The Year of the Local Farmer
Wow. What a spring it's been. I'm sure for anyone reading this, you could make this comment for one reason or another. Whether you've had to adjust to continuing to work at home, you're homeschooling your kids, you're wearing PPE to go out for errands or to work, you can't attend church in church, you haven't seen your grandkids since March - whatever it may be - I pray that life as we used to know it will return in some way soon.
Since the COVID crisis began, we have seen an exponential uptick in orders. A silver-lining in all of this, but honestly, as I tell many customers that I speak with over the phone, I'd rather just be able to hug my mom and dad again.
I look back on what's happened recently and I say my thanks for being a part of the cooperative. Together, we have the supply of cattle and have been able to reach out to other local farmers with more cattle that fit our guidelines. And another blessing, we were ahead of the processing date demand, and secured (what we thought) would be more than enough harvest dates through 2020. You never want to overbook, in case you'd have to cancel them and you don't want to do that to your processor, because they depend on us just like we depend on our customers to buy beef. But as the calls and orders just keep rolling in, we find ourselves needing more and more so that we're not booking out as far as November, which is the case as of today. If you're looking to get your order in for fall, please fill out our online order form here.
The current crisis has revealed a fragility in our food system here in the U.S. The fact that the giant packing houses owned by Cargill, JBS USA & Tyson are not able to fully operate due to sickness, has limited the supply in corporate venues such as larger groceries and restaurant chains. There is NOT a food shortage, there is a shortage in processing capacity beyond the BIG 3. My hope is that after all of this is over (and the Lord only knows how long that will be), we will see more small processing houses open in order to serve the local need. I hope this NEED for locally produced foods is the new normal.
We've known forever that connecting to local farmers is better for all of us - it's healthier, it supports the local economy, and it keeps local farms sustainable. And now, because of the unforeseeable future, I think that consumers are realizing the need to go back to having their own food stores. This may also be the year of the deep freezer, as I've been told it's been difficult to purchase one of those right now. If I've heard it once, I've heard it 100 times, "I've been meaning to buy a 1/4 or 1/2 for long time, and this has been enough for me to make the switch."
As with any new challenge or "unprecedented time," we will learn lessons. This time around, I think that we are learning to become more independent as food buyers, and that means connecting with local farmers that you can source your own meats and produce from. I hope this is not only the year of the local farmer, but that it lasts for many years to come.
Thank you for your continued support. Take care, and God bless.