Beef in high demand

Roger Christianson, Herschel Foster, and Clayton Krause are busy grinding and packaging ground beef to try to keep up with customer demand at Table Top Meats. 

May is National Beef Month and right now that could not be more fitting as beef is in high demand.  

“We are staying swamped,” said Taelar Krause.

Taelar, her husband Clayton, and her in-laws D’Ann and Clint Krause have owned and operated Table Top Meats in Hemingford coming up on four years. The four of them purchased the business in August of 2016 when they moved here from Texas to start their business.

“We enjoy being here. I know that we probably haven’t made everybody happy in our four years here but we sure try,” Taelar said.

She added, “We’ve been doing A LOT of ground beef

Just to put it into perspective of just how busy they really have been… Last year, 2019, they sold 3,500 pounds of ground beef. So far, since January 1, 2020, as of the middle of May, they have ground over 6,000 pounds.

“By April 1st we had overtaken our number from last year, now we’re nearly double,” she said.

“We have never seen anything like this,” Taelar said, “Right now we’re working on booking April of 2021. Typically we might be four to maybe six months out if we get behind but three to four months is the average time that we have been booked out for a custom beef order. We’re approaching a year and we’ve never been that far out.”

Usually they stay busy with custom and repeat orders but their phone has been ringing off the hook since March it seems. Supply and demand for ground beef seemed to be what struck grocery stores right after cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

“Before this pandemic all started ground beef was $3.49 a pound in our store, that’s us buying it in, processing it and packaging it. It is up to $5.99 (so far) this week,” Taelar said.

“We’ve been told to expect another month of it going up before it starts to level off.”

“Three weeks ago to a month ago steak prices had plummeted because our restaurants were closed down. Now that they have opened back up even those have sky rocketed. Even the low cuts like chuck rolls and bottom rounds, those have doubled. Those are normally the cheap meats that people can cut roasts out of or grind if they want to. Chuck roasts are $7.50 a pound right now that’s two dollars higher than they had been.”

“We truly don’t know what to attribute it to. We don’t know if it’s because several different plants had shut down for a couple of weeks, when those beef plants that can kill 5,000 head a day shut down for two weeks, and that’s one plant… how many head of cattle don’t get processed. Then that’s how many pounds of chuck roasts and how many pounds of ground is that. Then the restaurants start to open back up and the plants are opening back up but the demand is so high that they aren’t producing enough for the restaurants.”

“I don’t know if it’s because people are having more kids home so they are needing to feed their families fairly inexpensive and something that’s versatile.”

They have a six person crew now with Roger Christianson and Herschel Foster packaging meats in the back with Clayton and Taelar. However, Taelar has been busy up front helping to take orders and assist customers along with D’Ann, Denise Christy and Emma Pendleton.

Along with the custom meat processing, their cheese and honey sales have picked up.

“Our retail meats in general have been selling very well,” Taelar said. “When this first started it was pretty slow. We are holding off on some of our products like summer sausage and salami is so high right now that we would have to raise the prices so high that no one would buy it.”

The high prices of ground beef will affect many area businesses. Post #9 announced that they will be postponing their hamburger nights due to the high prices and Mi Ranchito announced that they won’t be having Taco Tuesdays until prices go down.  

Table Top Meats is still taking custom orders daily and can book your processing orders. Call them for more details at (308) 487-5232 or stop by to check out what they have on hand at 815 Box Butte Ave in downtown Hemingford.

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