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Billerica Meat Company's Demand 10 Times Higher During Coronavirus Crisis

BILLERICA (CBS) - The coronavirus pandemic may be motivating more and more people to shop local for their meat.

The Walden Local Meat Company in Billerica is seeing such a big increase in demand they are having to put new customers on a waiting list.

"People are cooking at home more often so our members are increasingly asking for more and larger sizes," said Charley Cummings, the CEO and founder. "We also have an influx of new members. It's something around 10 times normal demand. We're in the fortunate position of being able to keep our doors open during this crisis, but also trying to keep up with some really unusual demand."

Walden Local Meat Company works with 75 farms in New York and New England that produce 100-percent grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork, chicken and lamb. The meat is processed at their plant in Vermont and then delivered directly to customers' doorsteps.

"The goal is to create a local food system that is more resilient than the industrial alternative," said Cummings.

Some of the country's largest meat processing plants have been forced to close due to coronavirus outbreaks.

Companies have warned this could lead to shortages of meat on store shelves. Cummings said this could be another reason for an increased interest in their company.

"As people have seen the headlines come out in the last couple days, people are fearful that the grocery store shelves will be increasingly empty so I think so I think there is a certain amount of that going on," Cummings said.

walden local meat company
(Image credit: The Walden Local Meat Company)

"But, I think there's also just this paradigm shift towards local food that just got accelerated by five or ten years," he said. "I think it's about local and the resiliency of local systems and being able to drive to a farm that's producing your food is increasingly meaningful in times like this."

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