Does your Google search include “local meat farms near me”? If yes, you’re among a growing consumer base facing shortages and imposed buying limits at grocery stores. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that since April 27, beef production is down nearly 25% compared to the same week last year. Pork processing is down a record 50% due to closed plants.
The official word from the U.S. government is that there is “plenty of food“ (per Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue), but he also acknowledges “the bare store shelves that you may see.” Part of this reduction has been the result of hundreds of workers falling ill from COVID-19 at large meat processing plants across the country, where the type of work makes social distancing difficult to achieve without affecting volume.
Local meat farms seeing increased demand for grass fed products.
Due to consolidation of the meat processing industry, the U.S. meat supply is handled by a just a few companies. Most grocery meat departments are stocked through these major meatpackers and distributors. Plant closures subsequently resulted in the unsteady inventories now being seen during the current pandemic.
It’s a ripple effect. Farmers have less options for processing their animals and nowhere to sell them, causing animals to be slaughtered on site or left in the fields. With restaurants closed, many farmers have lost critical revenue sources. And redirecting their product is a complex and complicated process made difficult on short notice.
With restaurants now closed for dining, shoppers are buying more meat from grocery stores, which in turn creates more meat shortages.
Luckily, independent Oregon ranchers and farmers who process their own meat can be a source for local buyers. By sourcing direct from Oregon ranchers, the general public can source meat that is grass-fed and of higher nutritional quality than meat sold at the average grocery store, and support a local farmer who needs it, right now.
Steps you can take to put meat on the table.
- Buy Local. Eat Wild has a locator map that covers the whole country. There are dozens of Oregon ranchers listed.
- A CSA subscription from a local meat farm provides single or multiple family purchasing flexibility and cost sharing.
- Try Something New. If the ground beef or pork shoulder that you normally buy isn’t available, try ground turkey or consider elk or yak meat.
- Leave some for others. Just buy what you and your family need for a week or two at a time. “Panic buying” leads to shortages for everyone.
- Search local food directories. Willamette Farm and Food Coalition, Rogue Valley Food Network System and Portland CSA directory can help you find local meat farms.
Here are a few local meat farms to get you started:
Deck Family Farm is widely known for pasture raised beef, pork, lamb, and chicken. Their custom 45 lb. custom boxes can be shipped frozen.
Fair Valley Farm near Eugene features pasture raised pigs and poultry, and grass-fed beef and lamb. CSA monthly share. variety of individual pork, beef and lamb cuts as well as whole chickens and eggs at our farm store (open Saturdays from 2-4pm) and at the Fairmount Farmers Market on the first Sunday of the month (June – October) from 10am-2pm at the corner of 19th and Agate. Click here for pricing and availability. Deliveries available Eugene and Portland.
Phoenix Farm Enterprises near Springfield produces chickens, ducks, goats, lambs, and rabbits, as well as eggs and some produce.
Pine Mountain Ranch near Bend sells bison, yak, and heritage pork.
Winter Green Farm in Noti offers grass-fed beef year-round.
Uproot Meats, a local sustainable farm of ethically raised, certified humane, heritage pork. Chicken, fresh pork cuts and sausages available. Subscription CSA’s and individual orders for delivery and in-state shipping only.
Box R Beef, 100% grass-fed beef. No hormones. No antibiotics. Year round home deliveries. Ashland, Medford, Klamath Falls, and surrounding areas. Owned and operated by Nick and Kelsie Randall, third generation ranchers in the Cascade Range. Call (541) 482-1873 or Email. Open M-F 9am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm; Closed Sun
Martin Ranch is a local meat farm located in Central Point, OR offers 100% grass fed beef. Quarters, halves and wholes are sold out for 2020. Contact to get on wait list for possible availability of ground beef in Fall 2020.
Salant Ranch: a family operation in Applegate Valley, supplying grass fed, grain finished USDA certified beef. Call (541) 899-8295 to inquire. Also find them at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Markets.
More about buying local: