By MARK SHENEFELT
Small agricultural operations have found a new channel for their products during the pandemic.
They deliver to your home, where maybe you’re staying put as the COVID-19 crisis rages and you don’t get to the grocery store like before.
James and Taylor Skinner, founders and co-owners of Forage Creek Ranch, said demand has boomed in 2020 for their beef, lamb and chicken products.
“It’s been tenfold what we saw last year,” Taylor Skinner said at the brothers’ storefront, 1096 W. 1500 South in Ogden.
They offer free delivery for bulk orders of $250 or more along the Wasatch Front from Cache County to Utah County.
They use Ascension Markets of Salt Lake City to fulfill delivery of smaller orders.
The delivery program has been perfect for the Skinners, who launched their food business in 2019 after raising animals for several years at their Tremonton-area ranch.
They got into ranching at first to provide high-quality meats for themselves and their families and friends.
Taking their regenerative agriculture-themed operation public was the logical next step.
They produce grass-fed animals and use no grain feed, synthetic chemical fertilizers, or pesticides or herbicides.
Intensive rotation of their pastures restricts their animals to limited sections of the pasture each day, providing them with a constant supply of fresh grass.
Their animals also receive no soy feed or genetically modified organisms.
Taylor Skinner said the brothers noticed their order volume shot up after their website was listed this year on Farms that are Delivering.
Visitors to Farms that are Delivering are able to find farms and ranches in their area that offer delivery.
Other local producers listed include Tagge’s Fruit and Veggie Farms in Box Elder County, Rockhill Creamery in Richmond and Beehive Naturals, offering raw honey from its 25th Street storefront in Ogden.
“Our demand has increased and been overwhelming,” Taylor Skinner said. “People are looking for a different source of food and are looking more local.”
Their approach of selling direct to consumers has resulted in attracting customers especially interested in quality, such as the Utah Jazz.
James Skinner, the older of the two brothers, said he began raising beef cattle seven years ago, partly because of his “health journey.”
He said he’s lost more than 100 pounds since.
The men’s wives are key players in the operation as well. For instance, James said his wife gets up at 5 a.m. daily to feed the chickens.
Taylor Skinner said the brothers plan to add pork products next.
The Forage Creek storefront is inside the brothers’ construction business building, Skinner Excavating.
You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801 625-4224. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt.