With some meat processing plants closing across the country because of the spread of COVID-19, an Oklahoma farmer said he is expanding his efforts to help families get food.
Outwest Farms said it was already planning to expand after being accepted into the Tulsa Farmer's Market this year. But with the demand for meat right now, the farm plans to double its inventory.
Just a few miles west of Cleveland, you'll find pigs, cattle, chickens, and lambs at Outwest Farms. Farm Manager Jake Miller said things are about to get even busier.
"I think people are finally realizing the importance of eating local and knowing where food comes from,” he said.
Jake and his dad, Matt, started their business about a year ago, selling locally raised meat to the public. Jake said they went from having about 100 or 150 customers, to filling 300 orders in April.
"I think the day was March 15th, we started getting a lot more orders than we were expecting, and it's been crazy busy ever since then,” Jake said.
Doubling their operation isn’t going to happen overnight. One challenge they could face is getting enough processing dates at the Quapaw Food Services Authority, a USDA inspected plant in Miami, Okla., where they get their processing done.
Plant Manager Wade Payne said the plant is “booked up solid” through September and is almost completely booked through the rest of 2020.
Payne said the 25 employees working in the 25,000 square foot facility are working at a safe distance from each other, adding that the plant is sanitized several times a day.
"Working with our meat processor, he tries to work with us and get us what we need,” Jake said.
As Miller delivers the finished product directly to his customers' doors across the state, he encourages all Oklahomans to think locally the next time they need meat.
"If you don't wanna buy from us at Outwest Farms, there are multiple other small operations that are doing this and trying to expand,” Jake said.
To learn more about Outwest Farms, click here.