We have a ton of new converts. Those who perhaps never saw food issues the way you or I might have in the past, do now!
Is it that they suddenly discovered that vegetable oils should never be consumed by humans - any humans- ever.
Or, that high-fructose corn syrup is full of junk that kills your immune response?
Or that Cows should not live shoulder-to-shoulder, knee-deep in their own manure packed into a feedlot?
No, probably not.
Notwithstanding the fact that all of these things, and many more, about our industrial food system are true, or, that they were true long before a bat flew out of a cave and landed in someone's soup bowl a few months ago.
The recent real food, local farm awakening is rather attribute to a few other main elements...
Firstly, just a few moths ago, before sickness ensued, death raged and we took a blowtorch to the most powerful economy in human history, the average American family spent 38 cents of every dollar on restaurant dining. That's a ton of pennies, folks. The remaining 62 cents were blown at the grocery store. Of that, nearly 50% was then wasted, due to spoilage, cooking too much or just plain waste from by-products (our generation, unlike our Grandparents, can afford to waste potato peels).
Then came COVID.
And, the world of food, will never be the same.
Now, the most recent data suggests that only 4% of that food dollar is being spent at a restaurant. This means that the pennies spent at a grocery store are now, presumably, 96 cents for each dollar. That is an astonishing shift in demand folks.
Imagine, just for a moment, that you are industrial food producer "A" executing plan "B" to get exactly 38% of your product to your favorite restaurant distributor and 62% to the local Safeway, when suddenly the Safeway calls to tell you they need nearly a third more than they normally take in their shipments.
After hanging up, you adjust your face mask, ensure you are six feet form the cubicle next to you and answer the phone from your restaurant distributor - she stuns you by informing you that she doesn't need a shipment at all this month - most of her restaurants are closed.
To further complicate the matter, the restaurant historically, has used all the New York and Filet Mignon Steaks from your feedlot beeves, while the Safeway can efficiently distribute the Ground Beef and Roasts from that same beef - times 10,000.
So, your spreadsheet and data analysis, work schedules, shipping coordination, cooling rooms, et al, are precisely tuned to the needs of the industry, to ensure exceptional profit and efficiency. You might need to adjust, occasionally, but only by +/ - 3%, at most. Now you are faced with a serious problem. You need to get beef turned around and sent in another direction, to the tune of half your daily output. This is no simple task - it's like turning a battleship with a canoe paddle.
Oh, and, by the way, 25% of your plants have closed due to illness.
This juggling act / nightmare is multiplied by the countless vertical stacks of cubicles embedded deep within massive companies like JBS, Cargill and Tyson foods. These behemoths alone, supply over 80% of our nations food, on razor thin margins, with no more than a day of JIT (Just in Time Supply) back up.
This is incredibly foolish and unhealthy. It represents a nation-wide crack in our infrastructure and the ugliness of factory farming are begin to peer out of the resulting fissures. In the next few months, the food supply in America will be in the ICU.
One of the chants from the "how are we going to feed the world?" squad has always been about efficiency. Notice I did not say effectiveness - that would mean healthy food before profit. That is not, I repeat, not a tenant of the industrial food system. No, this system is predicated upon very large amounts of poor quality food to the masses. "Keep them fed!" is the mantra. Who cares more than 50% of Americans are obese, or if diabetes has doubled in the last 20 years.
As my wife says, these industrialist companies are like the Queen of France, who coldly proclaimed - "Let them eat cake" - that is what the industrialist tout. Feed the world food all right - JUNK FOOD!
Now, all of a sudden - we care.
Why? Because we are finally cooking again, as a nation.
I'll bet most of your new converts never knew what quality food was, simply because they had never encountered it before.
When the department of the Treasury seeks to train agents to find counterfeit bills, the do not show them a single counterfeit for the duration of their training. Nope, they spend weeks locked in high security, examining the most minute details of one, ten and twenty dollar bills. Exhausting study of each bill is made, details are memorized.
Then, for the final exam, a board with bills taped to it is brought out on display. On it, are four real bills and a single counterfeit. The prospective graduates are to choose the counterfeit bill. Once passed, they are certified as examiners.
Each one passes within seconds.
They are so familiar with the real deal, that they can spot a fake without hesitation. I think you get the point.
How they come to us, what drives them to join the real food, healthy gut, robust immune system clan is really irrelevant. Frankly, it doesn't matter how they got here. They are here now, and that is all that matters to us.
A few weeks ago we learned of a customer of ours that was on business in Africa. He had left his family here in California, and apparently they were not able to be out in public. Many find themselves in this situation. Going to the store for them might mean getting sick. This man had written us to express his gratitude for our service of "meat from our ranch to your door" - it made our day, really.
One less for the industrial food system, one more for righteous, healthy food, direct from a real Farm. Another family who has potentially been saved from a life of pain brought on by cheap food.
16 hours suddenly became worth it again.