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How's the Beef Business Going?

As potential customers stroll by the "OHNEMUSBEEF" table at our local Indianola Farmer's Market, the question gets asked, mostly by former cattle farmers or ranchers who don't have their cows anymore. I don't know much about the cattle business compared to David who also goes by "Mr. Calm", "Doctor Doolittle", and the "Cow Whisperer". I muddle my way through most sales, relieved to keep the cattle moving from farm to table.

He, the uber-cowboy extraordinaire, can crunch numbers while crunching on a raw cob of corn, figure out how many pounds of feed we'll need to get each beef ready by each specific locker date, and make sense of a business that is back-breaking just to break even.

As I stand behind my red checkered table cloth wearing my cowboy hat and gloved hands, I often comment that "he does all the hard work while I get all the fun!", as I dish up another brisket slider onto an open bun. Yes we sell sandwiches and we sell out most times. I love to feed people, and have been pleased with the numbers of return customers who are looking for a great sandwich. In the hopes that we get our beef sold, we want folks to taste how yummy it is. I challenge customers to try our beef next to their usual beef and taste the difference. I have been at the market serving our Ohnemusbeef customers twice a week. Our main sales are booking 1/4, 1/2 and whole beef where customers are given a booking, a locker date and in the end, a freezer full of great beef. Our Wednesday sales come to a close this week, however the Saturday Market from 8am-noon will carry on until the end of October. Lord willing I'll be throwing my sales pitch to anyone who will listen.

Usually it begins with, "Hi, are you a carnivore?" or something lame like that. We offer free lemonade, just to get kids tugging at the adult so that I can capture the parent with my sales pitch. I love the market, mostly because I love the people. From my kettle corn-popping neighbor to the goat soap lady, I have found a happy place of community and joyful conversation. Mostly, I hear our community tell me that they want to support the local farmer rather than the big grocery stores. It feels good to have "the regulars", with whom I predict what cuts they like and how many pickles they want with their brisket.

In answering the question, "How's the beef business going?", I'd say great; we have good relationships with a few lockers, we have locker dates booked into the next few years, we sell USDA inspected beef from the farm and we now welcome EBT/SNAP customers in partnership with USDA and DHS. We don't see things slowing down as new customers want the farm-to-table experience, and many literally are coming to the farm to visit and hang out, and catch a glimpse of David feeding the calves. As long as he has the energy to to the work, I reckon I'll keep having the fun! See you at the market!


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