Monday, April 02, 2007

No kidding ... where do you get a goat?

Sometimes the biggest challenge can be for farmers to find their customers, and for customers to find them.

On Saturday, a group of customers visited the Italian deli shop in Corvallis, Ore. that's named Natalia and Cristoforo's. It was obvious the young men who were buying some cuts of meat that day were regulars, as they chatted about jobs, people they knew and the food in the shop.

This deli shop is tucked away on a side street in downtown Corvallis. Inside, there are all kinds of Italian specialty meats, cheeses and wines, as well as imported pastas, oils and sweets. The place has a faithful following of people who enjoy the specialty sandwiches on the menu. The place isn't fancy; its seating area is downstairs among the wine bottles, with several old tables and few mismatched plastic or other chairs, but the food is of top quality.

As one of the guys talked to the owner about an upcoming social event, he suddenly quizzed, "Do you know where I can get a goat?" Apparently, these young guys were interested in buying a whole goat to cook for a bunch of guests.

The owner shook his head, answered he didn't, but also mentioned this is the second time he's been asked that question.

Who knew there was such a market in Corvallis?

However, it raises the question: where does one find specialty meats, especially as people of various cultures blend into the American society mix and desire food of different origins and preparations?

Another question: are farmers actively approaching butchers, deli shop owners, or other markets to see if they want their specialty meats? Or suggesting that if these small shop owners can't handle such orders, if they can please pass on the business to the farmers directly?

The guys made their purchases and left, leaving behind an untapped market for some goat producer.

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