Dry Ice and ice packs have been working well. We are confident our packages can quite easily run two days later than expected and still be frozen on arrival.
We have a lot of beef at the slaughterhouse at the moment. We'll be bringing it back and loading it into inventory at least once per week over the coming month. If you don't see something you want, or if cuts show "sold out," please check back in a day or two.
Pork cuts are going to narrow a little bit. We have some pigs going to the slaughterhouse next week, but we don't have enough pigs to take all the cuts we currently offer (cutting one way precludes other cuts).
Lamb should restock in the store by the end of this week or early next week at the latest.
Chicken will return around June 1st from the year's first batch of birds.
We hear that FedEx is expecting record-setting shipping volume heading into Mother's Day. Because of this we have cancelled our scheduled Thursday delivery. More packages have already been taking longer than usual, so the risk of widespread delays and disruptions with far more shipments in the system is too great.
We had a bad week with UPS and delayed packages, so we're back to FedEx next week. Replacing thawed out packages is a drag for both you and for us. We're going to stay with Tuesday and Thursday deliveries since weekday schedules seem to be running with greater reliability than those that cross into the weekend.
We will continue to use dry ice in the shipments as its cold-keeping performance is superior to only ice packs. If there is any left in the order when it arrives to you, do not handle it. Dry ice can cause frost bite in seconds.
As always, we're grateful when you choose to shop with us even as our product offerings narrow due to sold out products. We're going our best to keep things in stock, but we're going to continue to see things coming in and out of availability as we try ramp up production in the face of increased demand. We can only grow so much, so fast around here. We've found a few other like-minded farms (whose market outlets have been disrupted one way or another) with equivalent production practices to source animals from during the pandemic. This will help us keep more cuts available more of the time.
UPS seems to have slightly better on time delivery than FedEx at the moment so we're going to use them for the foreseeable future. Also, we've decided to set Tuesdays and Thursdays as delivery days. We'll offer weekend delivery again if we can, but for the time being weekdays are better. Thanks for your patience as we juggle our schedules all over the place.
FedEx has been having issues with timely deliveries, particularly on weekends. This is completely understandable, since there are many pressures on the delivery network, but missing and delayed packages are a big stress to us and to you. Even a few missing orders quickly add up to a cost we can't afford.
So for the moment we are shifting to deliveries on Tuesday and Friday via UPS. Deliveries going out for delivery this Saturday, 04/18, will be shipped with dry ice if they are going to areas with high rates of delayed deliveries, which means they will arrive in good condition even if they're a bit late. We hope resume weekend deliveries when things settle down.
The volume of orders we're dealing with at this point has forced us to cap some delivery days. Orders will be placed in the queue as they come in and then filled accordingly. When we cap a delivery day we'll open the shopping window for the following week so there will always be a Wednesday and a Saturday delivery option. Please make sure to note the date you select at checkout.
Thank you for bearing with us while we try to keep up with customer service inquiries. We're doing our best to keep up and ship everything on time.
We have restocked on all poultry cuts, but unfortunately they will not last until the this season's birds are ready. The first chicken of 2020 will be ready around the end of May. For the time being, the supply of ground turkey, whole and spatch-cocked chickens is strongest. If you enjoy those items please order them rather than the cut-ups.
We have started sourcing some beef from a neighboring farm that lost its restaurant accounts when NYC shut down. If you get some beef packages with "Green Cow" labels on that's why. Doug and Carrie manage their cattle the same way we do: grass-fed and grass-finished, rotational grazing, no hormones, etc. Until three weeks ago their beef was served in many of NYC's finest restaurants.
Pork supply is still strong for the foreseeable future, though we may run out of some cuts here and there if buying trends swing one way or another.
Lamb will be gone soon. We did not plan for the current level of demand we've seen and haven't yet found another farm of similar vision to work with to keep our supply up.
Our pallets of product from the regional food bank have been transferred to another freezer warehouse. We expect we'll be able to restock our on-farm freezer with poultry on on April 1st.
We are extremely fortunate, in that the response to coronavirus has not hurt our business so far. In fact, we have seen a significant increase in demand as people stock up.
But this also presents challenges:
-We had previously been growing at a healthy and manageable rate, and we had organized our inventory to account for this. We plan our growth months and even years in advance, since producing livestock takes time - it's impossible to make a cow grow faster than it wants to.
-We rent freezer storage space at a local food bank, as does our partner farm, Wrong Direction. We were informed yesterday that we are completely prohibited from getting anything out, at least for the time being. We do not know how long this will continue.
-The spike in demand has also required us to spend a bunch of money on storage and packing materials months earlier than we had expected. We have raised our free shipping threshold to help account for this.
-Last week we got close to the physical limit for the number of orders we can fill. We only have so much space in the freezer!
This is what we are doing about it:
-We are being fastidious about our own health. One benefit of being so small is that we can isolate ourselves on the farm. We do not have employees whose health we need to worry about, so as long as we are careful ourselves, we can continue to operate without interruption.
-We are doing our best to keep our store up to date, but this is proving to be a bit of a challenge. If we are out of something, please check back later. This is most immediately true of poultry. Unless we can sort out the situation with the food bank quickly, we are likely to have a temporary shortage of chicken.
-We are talking to other farms. There are other farms with different distribution models who have been hurt by this, and we may use them to fill in our inventory if we begin to run out of certain things. We will only ever work with farms that completely share our values and practices. If we do so you might get some packages with different labels on them. This is hypothetical at this point, but it may prove necessary.
-We will continue shipping for Wednesday delivery as well as for Saturday.
-We may cap orders for a particular delivery date to make sure we can get them all packed. If we have to do this, the next delivery date will open up. So you'll still be able to order, it just might take a couple extra days to arrive.
-We are planning on expanding our order packing area as soon as we have any time.
-We are eating good food and staying positive.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.