Weaver Street Market Retail Pilot
NC Choices is committed to advancing market opportunities for pasture-based animal producers and, when possible, engage in partnerships toward this end.
From 2008-2010 NC Choices supported a retail marketing pilot project with Weaver Street Market (WSM), the Southeast’s largest natural foods cooperative. This partnership accomplished a number of important outcomes, including:
- Created a new market outlet for pasture-based livestock producers in NC.
- Significantly increased revenues for small independent meat processors.
- Grew weekly sales of local grass-fed beef & pasture-raised pork across WSM’s three Triangle area locations from $3500 - $9000.
On a voluntary basis, NC Choices played a critical coordinating role, including: 1) identifying farmers to participate, 2) scheduling production and animal delivery, 3) assisting with development of marketing materials, and 4) addressing supply side and processing coordination issues. WSM played the critical role of purchasing whole animals from producers, including 3T Ranch, Double R Cattle Services, Hight Farm, Parker Farms, Cedar Grove Windy Hill Farm and Haywood Leigh Farm. WSM paid for slaughter and further processing and coordinated back-hauling of product from processors to their food commissary in Hillsborough, NC. WSM’s butchers then cut and package meat for sale in their three stores in Orange County.
This retail marketing pilot project gave NC Choices the opportunity to learn in depth about the challenges and opportunities inherent in scaling-up sales of local, pasture-based meat products to retail markets.