Livestock producers have been hit hard during the pandemic with the blows starting right at the outset when processing capacity nosedived, and has since only deepened right along with supply chain logjams. Left scrambling to find an outlet for their products, groups across the country have cropped up to sell beef, pork, poultry, and more directly to consumers. It’s hardly a new concept but it does seem to be one that’s catching on more with producers looking for ways to grow their business. Consumers increasingly see the value in supporting local and regional agriculture as well, with these groups also providing detailed information about the farms and how their products are raised.
As Katie Olthoff of ChopLocal explains, modern consumers are used to being able to purchase anything they want online at the click of the button. She sees ChopLocal and other similar marketplaces as an an easy way for consumers to find exactly what they want. It is also a welcome alternative for farmers that maybe don’t have the time or resources to launch their own e-commerce operations. Below is a little information about ChopLocal and other similar marketplaces.
ChopLocal gives consumers access to high quality meat products directly from family farmers and small butchers across the country. The marketplace was launched in the fall of 2020 by Iowa farmers Jared Achen and Katie Olthoff with the aim of building a more resilient supply chain for meat that benefits everyone involved. The site includes farmers and butchers from all across the country though the sellers are mostly concentrated in Iowa and a few in neighboring states. Customers can browse by type of meat, location, or farm. The meat isn’t shipped from a third-party, either – it comes directly from the farmer who raised it or the butcher who cut it. Customers can pick up their orders if they’re local or have it shipped. Shipping charges vary depending on where it’s going. Orders over $49.99 shop free within Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Colorado. Outside this “preferred rate” area, they add an additional $24.99 fee. The marketplace added a ChopLocal Turkey Farm Directory earlier this fall with close to two dozen farms across the midwest. ChopLocal also offers a variety of holiday gift boxes featuring meat from local farms. Learn more HERE.
Grass Roots Farmers Cooperative, founded in 2014, owns and operates small-scale processing facilities that are centrally located to their member farms. Grass Roots says its meat products are flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed right after it’s been processed and cut, then shipped in insulated boxes packed with dry ice to maintain their quality. Based in Arkansas, Grass Roots mainly works with farms in the southern region of the U.S., but ships directly to the lower 48 states. Grass Roots has also taken the extra step of integrating blockchain into its supply chain, so it’s products are tracked from the farm to the table. Check them out HERE.
EatWild is not so much a marketplace as a directory. The group has actually been around since 2001 and has built and extensive list of more than 1,400 pasture-based farms in the U.S. and Canada that produce grass-fed or pastured meat and dairy products, including: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal, Goat, Elk, Venison, Yak, Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits, Turkeys, Eggs, Milk, Cheeses, and more. EatWild sets but does not independently verify certain production standards and while they say organic certification is desirable, it is not mandatory. You can search the site by product or choose a state or region on their map to see the available vendors. Consumers are redirected to individual farmer or marketplace websites to make their actual purchase. EatWild does not receive any part of those sales but rather supports the site with a $50 annual listing fee paid by farmers. Learn more HERE.