'Meeting' the need
While Oregon and Washington have so far managed to weather the meat shortages seen in other parts of the country, there are multiple farms in the area ready to serve you should you look to buy local ? — including one in Eagle Creek that is selling double the amount of products than usual.
Along with a variety of fresh produce, Quackenbush Farm in Eagle Creek is connecting customers with pastured lamb. Matt Van Wey, co-owner of the operation, attributed their increase in operations to the COVID-19 outbreak and word of mouth.
"With COVID and the supply chains breaking down, a lot of people have turned to smaller local producers, and so we've had tremendous demand," he said.
Fresh lamb and produce is available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at Quackenbush Farm, 29009 S.E. Heiple Road. Additionally, products are also available at the Happy Valley and Vancouver farmers markets.
The farm specializes in Katahdin lamb, which Van Wey described as a good introduction for people who are not as familiar with the particular type of meat.
"The flavor is a lot less gamey, so people that are a bit on the fence about lamb or even don't like lamb — once they try this lamb they usually change their mind," he said.
When the lambs reach the farm, the area on their pasture is rotated weekly to ensure they are consuming fresh grass. As the summer progresses, their diet is supplemented with alfalfa.
"Grass tends to be a little bit lower in protein in the late summer when things are brown," Van Wey explained.
There are multiple benefits to eating pastured meats.
"When an animal is fed on pasture, they acquire the nutrients from the diversity of grasses that they're eating, and that translates to a higher quality of meat that has a higher nutritional content for the folks eating it," he said. "You are what you eat, and if you're eating good quality food that's been raised in a way that has a lot of nutrients, it's going to translate to better health."
Van Wey added that focusing on local production expands the quality of the Quackenbush Farm's products.
"We can do things that (supermarket suppliers) can't do, because they're primarily shipping in large quantities across the country and the world," he said. "(A lot of produce) needs to be picked and eaten in a short window, because it can't handle these long supply chains. We're able to grow some really good food because of that."
For more information about Quackenbush Farm, visit quackenbushfarm.com.
Not-so-boring meats by delivery
Nature's Old Time Meats, owned and operated by Tanya and Mike Huertas, has been offering naturally and humanely raised chicken, beef and pork in Boring since 2012, and they deliver as close as Sandy and as far as Beaverton.
"I've seen that some grocery stores did limit how many meat products people could buy for a while," Tanya said. "For us, however, we're feeling very blessed."
The Huertas have several restaurant customers, some of whom haven't been buying as much since the COVID-19 crisis began, but they also have always sold to the public.
"We have seen a demand for our product increase in recent months," Tanya explained. "So, we ramped up our home delivery."
You can now order meats from the Huertas online, at naturesoldtimemeats.com.
All of the animals the Huertas raise and sell for meat are corn- and soy-free, pasture-raised and they're never given anti-biotics or hormones. Over the years, the Huertas have struck up a beneficial relationship with Organically Grown Company and received numerous donations of excess fruits, which are then fed to the cows and hogs.
"I think what people really like is knowing everything is really naturally and humanely raised," Tanya said. "Once they try it, I think they're hooked. And, they can feel really good about what they're feeding their kids."
Tanya actually began her meat production farm eight years ago for that very reason.
"I have seven kids and wanted a healthier option for my kids," she explained. "Some of my children have dietary issues. I was driven by trying to meet my own family's dietary needs."
While Tanya notes that her products are slightly more expensive than what you'd pay at the grocery store for non-organic, she sees Nature's Old Time Meats as at the "lower end of the spectrum of other places people could get grass-fed organic beef."
"We try to make good food accessible and affordable for people," Tanya said. "I think there's also been a growing interest in supporting locally. We've been grateful for that."
Living high on the hog
Also feeling the local love lately is Brenda Hatter with Sugar Maple Swine in Sandy. Hatter has been selling her pork products at multiple local markets this year, including the Gresham Farmers Market and Hoodland Farmers Market. The business is also taking orders directly.
"There's definitely a shortage and we're going to plow through it," Hatter said. "Luckily, locally there are and always have been people raising and selling quality meat."
Hatter has been raising pigs and selling pork for six years now.
Education has been a cornerstone of Hatter's business. Not only does she teach people what other culinary options they have in pork, but the difference between kinds of pigs and between her meat and what you see at the store.
"Regular customers who have come to know me know they can ask questions," she said. "The meat I sell is generally not like what you're going to get in the grocery store. Pork at the store is all the same breed of pig typically. It is mass produced and it all has to be the same."
Hatter raises Hereford and Berkshire hogs, which she said render "leaner and darker" meat.
Hatter also works with customers to provide mutually convenient delivery.
Hatter's most popular item — surprise, surprise — is bacon, though she sells a large variety of different cuts and pig products. Pork chops run a close second.
Besides these must-haves, Hatter also sells items like sausages processed by Mt. Angel Meats and pork shoulders, which are great for making pulled pork.
"A lot of people don't understand what else you can get from a pig," she explained. "I try to help educate people."
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