No matter how you slice it, grocery store meat prices are higher than they were last year.
According to October figures from “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner,” the wholesale cost of some cuts has almost doubled. The West Virginia Bureau of Labor Statistics reports prices for various cuts of beef rising from .09% up to 4% with frozen whole turkeys up 15.1% since October 2020. Those prices can take a prime chunk of change out of the pockets of many area families.
Maybe it’s time to consider a local resource that has been overlooked for some time now — support Greenbrier Valley farmers. Shopping locally not only helps sustain businesses that, in many cases, have been operating through multiple generations, but they provide the most nutritious food for the dinner table.
The mountainsides of the Greenbrier Valley are dotted with cattle, yet they seem to only serve as scenic backdrop when residents drive past herds on the way to the grocery store.
Several area farms offer high-quality, grass-fed beef through local markets, independently owned storefronts, social media, websites and newspaper ads.
Caring Acres Farm is taking orders for ¼, ½ or whole natural grain-grass fed beef through the classified pages of The West Virginia Daily News. The business also sells at area markets and supplies restaurants.
“Our mission is to provide the highest quality beef at affordable prices to everyone,” according to Caring Acres’ website. The farm also offers chestnuts, eggs and fresh vegetables from 310 acres on Muddy Creek Mountain.
Under the heading “What Meat Shortage?” the West Virginia Living magazine April 2020 edition recognized the following Greenbrier Valley places that offer the freshest selection of meat:
Hillyrock Farm near Lewisburg notes that it finishes “Angus steers on a lush mix of rich grass pastures. The steers drink clear mountain spring water and do not receive any hormones or antibiotics. These steers are processed locally at a USDA inspected facility and direct marketed regionally.”
Cedar Dawn Farm is a family-oriented operation near Alderson that raises meat goats, sheep, grass-fed beef and garden vegetables, “We eat the same food we sell and strive to produce natural and healthy food while treating the land and livestock with respect.”
Ronceverte’s Sarver Heritage Farm is also listed in WV Living magazine. The farm invites visitors to, “Relax and experience the independence from commercial feedlot beef that comes with Sarver Heritage Farm beef. You deserve better tasting, healthier beef that is also easier on the environment.”
Also making the list is Swift Level Fine Meats.
Swift Level explains that the farm “practices thoughtful and knowledgeable animal husbandry and land management with respectful treatment.” And extend the invitation, “We welcome visitors and encourage pasture walks and tours to help you better understand the importance and impact of this farming methodology.”
In its retail shop across from the fairgrounds, Swift Level, “has a well stocked inventory of our beef, lamb, pork, chicken and eggs from selected local farms.”
This is by no means an exhaustive list of fresh food providers. Think outside the supermarket freezer chest to come up with personal solutions. Strike up a deal with an owner of a neighboring hog or cattle farm. Check on deals posted on business Facebook pages like those offered by Mann’s Meat Processing in Lindside. RIPCO takes orders for seafood and froglegs. Alderson’s Crab Man hauls in truckloads of shellfish, oysters and other delicacies from the sea. And let’s not forget the FFA annual ham, bacon and egg sales.