We're Buying a Butcher Shop

written by

Edwin Shank

posted on

August 5, 2020


Yes! We can finally tell the good news...

We're buying a butcher shop!
I know some of you had already guessed, but we still couldn't officially announce it until the purchasing process was closer to settlement.

The place we're buying is the small local shop that's been our primary butcher ever since we started The Family Cow in 2008. Since we already grow the beef and pork on our pastures and woods, and provide it direct to you, it only makes sense that we have control of our own butchering too. This way we can better assure an uninterrupted food supply for our tribe.

Yes... even during a pandemic!

To be clear, we don't own this butcher shop yet. We have a signed sales agreement and we have commitment letters from the bank. We expect settlement to happen in roughly a month, but there is no set date yet.

In the meantime, there may be an opportunity for you to help. More on that later. For now, just keep reading...

I also want to be clear about something else. It has not exactly been our family dream to be butchers. We didn't wake up one day and say, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to do our own butchering?" Not really...

But when COVID hit in March of this year, we soon knew we had to do something. We know there are so many families who trust us to be their regenerative, humane, direct-from-the-farm clean food source.

And we do not want to let you down. Especially not now.

We know the industrial food system is fragile, at best. I don't need to expound. Others have said it well. Read Joel Salatin: Foaming Chickens and Temple Grandin: Big Meat Supply Chains Are Fragile.

The massive meat processing plants are either shut down or functioning at reduced rates. This creates real meat shortages. And it makes people wake up to the problems with the industrial food system. What they find makes them distrust industrial agriculture (even industrial organics) and seek out their local regenerative farmers instead.

This shift is a good thing, of course, but it puts a massive increase in demand on all the small, local butcher shops. Most butcher shops are currently booking into 2021 or 2022… which means small farmers like us have no way to get animals processed when we need it most.

The PRIME Act is an excellent initiative, but no one knows if or when it will take effect. Now is no time for us to wait and see...

Like I explained back in May and June, we had plenty of market-ready animals, but simply could not get them processed fast enough during the food rush. And that backlog continues.

So... since we knew our local USDA-inspected butcher shop has been for sale for a while and the owners have been suggesting that we should buy it, we decided to pursue it.

In all reality, if we wouldn't be buying this shop, it very well could have closed its doors along with all the other small butcher shops that have gone out of business in the past few decades. The loss of so many small butcher shops across our nation is a sad story of its own. Maybe for another time.

Anyway, after working hard on this project for the past four months, it will be wonderful to see it come to fruition soon, Lord willing.

After securing the blessing of the bank and a financial consultant, we started putting some of our own people in the shop (including our own plant manager). This is great because we're seeing immediate increase in throughput, efficiency and quality control.

We'll say more on our long-term goals later. Just one note in the meantime: We really need to expand the butcher shop to make it more financially sustainable. This will also hopefully provide other farmers in the area with better service because of increased capacity.

So not only will this acquisition be good for you and usit will also be of greater good for the local farming community in general.

2020 Prepayment Investment Opportunity

Here's where you might be able to help...

The bank is financing most of this purchase, but there are quite a few infrastructure and equipment upgrades needed to make this butcher shop work for us. This is necessary both to improve throughput and quality.

The most urgent need is a larger 'hanging' cooler. This is projected to cost at least $100,000 (if not more) but it will absolutely be worth it in the long run.

Those of you who have been with us for a while will remember the 2014 and 2015 prepayment investment programs that worked so well. We used the pre-payments for much-needed improvements on our organic, regenerative farm which helped our family meet the specialty food needs of the Family Cow families.

After those prepayment programs were over, many supporters asked if we could please do something like that again... Now's your chance.

Here's how it works.

For those who are willing and able, we invite you to make a $5,000 (minimum) food prepayment which we apply to your online account as a credit. This credit is automatically applied to each order when you shop via our website.

You use from your credit at whatever speed you like. Whether it takes 6 months or several years to use it is up to you.

Your kickback is an immediate 5% applied to your credit balance, which with a $5,000 prepayment, would make your total credit balance start at $5,250.

To get started, simply mail us a check made out to The Family Cow and we'll apply the credit to your account. It's really that simple.

Mailing address: 3854 Olde Scotland Rd, Chambersburg, PA 17202

Comments or questions? Just reply to this email.

We'd love to hear your thoughts...


It's important to our family that you know: This prepay-as-a-way-to-help-the-farmer idea was not ours. It started when some thoughtful customers offered to pre-pay as a way to contribute to the success of our farm. The average offer to pre-pay was around $5,000.

Our family was and still is deeply moved by that. We didn't expect it... were not even thinking about it, and yet they offered spontaneously to help. We accepted. How could we refuse such a gesture of good will?

When we expressed amazement at their generosity, they explained to us how special it felt to them to help us! They insisted that they were sure others would also be glad to help too if we just gave opportunity.

So based on their word of assurance, we decided to give the program a try in 2014. The opportunity was well received and worked so smoothly that we decided to offer the plan again for 2015 and now 2020. We hope it doesn't seem bold or poor taste. If it does strike you that way... please accept my apology and just ignore us. :) We know it's not for everyone.

And that is perfectly OK. We wouldn't be able to accommodate everyone even if everyone wanted to participate! So please don't feel that if you don't pre-pay that our family will somehow undervalue your support. Nothing could be further from the truth! We love and need each one of you no matter what level of support.

We are mindful every day, that though our work as regenerative farmers growing God's food is important, we'd fall flat on our faces within a month if it weren't for you.

Each of you, making conscious choices to opt out of the industrial food system are without a doubt the greatest players in this food revolution. Keep it up!

Thank you... All of you... All the time!

All the best of Food and Blessings...

We look forward to hearing from you!

Your farmers,
Edwin and Dawn Shank and Family

God Designed it...   We Respect it...   That Explains it!


More from the blog

Pastured Chicken is here!

Soy & Corn-FREE chicken parts & whole birds in stock! :) All limits have been removed... stock up as much as you want! If we do sell out of whole birds it will only be briefly between our weekly harvesting throughout this summer and fall pasture season.

Rodrick & Jeanette's Baby News!

Good morning! There's no food news today... just a few pictures to introduce the littlest Shank. Dawn and I are delighted to welcome our newest grandson, Leo René Shank! He's the second son, fourth child in Rodrick and Jeanette's family. He arrived safely Sunday morning, April 28th.

Not this man! + New Team Hymn

On this Good Friday morning I’d like to share a true story from the year I taught school. Even though it’s been a few years, the experience impacted me so greatly that I remember it like yesterday.