Today was going to be touch and go on our getting our beef back in time. If we didn’t get it before open today, we were going to close the store. That is how barren our shelves are right now. No sense having you good people come out only to be disappointed. Things were tense and the processor has been having a crazy time of it trying to get through everyone’s needs. I called at 0700 this morning.
“Please answer, please answer, please..”
Thank goodness! I explained that I was checking to see if my cow was ready. Before I tell you the answer, let me explain. The processor and I aren’t friends from way back. We didn’t got to different schools together. He’s not my cousin. We don’t hang out after work. But I’ve been taking cows to him for years, once a month, like clock work. I also try to be people’s favorite customer. I don’t want to ask for more than can be delivered. I don’t whine we they can’t do what I wanted. I don’t loose my mind when something goes wrong. I tell them I’m disappointed, but I appreciate their efforts, and move forward. We have a good relationship.
“Uh, it isn’t ready yet, but I’m getting your cow cut first in line. I’ll have you ready before we shut down today.”
Yes!! First in line. Not only will we get it back today, we’ll have it in time to get stocked and ready to open at 2pm! We had a great looking cow dropped off, and now I’m getting it back on time. We are good to go and it is going to be another beautiful day at Ninja Cow Farm. Woo hoo!
That is the good news.
“I gotta get yours done, because we are shutting down early.”
“Why are you shutting down early?”
“This damn thing going around. We had someone test positive.”
Our processor, where we get all of our beef processed, had someone test positive on the cut floor for the corona virus. Insert foul language here.
We’ve already spent considerable time going through this internally, so rather than rehash it here. I’m going to give you all the summary.
- The person who tested positive was on the cut floor. Our cow was not on the cut floor prior to that person going home.
- All the people in close contact with that person had already been sent home.
- The sanitize the crap out of the cut floor between animals.
- The owner himself cut our cow this morning, not one of the regular line workers.
- According to the CDC, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 via food either via packaging, take out orders (this is why we can all still get takeout) etc.
- The USDA inspector was onsite (I know him too) and while I was there I talked to him. He wasn’t worried at all.
With all that said, here is what Ninja Cow Farm is doing.
I handled all the meat from their freezer with gloves and an N95 mask (I’m not bragging, it was covered in all kinds of gunk from being left in the shop for who knows how long. Remember when they were just stupid masks and not a critical item?)
When I got home, we mobilized a team of people to handle the intake of the meat.
Jeanette, the Mrs, and I devised a plan on what we’d do. We tasked Jeanette’s son Cody to bring in the meat one tub at a time, into a clearing area in the stock room.
One tub at a time, and one package at a time, the girls took each package of meat and wiped it down with a solution of bleach per the CDC’s guidelines.
Each package was thoroughly wiped down and then allowed to dry for at least one minute, also per the CDCs guidelines.
Then Jeanette would take the now clean tub into the store and stock everything in the freezer.
So your meat has come from an inspected facility, cut by the owner himself, cleaned in bleach (the packaging, not the meat itself), and frozen. And the CDC says you can’t get it from warm food handed to you in a box from Bojangles. I think we’ve done all that we can.
With that said, some of you may not feel comfortable. Some may want to switch to MREs from the fallout shelter. My asparagus is coming up. Maybe some of you want to start living out of your gardens. Whatever you want to do is fine by us. But as we’ve always done, we are being transparent about what we do, where your food comes from, and how it is handled. As for this month’s cow, I think it is handled. Next month, I have no idea. I assume the processor will be shut down for 14 days before everyone is allowed back to work. We have a cow scheduled to be dropped off in, you guessed it, 14 days. That means that best case scenario, we’ll be dropping a cow off on day 1 of them being back to work. When everyone is out of practice and the whole system will be messed up. Whatever mess that might be, that isn’t even taking into account the massive backlog that will be waiting when they do return to work. From all the farmers who were scheduled to take animals over the next 14 days. Remember, it takes about 90 days to get on the schedule with the processor.
And while we are all worrying about ourselves (me included in this), let’s remember that our processor is a family run business and they are about to go at least two weeks with no revenue. And their employees are all about to be sent home for two weeks. The average employee at a meat packing plant doesn’t have two weeks of funds in the bank.
Looks like COVID-19 just hit a little closer to home.
So like I said, good news, and really bad news. But we’ll keep doing what we do and being here for you, and keeping you in the loop.