Marketing beef directly to consumers
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The “farm to table” concept is alive and well when it comes to a business called Oak Barn Beef located just outside of West Point in northeast Nebraska.
We caught up with Hannah Klitz, who is the owner of the business. She owns and operates it with her husband Eric. “When I was a sophomore in college at UNL, I had the honor of being a Nebraska Beef Ambassador,” Klitz said. “I traveled across the state, and talked to consumers about cattle-raising practices. I taught youth about where their beef comes from. When a third grader from a rural area told me that eggs come from cows because they are next to the milk in the grocery store, I realized there is a huge educational gap between producers and consumers. I thought what better way to tell our farm story, and sell our beef directly to consumers, than by creating this connection.”
“When I decided I wanted to get involved in the beef industry, we started selling smaller beef bundles,” Klitz said. “Instead of a half or quarter of beef, we are selling a 1/32 of beef, which is what it comes down to. Just smaller amounts that are more accommodating to people who live in more urban areas and don’t have those deep freezers. I also had an internship with one of the largest direct-to-consumer meat companies in the U.S. in northern California, and they taught me the ‘ins and outs’ of a farm to table business, and that really jump-started the business to where we are now.”
Klitz and her family raise the beef that is sold through her business. “We work with my parents’ cow-calf operation and another cow-calf producer in central Nebraska to raise the cows and the calves, and we will buy them at weaning time. We DNA test all of our cattle to see their different traits and only select the highest quality ones to go into our beef program. So, it’s better beef from the beginning. We raise them here on our farm in West Point. The other thing is our beef is dry-aged. This is basically allowing the natural enzymes in the beef to break down the muscle tissue, and it’s a lot more tender and flavorful product because of that process.”
Farm to table businesses seem to be more popular right now. “Especially during the pandemic,” Klitz said. “A lot of people decided to start buying beef directly from the source during that time. It’s been cool to see a lot of farms transition to this style, and the whole farm to table movement is something interesting to see.”
If you’d like to know more about Klitz’s business, you can check out oakbarnbeef.com. “We have everything from beef bundles, which are variety packs, to individual cuts,” Klitz said. “We also have a subscription box, so we have a couples box and family box. People can get meat sent to their doorstep every month, two months, or three months, and we ship across the United States.”
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