If you recently started purchasing from our farm, you might not realize that we didn’t always ship. My mom and I started out like the old milk men and would deliver everyone’s orders frozen in our freezer trucks. Our customers would leave their cooler on their porch and we would place their frozen meat order inside. That was our life for years. We delivered weekly and monthly orders to most cities in the metro Detroit area. It was really fun because my mom and I got to meet many of our customers face to face. We loved visiting when someone answered the door. It was great learning more about our customers’ lives and families.
As our business grew, my mom and I were needed back at the farm more, so my grandma, Pat, took over. She was a great part of our home delivery service and all of our customers loved her. She delivered for us for several years but the amount of orders continued to grow. We knew that Grandma Pat couldn’t deliver for us forever, after all she was nearing 75 years young. We started looking into other options. Based on feedback we received from our customers, they wanted faster delivery times as well as fresh meats. We started researching other companies who shipped meats and formulated a plan to start shipping ourselves. And so it began in April 2017.
After numerous tests on a large variety of packaging, we decided that the polystyrene foam coolers were the best for our customers. Once we found a suitable cooler, we had to research ice packs. Did you know there there were numerous varieties of ice packs? I didn’t. There are all different sizes and styles that stay cold for different amounts of time. We started testing those and found some of the best gel ice packs on the market! These ice packs have even been known to freeze some of our meats after the order is packed and on its way to the customer. That means they are really COLD!
The hardest change for us to make was to figure out how to cut, package and ship FRESH meat. We had been cutting our grass fed and pasture raised meats for years but adding in shipping and all the logistics that come along with that was a brand new ballgame. It took us a few weeks to fully figure out a good system. Now that we are almost 2 years deep into our shipping journey, I would say that we are definitely “Pros” now. Previously, all of our meat was frozen and wrapped in white freezer paper. We had to change it up and invest in a bigger vacuum sealing machine. This allows us to ship all of our meats in extra thick vacuum seal bags that are strong enough to make the trip from our USDA inspected meat room to your home. Above, is a picture of some of our orders that are waiting to be packed. We cut and/or grind each piece of meat, then it is vacuum sealed, weighed and labeled. We then write a special order number on each package so we know who it belongs to and to make sure each item goes into the right order.
All of the orders are then double checked to make sure each order is correct, and then packed meticulously by layering meat and ice packs throughout the box. After the boxes are sealed and labeled, they are handed off to the Fed Ex driver and on their way to your home! We have come so far on this journey and yet hope to go much further. We wish to share our small family farm with more people in Michigan and the surrounding states. We know it can be a struggle to find locally sourced meats, so try us out. We know you won’t be disappointed.
I hope you enjoyed this story about our shipping journey. To learn more about our farm, subscribe to this blog or visit our Facebook page.