OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With supply chain issues causing problems at your local grocery store, many shoppers are left wondering where to buy their food. One way to insure you can put a meal on the table is to buy from your local farmer and rancher.
Outwest Farms out of Cleveland, Oklahoma is a veteran and family owned farm, producing beef, pork, chicken and lamb. They’ve only been in business for a few years now, but despite the pandemic wreaking havoc on many small businesses, theirs is thriving. Jake Miller, 1/5 of Outwest Farms, credits an early business model they adopted that just so happened to be much-desired during the pandemic: free delivery.
“The free delivery has worked well with the COVID pandemic. More people don’t want to go to the grocery store. It’s become more like Amazon,” said Miller “So it’s helped our business to be able to offer that free home delivery and more people are wanting to buy local. So it’s a good match up.”
Outwest Farms is proud of the way they raise their animals.
“A main difference from buying with Outwest Farms is that all of our animals are raised on our pasture and we know how they’ve been raised and how they’ve been taken care of. Whereas if you’re buying from the grocery store, yeah, it’s going to be cheaper but you have no clue on where the meat came from,” said Miller.
“The biggest way we raise them differently is our hogs and chickens are raised on pasture and fed non-GMO grain. Our cows, our cattle and our sheep are raised on grass and are completely 100% grass fed, which is different from what you buy in the grocery store,” said Miller. “Most of those animals are heavily grain fed, and all of ours are mostly grass fed. The pork and chicken, they do get fed some grain, but they’re also put on pasture.”
Miller explains that the difference between grain fed and grass fed is usually in the last few months before slaughter.
“Most cattle are always grass fed. It’s the last 90 to 160 days changing from a grass fed to a grain fed, and the grain fed, if you buy it from the grocery store, is put in a feedlot, which is fed heavy amounts of grain and they stand in one little, they stand in a dirt lot where they won’t be moving around a ton and to gain as much weight as they can to get up to about 1,500 lbs,” said Miller. “Whereas ours are grass fed and they’re allowed to run around on pasture, and they get fed during winter since grass isn’t growing as much, they’ll get fed alfalfa and hay bales to keep that fat on them.”
But it’s not just Outwest Farms that is experiencing the benefits of shopping local. The concept has really picked up speed, according Tammy Fate, senior manager of retail development and recruitment for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.
“I think people are just kind of craving getting out and they want to make sure these local businesses stay a part of our fabric of the community,” said Fate.
Fate said retailers in the Oklahoma City metro have been partnering to embrace new ways of co-branding and co-marketing to draw in more customers, and it’s been successful, especially in OKC’s multitude of shopping districts.
“We had great success and we got a lot of a lot of participation from people just wanting to be a part of it, tell their story, talk about, you know, what’s going on,” said Fate. “I feel like a lot of the retailers have really figured out how to get creative in terms of omnichannel and getting their inventory online.”
That online aspect, as well as the free delivery statewide, has been a homerun for Outwest Farms.
Miller says this early success is just the beginning. Outwest Farms will continue to expand and serve the people of Oklahoma and beyond, and he hopes Oklahomans can continue to support local, too.