Meet Alejandra (Alex) of Finns Ranch located in Buchanan, Michigan. She and her family operate a farm where they raise 100% grass fed, grass finished beef, pasture raised pork, goat, lamb, chicken, duck, turkey and free range chicken and duck eggs.
Their family farm journey started with their move from Chicago, Illinois to Buchanan, Michigan. The new home they selected just happened to be on 14 acres so they opted to buy 20 chickens from the previous owners. "We thought it would be kind of fun. ", Alejandra says. " What followed was the purchase of 4 small cows for the family and soon they realized they could sell the excess meat by marketing directly at gyms. One thing led to another and eventually former careers were shed and their lives were transformed and committed to farming.
I get up at 2 am to make a market 96 miles away and look forward to it. That's how I know it is right for me. - Alex
Passionate and mission focused, Alejandra also serves as a farm/food educator of sorts - explaining her farm practices and the differentiation in taste and nutrients. "How much nutrition per gram are you getting with your food?", is one of her ice-breakers. Customers seeking out farm to table solutions are anxious to learn more about the health benefits of 100% hormone free, antibiotic free, steroid free, pesticide free and Non-GMO. This is why their original marketing targeted health clubs where the message resonated.
A variety of channels are now offered for purchasing product including through Finns CSA and bulk ordering options or at farmers markets in and around Chicago. Orders can be picked up at the farm, at the farmers market or on a growing list of scheduled delivery locations.
A pivotal moment in our business last year was being introduced to WhatsGood. "It was a lifesaver", Alex claims. She described the chaos of running a farm to table business during the pandemic. People sought Finns Ranch out via text, phone, email and left messages with various orders and instructions for delivery or pick-up. "Invoicing, alone was nearly impossible in that situation", she said and the entire business process was challenging. " That is about the time they signed on for WhatsGood, an app and website designed for market vendors such as Alex. Suddenly, her orders came in 24/7 in a way that was organized for more seamless fulfillment. Alex stated that "the payment process within the app was the invoicing system and suddenly we could reach more people and my phone was blowing up with orders..
"You know, I'm an accountant, driver, mom and vendor at Green City Market in Chicago and WhatsGood was a lifesaver for me.
We're fortunate that the Green City market was fully engaged to increase convenience to our market customers. Last year, vendors and WhatsGood came together to create a packing hub for deliveries. Vendors were so excited to realize a delivery service for their customers that they pitched in to help organize and supply the hub with materials necessary for its logistical success such as refrigeration, packing materials, shelving, etc. Alex states, "It was a fabulous experience learning the logistics required to deliver food. "
Alex points out that one of her mantras is bringing to people's consciousness the link between quality food and their health. She estimates 80 percent of customers are regulars who understand the concept of pay now or pay later (health). They are loyal to local sustainable farming, as well as the significant taste and texture difference of the meat and eggs. Alex observed that during the past two years of the pandemic, people woke up to the interrupted and fragile food supply chain.
"Who came to save the day? The farmer, the local guy. Meat plants were closed. It became clear why it was critical to have their local source and local farmer to sustain them. It was the difference between having access or not to fresh food. Securing your supply chain is in your own best interest. That's why sourcing locally is important."
Where does Finns Ranch from here?
Alex: We would love to have more infrastructure in our local area, including a butcher.
We plan to keep telling our story to raise the awareness in our community about the benefits of our farm practices. I will tell you a short story. A few weeks ago, I provided meats for an out of town sports event for my child's team. A member of my community returned from that trip raving about the texture and taste of the meat saying it was like nothing she'd ever had before. If you are never exposed to good meat, you will never know the difference. Once you have, you will understand its value.
I follow Sacred Cow and consider myself a "groupie" with a drive to learn as much as I can to apply local, sustainable, regenerative and healthy food growing practices.
order via www.sourcewhatsgood.com
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