product development and knowledge of emerging consumer demands has led Origin to expand its portfolio into multiple verticals — now offering products spanning multiple milk varieties, chocolate, ghee, butter, and more

As you’ll hear in our conversation today, Adrian is one of the sharpest thinkers and shrewdest builders I’ve come across — one of my favorite discussions so far and an absolute pleasure to listen to and learn from — At the risk of being put out to pasture for some of the worst milk puns I’ll ever utter on this podcast, Adrian is a genuine mooover and shaker in the dairy world where he is committed to leading the shift away from big dairy, which is reliant on legacy cows and factory farming, to a regenerative, organic and always local model of clean dairy.


This episode is brought to you byImpact ArchitectsandNinety. As we share the stories of entrepreneurs building incredible organizations throughout NEO, Impact Architects helps those leaders — many of whom we’ve heard from as guests on Lay of The Land — realize their visions and build great organizations. I believe in Impact Architects and the people behind it so much, that I have actually joined them personally in their mission to help leaders gain focus, align together, and thrive by doing what they love! As a listener, you can sit down for a free consultation with Impact Architects or leverage a free trial through Ninety, the software platform that helps teams build great companies, by visitingia.layoftheland.fm!


Connect with Adrian Bota on LinkedIn

Learn more about ORIGIN Milk

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For more episodes of Lay of The Land, visit https://www.layoftheland.fm/

Past guests include Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Steve Potash (OverDrive), Ed Largest (Westfield), Ray Leach (JumpStart), Lila Mills (Signal Cleveland), Pat Conway (Great Lakes Brewing), Lindsay Watson (Augment Therapy), and many more.

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[00:02:26] Jeffrey Stern: thank you, for joining us, Adrian, in researching origin and, and the work that you've done. You have a truly fascinating story and I'm very excited to learn more about it and hear how you think about it. So thank you for coming on.

[00:02:40] Adrian Bota: Glad to be here.

[00:02:41] Jeffrey Stern: To start, I think we have to explore a little bit from, the perspective of both what brought you to Cleveland from Romania and similar, you know, kind of stark transition from the world of, of pharmaceuticals and, and healthcare to, to farming. So, I'd love to start, if you could just share a bit of your, your own [00:03:00] personal story and how, how your career has, evolved over.

[00:03:06] Adrian Bota: Sure. So my personal story starts with Romania. I was born and raised in communist Romania, back in the eighties. And, my families, so my parents had been wanting to get out of, out of that regime for a long time.

[00:03:20] Adrian Bota: And so they made several attempts to leave. And one of the ways that the communist dictatorships would essentially persecute you or would try to keep you there, but not allowing you to leave, not allowing you to go visit other countries or. Indeed to immigrate to another country. And so with us having had family in the us, we had some aunts and uncle.

[00:03:39] Adrian Bota: Grandparents on my father's side, you know, my parents wanted to leave. They really wanted to get to America, but they weren't allowed. And so out of a different series of events, my mom was able to come to America on a visitor's visa in 1989. And that visitor's visa was granted to her after she gave birth to, a [00:04:00] child.

[00:04:00] Adrian Bota: So the fifth child in her family, and that infant had to stay back in Romania, and my mom had a 30 day visitor's visa to come to America. In the interim, my dad concocted a plan to take the rest of the kids or the kids and, escape Romania and then rendezvous back with her in America at some point. And she didn't, she wasn't in on that plan.

[00:04:21] Adrian Bota: She went for a 30 day visit to the. And, then she found out that, that that's what he was going to do. And, we then left e through, Hungary and, a couple years of adventures, almost two years of adventures and refugee camps and prison and all kinds of different, trials and tribulations perhaps.

[00:04:42] Adrian Bota: And just, I would say as an adventures, as a younger kid, I was seven years old at the. Made us through to get us through Hungary and into Austria, and then into the US about a year and a half, a year and a few months later. So that, that's, that's the, that's the [00:05:00] foundation for at least my family.

[00:05:02] Adrian Bota: Everyone has their own story and that's our family's story. And it's, you know, there's a lot, there are a lot of details and it's longer winded, but it does set the foundation for what drives, part of what drives me. So I a very driven by faith. So we have a very strong faith background, our family and then us per myself personally, and, and, and my immediate family.

[00:05:21] Adrian Bota: And then, very driven by the experience of having grown up in a communist country and escaping that regime and, then taking care or taking as much of good advantage of opportunities as possible here in the US or another, anywhere else where we ended up along the way.

[00:05:37] Jeffrey Stern: Hmm. So through those, I guess ultimately trials and, and tribulations.

[00:05:43] Jeffrey Stern: Why, why Cleveland? What, what, what, what kind of brought you to here ultimately at the, the end of that, that

[00:05:50] Adrian Bota: journey? Yeah. So Cleveland is, because that's where we had family and there was family here because they had some kind of family, and those people were here because, [00:06:00] you know, a long time ago, before it was the, Before it was the rust Belt.

[00:06:04] Adrian Bota: It was the actual, kind of manufacturing hub of the US at some point. And so you had a lot of Eastern Europeans that, immigrated to places like Cleveland and Akron and Detroit and Chicago and Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, et cetera. And so Cleveland is where we had some family, and a church community.

[00:06:24] Adrian Bota: And so that's where we ended up coming to. Hmm.

[00:06:27] Jeffrey Stern: And so, to kind of layer on the, the professional. Aside to to that story, you know, you mentioned motivations of, of both faith and also, you know, taking advantage of, of the opportunities available here. Take us through your professional journey and, and kind of how it inspired by, or, or relates to, to your, to your personal one.

[00:06:46] Adrian Bota: Yeah, my, my personal journey was one where, you know, I had to work from the time I was in junior high, and so I was always doing school and work, and then I went to the University of Akron and was exposed to a little bit more of what I would [00:07:00] want to do over the long term and knew it was either gonna be something in law or in in business.

[00:07:04] Adrian Bota: My journey was one where I was able to, I compete for an internship with Pfizer and I won that internship. Led me to New York City and then after school, you know, coming back to Akron, finishing off my last semester, and then being hired by Pfizer and then moving to New York City for an extended period of time for about eight and a half years.

[00:07:24] Adrian Bota: And so I was in Cleveland, but I was really. Absolutely knew that I was gonna probably end up somewhere else, and I did indeed end up somewhere else and then came back when it was time to start a family and worked at Pfizer and then worked on Wall Street, worked in consulting and in private equity. And then when we decided wanted to start, a family made a move back to Cleveland.

[00:07:47] Adrian Bota: The avenue, the career transition was to be at the Cleveland. Cleveland Clinic Innovations, helping to commercialize, ideas that were being spun out of the, the clinic. And then I spent a, a little bit of time in [00:08:00] Cleveland Clinic Innovations, and then I was, asked, asked to join the, the newly formed strategy office at the Cleveland Clinic working for the Chief Strategy officer in helping to coordinate strategic partnerships and and other strategic initiatives of the Cleveland Clinic.

[00:08:18] Jeffrey Stern: the, the world of, of agriculture and, and dairy farming, it, it's quite in contrast I feel to the, the worlds of, of Wall Street and private equity and, and, you know, corporate strategy, innovation and, you know, you know that, that kind of line of, of work. Where do your inspirations come from for transitioning back to, to the, the agricultural world ...was entrepreprenuership.

[00:08:43] Jeffrey Stern: Something that, that you were thinking about all throughout that journey as, as something that you knew you wanted to do? How, how, how did that come to be?

[00:08:48] Adrian Bota: Yeah, those two worlds are indeed, very different. So I was, I tell the story that I was trained professionally in my career to fix healthcare or to be in healthcare.[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Adrian Bota: And so initially was with products which are pharmaceutical biopharmaceutical products at Pfizer, right? So prescription medicine. And one of the ways that we are trained in America that physicians are trained. And our mindset is trained to, fix what ails us is through pharmaceuticals. So something hurts, something doesn't feel right, something has gone wrong.

[00:09:19] Adrian Bota: You go to a doctor, you expect to get a, a prescription to get that prescription. You fill it and then boom, you feel better. Right? So that's how you fix American healthcare. Or Americans health. And so if that doesn't work, then you go to the second place where I was trained, how to fix someone. You go to a hospital, right?

[00:09:34] Adrian Bota: Right. And so if drugs don't work, you go to a hospital and what do they do in hospitals? They operate, right? And so what I was taught was these two pri primary delivery mechanisms for healthcare, drugs, or surgery. And in, in diving more deeply, Into the root causes of so many of the diseases and things that ail us.

[00:09:56] Adrian Bota: You come to find that about 80 to 85% of all the things that ail [00:10:00] us are preventable and have to do with what we're putting into our bodies primarily, or we're putting onto our bodies. So, you know, the largest organ is our skin. And so, you know, we put a lot of things on our skin and that gets absorbed by the rest of our body and it has impact.

[00:10:13] Adrian Bota: But certainly the things that we put into our bodies, the things that we put into our stomachs, in particular, have a huge impact on our health and. Taking a step back and being very interested in infant and toddler nutrition because we were looking at the timeframe was having our first child. We saw that there's a huge need, a huge gap, particularly in infant and toddler nutrition, where three companies controlled almost 90% of all the, of all the formula created in the in, in the US today.

[00:10:42] Adrian Bota: And one company controls 30% of all the formula around the world, and that's. A company that actually has some offices here in Cleveland. And so we looked at that and, and looked at the ingredients list and saw that it was really filled with so many things that don't belong there or that are synthetic or that are just arrived at in a wrong way.

[00:10:58] Adrian Bota: And so took a deeper dive [00:11:00] on what's the foundation of nutrition and particularly infinite toddler nutrition. And to this day, although breast milk is absolutely best, and, and, and that route, that nutrition is the absolute optimal nutrition for an infant if you do choose to use infant formula. What is, what passes as infant formula is not great at all and its foundation is.

[00:11:22] Adrian Bota: So it is lactose because that mirrors mother's milk. That's lactoses number one, ingredients followed by, various fat sources followed by whey protein, and then some other macro, mostly micronutrients and vitamins and minerals. And so we looked at that and said, wow, we can totally redo this. And from the genesis of life, from the origin of.

[00:11:44] Adrian Bota: We can impact human health by the things that we're putting into our bodies. And so there's the, the beginning of origin. That was the origin, origin story. And we called it origin because we said it answers the question, where did this come from? What's the origin of this? And what's the [00:12:00] beginning of this?

[00:12:00] Adrian Bota: We kind of want to take it back. And so let us down the, the trail of, learning and understanding more about the various breeds of cows that produce different types of milk or different qualities of milk, and those that. The milk that comes from different cows can have different nutrient densities and genetic properties and characteristics and qualities, et cetera, that lend themselves really well to both having a positive impact in human health and nutrition, and also a positive environmental impact.And so we rolled with it

[00:12:30] Jeffrey Stern: it's a fascinating origin story. I love how first principled it is just, you know, thinking about preventative care rather than this very reactive model that we have and, and going right, right to the source. It's, It's awesome. I, I think before we, we dive in more to the, the nature of, of the work you're, you're doing itself, I think both for my own edification and for anyone tuning in, it would be cool to just kind of set the stage and understand how, you know, through, through your research and learning [00:13:00] how dairy production has evolved over the course of history.

[00:13:02] Jeffrey Stern: You know, what are, what are some of those? Differences that, that you kind of picked up on and, and are, are ultimately, you know, valuable, you know, particularly through the lens of in researching some of what you're doing, you know, there's, there's a one genes, a two genes. Having not a real understanding of what the difference between those are.But, and then more, you know, from the, the business side, what happened to, you know, glass bottle milk, right? And, and the days where, perhaps it, it was, you know, More clean dairy. What in, in contrast to how we think about, big, big dairy production today.

[00:13:36] Adrian Bota: Sure. So, so the biggest difference in dairy today versus how it was say 100 years ago, is that we've introduced industrialized farming practices for the sake of creating more milk.

[00:13:49] Adrian Bota: So it's all about quantity of milk as opposed to quality of milk. These, these days, and it has been since about the thirties, so there are two catalysts in American history that changed dairy as we know it [00:14:00] or as we knew it back then. One was the Great Depression, and so with the great depress. You had, many farms that went simply just went out of business and followed very closely with the Great Depression and the lack of food and ability for people to even buy that food was the second World War.

[00:14:15] Adrian Bota: Second World War ushered in for the first time rationing in America in a, in a very significant way, and in dairy in particular because we needed. That nutrition for the war effort. And so tho the government got together with industry and made a decision, and based on those two catalysts, they said, well, we need quantity of milk more than we need quality.

[00:14:32] Adrian Bota: Up until that point, farmers were reimbursed on the, the components within the milk. So higher components, higher nutritional components like fat and protein, the more you were reimbursed. And so what happened was the government said, now let's go. Bigger is better. Let's go for more. We need more. And certainly at that time, that made sense.

[00:14:47] Adrian Bota: And so, the hosting breed of cow was selected to be the, you know, kind of the production cow and was turned from a cow into a factory. And so today about 94, 90 5% of all dairy in [00:15:00] America comes from one breed. It's the black and white Holstein cow. The lack of biodiversity and dairy is is ridiculous.

[00:15:06] Adrian Bota: And then it's followed closely by the Jersey breed. And so between those two breeds, you've got about 97, 90 8% of all dairy in America, and then you've got one to 2%. Maybe close to 3% from about a handful of other so-called heritage breeds that have not been modified for production, that are only producing about three or four gallons of milk per day compared to your Holstein that's producing anywhere from eight to 14 gallons of milk per day.

[00:15:31] Adrian Bota: So, you know, 3, 4, 5 times more. And so what you have with the, with the Zi breed, so you got a lot less milk and so it's a more concentrated. And nutrient dense milk. And it just so happens that a lot of those nutrients are fat soluble, like vitamins A and D. And fat also gives you flavor. And so the good news about milk from these heritage breed of cows is that it tastes really good because it has a lot of fat, and that fat gives it flavor, but [00:16:00] it's also really good for you because that fat also contains some great nutrients.

[00:16:05] Adrian Bota: And we couple that up with data that it started to show. 12 years ago, and increasingly this has been confirmed in, in a lot of data coming out of fooc, out of institutions that are, that are looking at nutrient density and the whole idea of fat is bad for you, we now know is completely bogus. And so we, we are very much into providing.

[00:16:25] Adrian Bota: Full fat, whole food based nutrition, and that's what you get with our milk. And you get more fat, you know, than you normally would. A, a typical Holstein cow will give you fat at around three and a half percent of the milk is fat. And our cows are doing anywhere from four and a half to six and a half percent milk fat.

[00:16:40] Adrian Bota: It's averaging in the fives five and a half range, which is significantly more. We're talking about 40% more, 45% more fat. And again, with that fat comes all these great, come all these great nutrients and, and. We looked at the lack of biodiversity. We looked at cows being turned into factories, and we said, all of [00:17:00] that should be undone.

[00:17:01] Adrian Bota: We need to go back to a time when heritage breeds ruled where flavor was most important, where quality was most important, where nutrient density was most important. And so as people were moving away from dairy milk 7, 8, 9 years ago, we were saying, no, we have a choice. We can indeed go to the so-called alternative.

[00:17:19] Adrian Bota: Or we can look at this legacy dairy industry and say, yeah, it's gonna be really challenging, but let's turn this thing around. Let's fix what we've broken via legacy, industrialized farming practices. Let's fix those things by doing it right, not just by walking away from it. Pure and simple. And we saw, we looked at it and said, look, indeed, the legacy dairy industry has wreaked havoc on human biology.

[00:17:41] Adrian Bota: Because of lactose intolerance, ology, et cetera, and wreaked havoc on the planet. And we, we see ourselves as stewards of the planet, and we see ourselves as stewards of healthcare as well. And so we wanna produce the highest quality, most nutrient dense nutrition and food for. Our friends and [00:18:00] neighbors while also doing good for our care of the planet and the resources that we've been given.

[00:18:05] Adrian Bota: And so with these heritage breeds, we can do just that. They're inherently more efficient on things like water consumption. They'll drink 20 to 30% less water for the same milk fat output. So they're kind of built into being regenerative. We are a fully regenerative, organic certified and organic certified, and a hundred percent grass fed company where we pay a.

[00:18:26] Adrian Bota: Of attention. We focus a lot on soil health, nutrient density within soil, within soil health. Healthy soil means healthy grasses. Those healthy nutrient dense grasses mean healthy cows means we don't have to use antibiotics or pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, et cetera. Our cows rarely get sick because they have a very good diet and that keeps them healthy.

[00:18:46] Adrian Bota: And genetically, our cows are the same as, the human. Milk, genes meaning that between 80 and 92% of people who have real symptoms of lactose intolerance or dairy allergy can drink our milk with no problems whatsoever because their [00:19:00] issue is really not one of lactose or dairy. It's one of something called the A one protein intolerance.

[00:19:05] Adrian Bota: And the story there briefly is that all mammals. Produce milk with the A two milk protein, but Holstein cows and a few other breeds have mutated from the natural A two milk protein to the unnatural, A one milk protein that when that enters our body, and about 97, 90 8% of all dairy in America is that mutated a one protein.

[00:19:26] Adrian Bota: When that enters our body, our bodies need to break it down, but it is a foreign substance that. Meant to be breaking down. We're meant to be breaking down a two milk protein, so when we break down the A one milk protein, a metabolite is created and it's called BCM seven. That stands for beta queso morphine seven.

[00:19:42] Adrian Bota: And it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a morphine derivative and it causes two things in the stomach. It causes the inflammation of the gut and the stomach lining, and it also causes the slowdown of the motility of the food moving. Through our digestive tract, and while it's slowing down, it's literally fermenting.

[00:19:57] Adrian Bota: And so the, the symptoms of the [00:20:00] inflammation and of the fermentation are gas, bloating, upset, stomach, diarrhea, headache, et cetera. So you present with those symptoms to a doctor. Your physician will likely say, oh, you know, lay off dairy for a week or two and let me know how you feel. You do that, you lay off dairy and he says, oh, see, you must be lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy.

[00:20:16] Adrian Bota: When indeed the, the incidents of lactose. McDonald or Dairy Algaes a lot lower in the US It's something around six or 7% where about 25 to 30% of people complain of some kind of discomfort when ingesting dairy. And so most people don't know, but they could have dairy no problem whatsoever if they had the right dairy.

[00:20:34] Adrian Bota: The not mutated protein, the a e two milk protein, which is what our milk is..

[00:20:39] Jeffrey Stern: Fascinating. That's incredible. Thank you for, for sharing the, the history there. So what, what I wanna circle back to from that is your approach to, to start from rethinking human nutrition from the ground up very, almost explicitly understanding, you know, that in the, in the face of what is a Goliath, [00:21:00] behemoth, you know,

[00:21:01] Jeffrey Stern: Competition that, that you'll be undertaking yet proceeding with LAC and ambition through it. What does it look like to, to get started in, in the face of, you know, understanding the, the daunting, you know, space you're headed into? Just like, what is your first big break? What does it look like to actually start working with, you know, farmers and in Ohio?

[00:21:25] Adrian Bota: The process is multi-pronged because you've gotta focus on everything from the farmer and sourcing and making sure you're doing the right thing by sourcing and creating relationships with farmers and building that network. But then you also have to think of the commercial side and how you're gonna, how are you gonna get this to customers?

[00:21:41] Adrian Bota: How you're gonna give them that education, consumer education as a big component of what we do. We tell stories all the time, and trying to engage customers into that, into the story to understand that what we're doing is. Is different in that we need them to be part of that, that process. And so there are many different things that you have to pay [00:22:00] attention to.

[00:22:00] Adrian Bota: You've gotta obviously have a, a, a presence online and a social media presence, et cetera. And at first it was just, it was just me and built in quickly after that, one or two co-founders to come alongside and work together to make sure that we are covering all, all of our bases. But I mean, for me, very.

[00:22:17] Adrian Bota: Locally here in Cleveland, it was figuring this out, saying we need to start somewhere. We can't get powder until we have the fluid milk and then we can't get powder until we have cheese because lactose powder and whe powder are a product of cheese making. Cuz they're, that's the. That's the byproduct.

[00:22:33] Adrian Bota: And so, you know, it was just saying, okay, how do we get this to stores? This doesn't exist. Can we get a label approved? And it took months just to get a label approved, you know, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture Dairy Division because they had never seen an A two label. And so they were fighting us on, is that right to say a two or not.

[00:22:49] Adrian Bota: And then there are lawyers, cuz there's a large company out of Australia, New Zealand called the A two mill company and they threatened to sue us and they, you know, served me with papers cease and desist from calling something a two, which is [00:23:00] bogus because. Anybody should be able to call it a two. It's a scientific term, but they call their company a two.

[00:23:04] Adrian Bota: So now they kind of have a lockdown on it, a trademark, at least at the time. And they, they had scared a bunch of farmers, but because they had a trademark and they said, don't, don't call product A two. And I was like, whatever, we're gonna, we're gonna do that. That's, that's bogus. So we did it and the week we launched with our product on shelves, they sent us like a stack of cease and desist orders, and papers and said that they would sue us, et cetera.

[00:23:26] Adrian Bota: And that's a whole nother story of. How we engage with them in one without having to do anything, without having to pay attorneys. So for me, that was just kind of ticking and tying and then saying, all right, we need to get this to, you know, we've got the product, I, I, I work with the farmer to get these cows, to get them tested, to do all these things, to get the label approved, and then we have to find a customer, right?

[00:23:46] Adrian Bota: So then I pick up the phone and I called hns. And, there's a legendary guy at Hynes who was heading up the dairy department at the time. He, he has since retired, but he's an awesome guy. Everyone knows him. His le name is Les Guyman, and Les was just an amazing guy. He picked up the phone [00:24:00] and he listened to my story and he said, you know, I've heard about this a two business, but I don't know anything about it.

[00:24:05] Adrian Bota: Here you are a local guy that has it. Why don't you come in and let's talk. And so I came in, we talked. I knew nothing about the dairy world, the dairy business, the dairy aisle at a grocery store. He could tell that I knew nothing. He was very gracious and just worked with us. And, we found a distributor.

[00:24:21] Adrian Bota: And that was our first, that's how we started. We just started with 20 some odd HK stores locally and started just telling that story and doing demos and samples in store. And that's, that's how it all. So, so take us from, from there a a bit through the, the evolution of the, the company over time. And, you know, perhaps we can land at, you know, what does, what does origin look like today?

[00:24:44] Adrian Bota: Sure. So today, origin is a primarily a food company where we are focused on the dairy world because those are the primary products, that will help us get to the byproducts, which is what we really want. What we want [00:25:00] is we want to have a diversified portfolio. So we built what we call our differentiated nutrition platform.

[00:25:04] Adrian Bota: And off of that platform we build multiple verticals. So that could be food, it could be nutrition, it could be for pediatric nutrition, it could be for adult nutrition. It can look like infant formula, toddler formula, growing up, milk, cheese, butter, GI, yogurt, protein powder, collagen. Minerals. So the, the core minerals, the 13 minerals that we find within milk, protein bars, all kind of diversified products that at their core are touched by or based in dairy.

[00:25:33] Adrian Bota: And so today we're still building, you know, many years later, we're still building on the food portfolio because we haven't reached the scale yet to be able to take advantage of the byproducts. Byproduct processing can only be done at huge scale. There are only a few places around the country that process, those ingredients.

[00:25:50] Adrian Bota: And so, You know, from the get-go, from the origin of origin, our goal was to produce a portfolio of products, nutrition products, [00:26:00] infant toddler formula to begin with, and others that had unique characteristics, the characteristics of the ZI and the heritage breed of cows, and that also had unique certifications, a hundred percent grass, regenerative, organic surface, et cetera.

[00:26:12] Adrian Bota: And. We could have just been another brand that just goes out and cos co-manufacturers with somebody and just puts our label on there, right? Which is what the vast majority of food and nutrition startups do. They're not creating anything in terms of infrastructure. They're not involved in stewarding the land and starting up, setting up farms, et cetera.

[00:26:30] Adrian Bota: They're rather just go to somebody and have an idea, maybe tweak something here and. But essentially use what's out there for us. That was a no-go because it didn't exist. And so he said, well, we'll have to build it ourselves. We didn't intend to get in dairy on purpose. We got on on, on dairy into dairy.

[00:26:45] Adrian Bota: We recognized that no one was building what we wanted to build, nor were they interested in doing it. They didn't see what we saw. And so we said, well, then we have to build it ourselves. We had to pay for cows. We had to pay for, making sure that those cows get on the land. And, and while we didn't own the farms, and we still don't own farms today, [00:27:00] we do own cows and we own other.

[00:27:02] Adrian Bota: Pieces of infrastructure or other components along the way. And so we had to build it from the ground up and have these exclusive relationships, what we call covenantal relationships with our farmers, much more than supply chain, to make sure that we're working hand in hand, a true collaboration and partnership, to source what we want to source.

[00:27:19] Adrian Bota: And it's taken years just to build those out and to convince farmers and to pay them a we believe. Pricing justice and, and fairness issues for, for dairy farmers in America, we have been who have been left behind in terms of reimbursement. And so we had to take a holistic view, build this nutrition platform, but that the core of that platform are dairy products.

[00:27:38] Adrian Bota: So cheese, once you sell a lot of cheese, you have a lot of leftover way. And in that way you find lactose in whey, whey protein and other minerals, and. You have to get to the scale where you're able to downstream process all of those byproducts and separate and then dry each individual component. And so that's the process that we're in [00:28:00] right now.

[00:28:00] Adrian Bota: So we are, we sell a diversified dairy portfolio with a goal of reaching scale that will allow us to. Process the byproducts, and then create our own ingredients. And essentially any product that, that we put a name of origin on comes from us, was made by us down to the core minerals, which is pretty minute.

[00:28:23] Jeffrey Stern: So you had mentioned that, you know, others didn't perhaps see the, the vision that, that you have seen yourself and, and, and where you're trying to to get to with origin. I'm curious from the, from the market perspective, you know, when you walked into the Hynes having, at the time, you know, perhaps not a, a full familiarity with what the dairy aisle looks like.

[00:28:43] Jeffrey Stern: Maybe just paint a picture of what the, the market today looks like and, and where, how you think about competition on this front. Is it, is it mostly coming from. Factory farming or are there now others who, you know, see the vision that, that you've set out from a regenerative, organic certified dairy initiative

[00:29:00] Adrian Bota: Yeah. The, the, the, I'd still say that the, the more tangential or most impactful competition or potential competition, Can come from both. So definitely the big players out there, they see a small brand like ours and they see what we're doing that's differentiated and they're paying attention and they up their marketing or they tweak to become a two.

[00:29:20] Adrian Bota: You know, Costco now has an organic a two brand of their own, so they sell organic a two milk, and so people are catching onto that. The big players are catching onto it and making adjustments. And trying to protect their turf, right? So we, we are cognizant of that. At the same time, we're so small and we're so niche in what we're doing that they, they don't really see the value in developing that space.

[00:29:45] Adrian Bota: Other smaller brands, come along and what will they'll tend to do again is become co-man. Have their product co-manufacturer. And so it's an idea and they just produce a label and they go and find people that are already doing it, [00:30:00] and they make some tweaks here and there. That's also interesting, and especially now in the regenerative space, whether it's big brands or small brands, they're using the word regenerative because it's not.

[00:30:09] Adrian Bota: It's not being regulated. And so we, we, we don't like it when other people just come out and use that word because it'll become genericized. So we went through the steps of becoming regenerative, organic certified rock, r o c, which is the highest standard for certification anywhere in the world for any product period.

[00:30:25] Adrian Bota: And so it's not an easy process to go by, but we really believe in it and we want others to, to do the same so that it's just. People using the word regenerative, even though they're not certified, they may indeed even be implementing all of the the principles of regenerative farming. But whether they realize it or not, they are in essence, cheapening and genericizing the term by not becoming certified.

[00:30:47] Adrian Bota: And so, You have a lot of small brands that come out and they, you know, they'll, they'll say, oh, we have this story, we have this thing, we have this product. But in the end, you find out that they're not building infrastructure, they're not investing in land or [00:31:00] practices or certification or whatever.

[00:31:01] Adrian Bota: They're going out finding someone who's already making it, making a couple of tweaks here and there, and just putting their label on it. And indeed, in the nutrition world, that's almost all that you have. Collagen, protein, et cetera. That's done at such big scale. The people are only sourcing from about a handful, 5, 6, 7 raw ingredients producers, and they're just putting a different label on it.

[00:31:21] Adrian Bota: And imagine, I mean, you just think about the tens, if not hundreds of different brands of whey protein that you have out there. And they're all essentially the same. They're some small tweaks here and there, but they're essentially the same because they're coming from the same half dozen to a dozen processors and producers.

[00:31:39] Jeffrey Stern: Hmm. So you, you've mentioned scale a few times now, and I'm, I'm curious from my perspective, it, from the outside, it seems like there might be this tension between, you know, a, a focus on an always local offering and, you know, getting to a place where you can give this to, to everyone. How does scale work in the, in the, in the context of, of the business?

[00:31:59] Adrian Bota: in, [00:32:00] in practice? Yeah. I mean, processing scale is the biggest bottleneck in. Regenerative food or nutrition production right now, because while the market might be there, the supply isn't quite there yet to be at the level and at the scale where a large processing plant that costs several hundred million dollars to build, that's running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

[00:32:22] Adrian Bota: They don't wanna switch changeover products or certifications or different characteristics of products. They wanna do the same thing over and over again because they're built on very small margins. And so, That means that when we come in with a to large processor and say, well, look, we we're gonna mess with you.

[00:32:36] Adrian Bota: We want you to put the our products in, and our products have to be segregated. They have to go first, and you have to clean out your lines before you put our stuff in. You have to do all these other things. Oh, and by the way, you're gonna be running not at 24 hours today. You're gonna run it for only six hours and then you're gonna switch over again.

[00:32:51] Adrian Bota: They get all bent out of shape. That's not efficient for them. And so that's the biggest bottleneck. It's staying local or staying [00:33:00] regional isn't as difficult because you can, you can find in a region, you know, in a say 400 mile radius, you can find the number of customers that will source and that will give you that scale.

[00:33:10] Adrian Bota: But it's getting the dedicated space or time with the processors to make it happen is really, really, really difficult. And so you've gotta play at that larger scale. You've gotta make it happen. You've gotta make it work. And. World, certainly, on the byproduct side. So I don't know that there's another dairy brand that was started or another food nutrition brand that was started backwards.

[00:33:32] Adrian Bota: So we started with the byproducts in mind. So we have to sell the primary products, but what we really want is the byproducts, and then we wanna bring those portfolios together. So that you can have both nutrition and food and then you can trust the characteristics and the certifications, whether it's cheese or whey protein powder or infant formula.

[00:33:51] Adrian Bota: And someone might look at that and say, what's the connection? I don't get it. Well, it's built on the same nutrition platform or the desiccated organs, right? So the, the organ supplements that we are putting [00:34:00] out or others, someone might say, what, what, what does liver, cow, liver pills and, and supplements have to do with infant formula?

[00:34:08] Adrian Bota: Well, it's a nose to tail idea. It comes from the same animal, the same animal that brought you that infant formula. At end of life, we do like tremendous end of life care. That liver can be turned into a freeze-dried nutritional supplement that can help with your own liver function. From what we know of the studies that talk about like helping, like we wanna see that entire ecosystem thriving and we don't wanna see any waste in the system whatsoever.

[00:34:35] Jeffrey Stern: It's such a holistic, I love the work you guys are doing. This is awesome. So all, all this is happening in the, the context though of, you know, the, the proliferation of dairy alternatives, which perhaps, you know, learning what I've, I've just learned from you comes as a consequence of people not even fully understanding.

[00:34:55] Jeffrey Stern: It isn't necessarily a, a lactate problem given this a one, a two [00:35:00] differentiation. You know, there is right in the market. It's you. You can't go anywhere Now like the, the default has become oat milk. And so I'm curious how you've thought about this alternative dairy world and how that manifests in the way you tell your story in the market and how you, you think about what is ultimately doubling down on authentic dairy. How does the, the whole storytelling narrative re...

[00:35:28] Adrian Bota: Sure. I mean, I, I think from the, the get people. Asking us if we wouldn't rather join the bandwagon seven or eight years ago when it was still oat milk was still a very new thing. It hadn't even broken out. Oatley hadn't come to America yet to, to really take over.

[00:35:44] Adrian Bota: And I look at that and I say, alternative milk is fine. There's a market for it, there's a need for it, there's a space for it. I'm not hitting on alternative, you know, plant-based milk. I think it's great. What we have seen is what we were seeing from the beginning. The only caveat there is that it is highly processed.

[00:35:59] Adrian Bota: I mean, it is an [00:36:00] ultra processed food to get to that quote unquote milk, you've gotta do a lot and you have to add a lot of other ingredients. You know, back then, 5, 6, 7 years ago, You had an average of something like 17 or 19 ingredients for an oat milk or an almond milk, et cetera. Now, there have been other brands that have come along in the last, about four or five years, to make a clean label, milk, alternative milk.

[00:36:22] Adrian Bota: That now is down to about five or maybe four ingredients sometimes, and that's still, that's better. But it is a processed, certainly a processed thing. You're taking nuts or, or fruit from a tree and processing it into a milk. They, those. Generate milk, per se, you're making a juice essentially. Most of those, most of those, alternative milks can actually don't need to be refrigerated because they're just, they're just juice.

[00:36:48] Adrian Bota: But they are refrigerated because that's part of the psyche. You're playing kind of on that psyche. If you gonna buy milk, you've gotta buy milk cold, so you're gonna buy it, that way in the stores as well. And so, I think there's a, there's a place for it by all means. And I'm [00:37:00] not hating on alternative milks at all.

[00:37:01] Adrian Bota: I think it's really interesting now with the, with the latest, trend, with the, sort of fermented milks and cultured milks, which is, taking milk protein out of milk protein cells and then putting them into, bacteria. Or other, carriers than fermenting 'em in large bats. And those will then create an actual milk protein that is considered vegan.

[00:37:25] Adrian Bota: And there are a couple companies that have been doing that. There are articles that have been going around the last 2, 3, 4 years. And so you're able perfect, I think Perfect Day or Perfect something, is a company that, that produces something like this. And so you can, you can get a, a dairy free. Dairy is essentially the way they're marketing it.

[00:37:39] Adrian Bota: It's also highly processed. And it comes from, you know, a lab essentially. And that's gonna be a trend that we're gonna see more and more of where you're taking genetics from an animal able to reproduce the animal product, but able to, but then you're able to say, it did not come from an animal. It did not, [00:38:00] it wasn't milked from a cow.

[00:38:01] Adrian Bota: It's still milk genetically. It is still dairy milk, but it did not come from a cow. And so I think that's gonna be really interesting to, to see how consumers react to that. Is that something that they want? Is that something that they don't want? How does a nutritional stack up and, you know, how those flavor profiles stack up, et cetera?

[00:38:17] Adrian Bota: My opinion still is, and I'm, again, I'm not hitting on any of these things. My opinion still is, is that creation knows best and the closer we are. To the created order of things, the better. The more we are in labs processing and ultra processing and creating and tweaking processes. I think the further we get from what really is what we should be consuming.

[00:38:42] Jeffrey Stern: It's fascinating because it feels like you've been able to foster a real culture of innovation, but it's, it's kind of backwards because innovation in this context means returning to tradition and to nature. Is, is there a tension there with that? How, how do you, how do you think about that?

[00:38:58] Adrian Bota: That's exactly right.

[00:38:59] Adrian Bota: That's how we think about it too, [00:39:00] is that our quote unquote, innovation is a throwback in time and it's to say, Hey, we did certain things really well. We changed them. As I mentioned, there are these catalysts, great depression, second world War, completely logical. Hey, that had to happen. We had to scale up.

[00:39:16] Adrian Bota: We had to focus on qual quantity over quality. The times required it not hating on anybody in, in history for doing that. That made sense at the time. But then what happened is, you know, war is over. And you're in the forties and fifties and sixties, and you see that that's more efficient, that's making you more money, that's more profitable, et cetera.

[00:39:33] Adrian Bota: And you say, well, why not just keep going this way? And every other industry did the same through the sixties, seventies and eighties continued on that track. And here's where we are today with 60 plus percent of our diet in America comes from ultra processed. And so clearly that has a direct impact on our health.

[00:39:53] Adrian Bota: Absolutely. The ingredients that we're using, the fillers, the additives, everything from [00:40:00] the land, what we're putting onto the land, synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, et ceteras, everything that we're adding into the food itself, so that's more shelf-stable so that it looks prettier so that it, you know, doesn't go bad, et cetera.

[00:40:11] Adrian Bota: All of these things are absolutely having a negative impact. It is undeniable, a negative impact on both our. Wreaking havoc on our health and on the planet. And so we say, yeah, as backwards as it might sound, the innovation is to go back in time and it's to realize that we've been given parts of creation to use and use wisely, so that we can hail, you know, Heal what ails us or prevents certain things from, from ever occurring to begin with.

[00:40:40] Adrian Bota: And I think the more that we go off the grid, in that sense, go off off the legacy food industry grid and, and get back to what it was before industrialized farming practices, and efficiencies took over. We're absolutely gonna see a positive impact to our health and a positive [00:41:00] impact to the planet.

[00:41:02] Jeffrey Stern: With that kind of future facing lens h are, are you optimistic about, you know, the, the, the future in, in terms of this transition towards that, that kind of thinking And then I, I guess the, the second kind of question with that is, is how you think about success, you know, from Origin's perspective and, and what is the, the impact that you hope to have, you know, on the future of the dairy industry going forward.

[00:41:27] Jeffrey Stern: And, you know, all in the context of this nutritional.

[00:41:31] Adrian Bota: So when we think about the future and this, this legacy dairy industry is, is a behemoth, it's huge. It is filled with lobbyists, it has, a lot of interests. You know, literally 180 billion business. If you look at just. Direct dairy plus all the derivatives, it's multiple hundreds of billions of dollars.

[00:41:52] Adrian Bota: So a lot of interest there, to keep things going in status quo. And so the hope we have is not that we're gonna turn [00:42:00] this whole thing around, is that we're gonna create some pockets of opportunity for people who. Are so focused on their own nutrition, their own, the food that they want to consume, or the planet that they will find respite or they'll find an, an opportunity to connect with our ethos and to link those, that approach to food.

[00:42:22] Adrian Bota: Food as medicine, nutrition, care for the planet, stewardship of the planet, and of our resources in such a way where for those people that do care about those things, we can have something to offer them. And when they're spending a dollar to buy that food or that nutrition product, they know that they're doing much more than just buying a product, but they're part of a movement and an ethos, will that spill over into 50% of the population or even 10% of the population?

[00:42:47] Adrian Bota: Don't know. I'm not sure what the future will bring, but we know. We've already created that movement and we're part of other brands that really care and other workers of the land that really care about regenerative [00:43:00] principles and linking up in that community with them to continue to build that movement.

[00:43:04] Adrian Bota: And they're absolutely, absolutely great, great customers that have come on board and that are supporting us and supporting other brands like this. There's opportunity to do a lot of good, continue to build into the future for sure. What does the

[00:43:19] Jeffrey Stern: prioritization of the welfare of your, your animals look like in, in practice and, and are, you know, in that same kind of lens?

[00:43:27] Jeffrey Stern: Are you optimistic that those kinds of practices could be, you know, emulated at, at scale?

[00:43:33] Adrian Bota: Well, we work with a lot of small, I mean, everybody that we work with is a small family farm, so the most cows we have at one farm are 130 some odd cows, and that's a, that's still a very small family farm. That's a father and his son.

[00:43:45] Adrian Bota: That's it. And so, Most of our farmers are 35, 40, 50 head of cattle. And so animal care is incredibly important to us, but it is incredibly important to them. That's their livelihood. If that's what you're relying on, you're gonna, [00:44:00] you're gonna focus a lot on making sure that they're very happy cows, that they're very healthy cows, that they're milk has never gone bad, or that they're not able to be milked because they've have a disorder or a disease or something that ails them.

[00:44:13] Adrian Bota: So, Animal care is of primary importance for us, not just because we're ethos driven and we think that's the right thing to do, but also because it's intimately tied to the wellbeing of our farmers and the financial wellbeing of the operations that they're running of their, their small family business.

[00:44:30] Adrian Bota: And so, Yes, we have these crazy standards. Regenerative, organic certified standards come with the highest animal care standards period because there are three focuses in regenerative organic certified to build on U S D A. It's soil care and soil health. It's animal care and animal health, and then farmer care and pharma health.

[00:44:48] Adrian Bota: And so we're. Paying attention to these three living components of what we call the living ecosystem, to make sure that everyone in that living ecosystem is, is, is doing well. And then we look at the consumer, at the [00:45:00] customer as the fourth part of that ecosystem. Cuz without the customer you couldn't have any of it.

[00:45:04] Adrian Bota: And then the far the customer couldn't have anything without the farmer, without the animals, or without the, the soil. And so we go to great lengths, not just to build on the, on the standards, animal care standards that are prescribed out there and. Go way above and beyond that, working with our farmers says, Hey, what's the wisest thing to do in these circumstances?

[00:45:21] Adrian Bota: And if it's to go and do something that others don't require us to do or others wouldn't do, we'll do it because we're not making decisions commercially. We're making decisions on what is best for the health of the land or the soil. What is best for the health of the animal? What is best for the health and wellbeing of the farmer?

[00:45:40] Adrian Bota: We'll just make those decisions regardless of what the outcome is.

[00:45:44] Jeffrey Stern: love that. Just even asking the question, you know, what is the wisest thing we can do? It, I feel like it's, it's not practiced quite, quite enough through, through that. I, I'm curious also taking a, a step back reflecting on, on your journey so far.

[00:45:58] Jeffrey Stern: What do you feel are, [00:46:00] are some of the, the biggest lessons that the, you know, the, the corporate world from, from which you came could learn from the world of agriculture? And, you know, it sounds like perhaps even one of them is just, you know, the focus on, on quality over, over quantity, but it, it feels like your approach to, to business and company building and.

[00:46:18] Jeffrey Stern: Just this holistic perspective there. There's a lot, you know, the, the rest of the, the corporate world could, could benefit from thinking about in, in those kinds of ways

[00:46:25] Adrian Bota: I mean, the thing that I would, that I take away from my experience as an entrepreneur more than anything else, and it's not necessarily related to farming or to dairy or to food systems.

[00:46:37] Adrian Bota: Is the idea of constantly seeking quality and and seeking something that is gonna be differentiated is going to be better. And the way you get there, I think, is by asking the right questions and looking at the status quo, looking at what's being done and being innovative in thinking about it and saying, okay, it's always been done this way, but why can't it?

[00:46:55] Adrian Bota: Or shouldn't it be done that way? Or you see a number. [00:47:00] 95% of all dairy comes from one breed. That should prompt you right away to ask a question. Well, wait a second. Is that normal? Is that natural? Is that good? Is that bad? Especially if someone like me who knew nothing of dairy, I just gravitate towards certain numbers or certain concepts and and asked the question.

[00:47:14] Adrian Bota: And certainly ignorance was bliss. And in this case, because so many people early on told us, no, you don't wanna be doing this. This is really hard. Like what you're tackling is difficult. It's tried. People have tried to do this in dairy. It's really hard. Not knowing that it was gonna be this hard, we did it anyway.

[00:47:27] Adrian Bota: Right? That ignorance, was really helpful in allowing us to take some certain kinds of risks and have certain expectations and then see it through. But I think a lack of innovation in, in the corporate world is absolutely, Something that you, see very plainly when you are in, when you're an entrepreneur.

[00:47:44] Adrian Bota: The lack of people asking questions, the lack of leadership. You know, I think most of the people that I've ever worked with, you know, at Pfizer leading pharmaceutical company in the world, Cleveland Clinic leading healthcare institution in the world, you know, at best case, the most of the folks that I worked for, they were great folks.

[00:47:59] Adrian Bota: They [00:48:00] were really great folks, but they were in a best case, they were, you know, good managers or decent managers. They were not leaders. A very, you know, maybe one person that I work for, I could say, yes, that individual was a leader in his or her field and in the world, and we lack that in corporate America, what happens is, I worked for the Innovations department.

[00:48:21] Adrian Bota: I mean, I worked for a group literally called Innovation, but rarely did people really value innovation. Most people, because they're managers, what they value is just do your job, like do what you're being told. And so I would love to see more companies embrace innovation. And asking questions, but encouraging their employees to be ambitious, to be, those that ask questions and that turn problems upside down, left and right inside out.

[00:48:47] Adrian Bota: It's also risk. Most corporations don't take risk. They do not take risks shy away from risk. And in fact, you know, when, when you're working on a project and the corporate world, you might work on something and after a month or six months or a [00:49:00] year, Work on this thing and it failed, or it didn't come to fruition as you thought it was going to, and that's an acceptable outcome.

[00:49:08] Adrian Bota: That's acceptable. I was like, oh, it didn't work. In entrepreneurship, it's not an acceptable outcome. Failure is not an option. You have to make it work, and that's very, very different Mindset and work ethos.

[00:49:22] Jeffrey Stern: that all resonates quite a lot. I appreciate your, your perspective. We'll, we'll, you know, round out the, the conversation here with, with just, another question or two be before we come to our closing question, I'll just ask what, when you think about the future, has you most excited, you know, over the next year, over the next five years, what, what's on the the horizon for, for origin?

[00:49:44] Adrian Bota: So I think the, the increased opportunity for us to get into the nutrition products, the nutrition portfolio that we've been yearning for and building towards, that gets me excited. That's really good. More exciting than that, I think are the people that are involved. So we we're building our team [00:50:00] and that's been just phenomenal, just having people come to us and say, Hey, we wanna join you.

[00:50:04] Adrian Bota: And, and extremely talented, really just wonderful people with a beautiful soul and beautiful. And we're just so grateful that people are coming to us and we don't even have to go and, and seek them, and they're just amazing people. So building with people is really, really great. That's a, that's a blessing and that's just a joyful.

[00:50:25] Adrian Bota: Just fill our hearts with joy. It's like shalom and peace creating and just so nice. I talked to my team more and more last year, like, dude, are we having guys? Are we having fun? Are we having peace? Are we like joyful about what we're doing? Is this what we wanna be doing? That's so incredibly important.

[00:50:39] Adrian Bota: So building with the right people is great. So we'll get there to all the byproducts and all the other nutrition products. But doing that with people's grade, then doing that with the larger community is also great. Plugging into other regenerative farmers. You know, working on fun things like mac and cheese, the first regenerative, organic, certified mac and cheese, because we've got the cheese, someone else has the regenerative flour, and so we can make a mac and cheese pretty easily and just do [00:51:00] that for fun.

[00:51:01] Adrian Bota: That'll be great, right? Super high end, like really great mac and cheese, but fun not, not taking it too seriously. Doing those kinds of things really great. So you expand the network and you work with people from other parts of the US in other industries or other farms or part other parts of the world.

[00:51:16] Adrian Bota: And that's really, really good. It's really great to be building that community and, and I, and I think that our team is just l loving being part of that. You know, there are very few of us that are regenerative organic certified, and, and so working in community with others is, is a lot of fun. It's really good.

[00:51:30] Adrian Bota: The another thing that I'm excited about that's tangential to what we're doing is there are so many people. Seeking information about food as medicine and nutrition as medicine. So many podcasts out there that, that, that people can access and listen to, and money and resources being thrown into, looking at food as medicine and nutrition and things that we've taken for granted or have not known enough about.

[00:51:54] Adrian Bota: Now we're seeing, yeah, curcumin and turmeric really does do this and this other thing really does do [00:52:00] that. And you should be eating, you know, organ meat because it's so nutrient dense and it. Help to prevent this or heal that, and so that's got me pretty stoked. The fact that increasingly every month, every year that goes by and more and more.

[00:52:15] Adrian Bota: Consumers are paying attention to these things and aligned in that ethos and looking for food as preventative medicine or curative medicine and nutrition as the answer. And we certainly believe that food is nutrition and nutritionist healthcare, and so it's our health. And so, so we're, we're. Loving the fact that consumers are out there because everything we do is we don't advertise or market.

[00:52:37] Adrian Bota: We tell stories. You know, we tell a compe compelling and engaging narrative, and we want you as a consumer to feel part of that narrative because you are. And then to find alignment in ethos and move forward together, doing good again for humans and for the planet that we're called to steward.

[00:52:53] Jeffrey Stern: Well, I'll tell you as a listener to this narrative, it does feel quite [00:53:00] inspiring, and compelling as you have told it.

[00:53:03] Jeffrey Stern: So, again, just really appreciative of you, you coming on to share more about it

[00:53:07] Adrian Bota: Thanks for the opportunity. It was good, really good to chat. Absolutely.

[00:53:11] Jeffrey Stern: So I'll ask you just the, the traditional closing question, which is, is pretty unrelated, although maybe, maybe it is. To what we've been talking about, but grounded in Cleveland, which is not necessarily for your favorite thing in the area, but for something that other folks may not know about, but, but they should.

[00:53:29] Adrian Bota: I don't know. I don't know that there's one specific thing that I would say. Yeah, this is the one hidden gem that I have. I think maybe what in, in my world, what I value and I think is, is really great. And going around different parts of the country, even different parts of the world, you know, we have the Great Lakes.

[00:53:46] Adrian Bota: And the Great Lakes are not a hidden gem by any, by any means, but they are an incredible resource. Right. And we have. To that water and we have access to that resource that needs to be and should be stewarded so much better than it is, I feel like, especially [00:54:00] here in Cleveland. But everything from, from the water itself and the needs for farmers, et cetera, to use.

[00:54:04] Adrian Bota: But even also just the way we're using that real estate. You know, we, we realize that we have industry and a highway on prime, you know, river, you know, lakefront, real estate, which is just silly. Very silly. And I wish we could steward that, that resource in a much, much better and wise.

[00:54:21] Jeffrey Stern: I, I share with you that, that desire.

[00:54:25] Jeffrey Stern: Well, Adrian, thank, thank you again. This, this really was, amazing to learn about. I'm a big fan and, excited to follow along on, on your, your journey as it continues to unfold here.

[00:54:36] Adrian Bota: Hey, appreciate that, brother

[00:54:38] Jeffrey Stern: If folks had anything they wanted to follow up with you about, What, would be, the best way for them to do so?

[00:54:45] Adrian Bota: Info origin milk.com is a way to get ahold of our team. So info origin milk.com is probably the most direct way to get messages, out to our team, and we get back to folks all the time.