Dear Loyal West Side Beef Customers,
I’m addressing this letter to you personally, and I want you to be among the first to learn about an exciting evolution happening at West Side Beef.
Today, West Side Beef is so busy that it has truly outgrown the space we have at Richmond Station. We simply cannot bring in more product, nor do we have the time, space or people to cut and store more product. But rest assured, this does not mean West Side Beef will come to an end. Quite the opposite in fact.
As the program grows we connect more and more small Ontario farmers with urban consumers. We connect these people by butchering fresh, healthy, pastured meat that is grown just outside Toronto and then delivering it directly to people in the city. The growth of the program benefits rural farming communities as the security of a nearby market allows them to improve their farms and their lives.
Another nice benefit of the programs growth is that at West Side Beef we’ve been able to keep prices stable, and in some instances bring them down. While I’m not in a rush to encourage people to spend less on food or think of food as cheap, I do take pride in helping make a local food system find efficiencies that can in turn offer value to consumers. Yes, together we’re making good, local food a better option than cheap, imported food.
As West Side Beef has welcomed more customers, we’ve found ways to make delivery and processing more affordable – making the production more affordable for us has allowed us to make buying West Side Beef more affordable for you.
Since early 2018 it’s become clear to Carl and I that West Side Beef is a product and service that is growing in demand. We continue to greet new customers. These new customers are often your neighbours or your dinner guests. They’ve heard about West Side Beef from you.
Starting December 1st, 2018 West Side Beef will enter into an exclusive partnership with our friends at The Packing House. The Packing House is a small independent meat processor that is owned and operated by our friend Jeremy Losier.
Jeremy is uniquely positioned to help West Side Beef thrive, a reality Carl and I are committed to. Not only is Jeremy a passionate butcher, but he is also a young entrepreneur who bears the same standard for excellence and deliciousness as Richmond Station: he’s been a supplier and partner at West Side Beef since 2016.
West Side Beef under the partnership with The Packing House spells good things for our most dedicated customers – as well as the customers we don’t have yet. For example, The Packing House will be able to offer additional delivery days so customers can order their shares and receive them faster. The Packing House will also be able to keep prices the same while evolving the product offering. We’ve long heard our customers say they’d like to get eggs or to have the opportunity to modify their orders. The Packing House will introduce these improvements.
I’m also really excited that The Packing House will be able to expand the delivery area. For the last few years, we’ve heard from families in Ajax, Hamilton, Pickering, Milton, Markham and Mississauga. They too want to get farm fresh meat of the highest quality. Unfortunately, Richmond Station is not a viable pickup point for everyone (sigh), and our cooks cannot take the time to drive all over the GTA without making the prices untenable. The Packing House will be able to expand the reach of West Side Beef, getting the product you love into the fridges and freezers of more people.
Jeremy and I worked together at The Healthy Butcher. Our careers have evolved side by side – and whereas my passion is for owning and operating a restaurant that buys local food, Jeremy has spent the last decade meeting new farmers and growing The Packing House into the premier source for fresh Ontario meat. Like Carl and I, they buy directly from farmers and spend a lot of time driving rural roads connecting with farmers on a personal level. A commitment to delicious food is a shared value – so much so that The Packing House is one of Richmond Station’s most valued suppliers.
I look forward to investing my time and energy into this transition in the coming months. Rest assured, Carl, and I will stay involved in West Side Beef. We’ll continue to provide recipes, articles and cooking instructions and you’ll still be able to reach out and get great advice on how to cook your West Side Beef items.
West Side Beef has been a passion project for Carl and I. It’s grown from a secret email list to an e-commerce butcher shop. I’d like to thank our founding partner Kurt Krumme for helping create this vision, and helping shepherd the program into existence. The brand has come to represent the solutions that are available for big problems like local food sovereignty and small problems like dinner time. I’m excited that we’ve found to help West Side Beef reach more people – truly it’s just a business that’s growing!
I want to thank each of you for your continued support. Please stay tuned as we shepherd our program into a new home, with new partners and new customers, too. If you’d like to send us a comment or question about the transition, please click the link below. I hope to be able to respond to each of you personally.