By Brooke Moody–
When the weather gets colder, its tempting for students to stay in and opt for ordering pizza and other fast food to avoid the cold and the hassle of the grocery store. But two U of L staff members are looking to show students that there is a better option this winter.
Via an online market, U of L students, staff and community members can now get fresh pasture-raised lamb, chicken, eggs and pork even though the Belknap Farmers Market has closed for the season.
Jeneen Wiche, an anthropology professor, and Travis Ross, assistant director of advising technology, founded the Online Meat Market to give students fresh, local meat options during the winter months. Orders are placed using an online form and delivered to campus the second Tuesday of every month.
For Wiche, owner of Swallow Rail Farm, this is more than just providing local, pasture-raised meat to the community, its an opportunity to make meaningful connections. “I’m not in the business of raising animals,” said Wiche, “I’m in the business of raising food and making a personal connection with my customers.”
Wiche and Ross currently serve about 30-40 regular customers, and they are hoping that being able to buy online will attract more students. But students aren’t the only people they serve, U of L staff as well as non-U of L community members are invited to participate in the online market.
Roberto Bajandas is not a U of L student or employee but after reading about the market in an Old Louisville newsletter, Bajandas was quick to take advantage of the convenient meat market. When asked why he choose to use the service, he said, “I like to support local farmers. I have bought locally produced food for years and plan to continue.”
According to Ross, who operates New-Farm with his wife, the market has already been a success. “We have regular customers and we are reaching out to new customers to fill their needs during a time of year that they may not have local meat.”
The online meat market will continue until the Belknap Farmers Market opens back up in late May. Once the farmers market reopens Wiche and Ross will keep the online form available to allow customers to place preorders.
Anyone interested in purchasing from the online market can email Wiche at [email protected] or Ross at [email protected] or the form can be found on their farms’ website Swallowrailfarm.com and Louisvillefarm.com.