Many years ago, in the first issue of The Country Kitchen Journal (May 1993) our “Master and Mentor of all things Meat”, Stanley R. Glenn, published the following Statement of Policy:
“First we want to assure you that everything you buy from us is of the highest possible quality. Second we want to make your shopping and cooking chores quick and simple. Finally, we want to get these goods and services to you at the lowest and most reasonable prices.”
This was not only his business philosophy, but his personal belief and mantra. Though dearly departed, we carry on Stan’s mission through fluctuations in the market, economic upheavals, natural disasters, disease and drought. We are experiencing many of these conditions right now and feel duty bound to bring them to your attention.
You may have noticed that like gas prices, the price of eggs is starting to rise and be warned that the increase may continue through the coming months. The culprit behind this is the H5N2 or Avian Influenza Virus (aka Bird Flu) that has swept across sixteen states since late last year to the tune of 40 million birds. Some birds were directly infected but millions more were culled to prevent further spreading. Hardest hit (32 million birds or 10% of the US population) were the egg laying species of hen, mostly in Iowa. So far the virus has not affected the Broiler or meat class of chicken, but the turkey population has not been so lucky.
The virus, which scientists believe is being spread by wild migratory birds, has caused the destruction of over 5 million turkeys (2.5%) nationwide. Experts are predicting that although there may be a small spike in price, your Thanksgiving Turkeys supply should remain strong. We are not entirely convinced and have already contacted our suppliers to negotiate prices for your holiday turkeys and Turduckens. Since chicken take just a few months to mature it shouldn’t take long for the industry to recover. We’ll do our best to keep you updated. It should be noted that there is no risk in continuing to enjoy a grilled chicken breast or turkey sandwich!
The news from the Beef Industry is about the same as it has been the past few years, which is to say not very encouraging. The price of beef just continues to climb. In last year’s June issue we reported that the price of beef was up 15.8% from $124.64 cwt in 2013 to $144.39 in June of 2014. Not to sound like a broken record, but the price of beef is up again this year to $159.92 cwt. Although this is down from the all time US high of nearly $170.00 in January of this year, it is still up 10.8% overall. It’s all about supply and demand. Herd sizes were drastically reduced during the 2012 drought and ranchers are still replenishing those numbers. Beef imports in the US are also down because of similar drought conditions in Australia and New Zealand. This means low supply. Demand for steaks is normally high as summer kicks off and stores stock their shelves. However, an exceptionally long winter has more Americans than ever itching to fire up their grills and cut into a juicy steak. As we all ride out this current storm, we can assure you of one thing. The first line of our statement of policy, “Everything youbuy from us is of the highest possible quality.” We are not going to purchase lower grade, lower quality, or cheaper brands of beef. We’ll leave that to the others. We’ll continue to source only the best 1855 Choice and USDA Prime grades, negotiate the lowest prices we can and you’ll continue to get the same great quality you’ve come to expect from us. If you are planning on serving a bunch of steaks or have some room in your freezer, talk to our butchers about purchasing a larger sub primal cut. We will skillfully cut, trim and wrap or vacuum pack it at no extra charge. No two steers are the same, but depending on the piece you could save anywhere from 10-15%. You will get the same great steaks and pay a little less by buying in bulk. So, sharpen up your steak knives and ENJOY!