Lately, it’s hard to turn on the news without hearing about the meat industry. From shortages and limitations, to fear of safety and quality issues, it’s hard to know what to trust and expect. At Farmhouse Delivery, our mission is to put you directly in touch with the source – bypassing these problems by connecting with local farmers and ranchers.
To shed some light on our process, we sat down with the man behind our meat sourcing, Tony Briones, to get an inside look. In this interview, Tony talks about how he chooses our ranchers, how he finds quality products, and even provides a sneak peak at new items coming to the marketplace soon.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, who you are, and what do you do for Farmhouse?
My name is Tony Briones and I was born and raised in the Texas Gulf Coast. I grew up spending the majority of my time outdoors; fishing, riding bikes, exploring our coastal communities. In 2016, I moved to Central Texas with my soulmate and soon-to-be wife Lynsie to continue exploring our interests in the outdoors, the refreshing springs, and all of the amazing food in the surrounding area. After only three months of being in Austin, we discovered Farmhouse Delivery and started our journeys with the company the very next day. We were welcomed by kind, warm-hearted, and determined people who were focused on getting local food to people’s doorstep, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! Over the last 4 years, I have been given the opportunity to do a little bit of everything; controlling quality of products for our customers, packing customer orders with our team of local food experts, visiting farms & ranches far and wide through the state of Texas. I like to believe I have settled into my life-work now with the opportunity provided by Farmhouse Delivery; sourcing, foraging, vetting, and creating close knit supply chains of wholesome Texas sourced meats from small ranches and farms directly to the consumer’s home.
As our Local Meat Specialist, what kind of things do you look for in a rancher partner and/or product?
As the Farmhouse Delivery Meat Buyer, the first thing I am looking for is a farm or ranch in close proximity to our market. This ensures a short distance traveled for the final product to reach the end consumer. We seek partners who practice pasture raised and unrestricted access to the outdoors, hormone, steroid, antibiotic free, and humane handling of livestock to increase health benefits, environmental benefits, and a stress free life for animals.
What is different about our meat buying process than the regular grocery stores?
The difference in our sourcing and buying of meats is our attention to customers desires, investing in partners and products that create a net positive impact for our customers and planet , and our close knit relationships that are managed weekly if not daily to troubleshoot any and all problems to bring a wholesome final product to customers at a competitive price.
What are some things people may not be aware of or should look for when they are buying meat?
When buying meat, you should never hesitate to ask questions. The source, practices, and quality of the meat you decide to purchase should be extremely transparent, trustworthy, and make you feel good about making that decision time and time again. When sourcing meats for my family, I invest in products that are regeneratively raised (do some research, regeneratively raised animals are going to save our planet), recently processed and packaged, and 100% pasture raised animals that have the opportunity to partake in their natural behavior.
Is there anything you can tell customers concerned about the US meat shortage or meat safety?
If you are concerned about meat shortages at the local grocer and across the US, you should take the opportunity to start a relationship with a farm or ranch in your community, the mom and pop farm stand, or a local grocery distributor, and get to know more about what they do, why they do it, and what a difference it can make for their local community.
One of my favorite cuts we offer at Farmhouse Delivery is the whole chicken. I love the whole chicken for its diversity; simply cut chicken in 8 pieces for fried chicken night, spatchcock and dry rub or marinade for indirect grilling or smoking, or cook whole in an instant pot with tons of herbs and butter and root vegetables to go over quinoa. Another favorite would be our Flying Pig Provisions Ol Hickory Smoked Bacon. It is hand cured for 7 days and smoked with Texas Oak; something about the slight sweetness of the maple syrup and smokiness from long hours in a smoker create this match made in heaven.
Texas sourced Wild Boar. Our wild boar is tested regularly for parasites and disease to ensure a safe and sustainable option for our customers (this is traditionally a huge concern with your average consumer due to stigmas of them being “dirty animals”). Purchasing wild boar meat from Texas is perhaps the most flavorful solution to environmental degradation in the state of Texas. This wild boar is harvested from invasive free range animals that cause over $2.5 billion dollars in annual damage. With numbers at around 5 million, these feral pigs represent the last species of truly wild land animals that can be harvested to feed a growing human population. Leaner in composition and more flavorful than farmed pork, our wild pigs are rich in flavor and guaranteed to become your new favorite meat.
Do we have any new upcoming products that customers can get excited about?
Of course we do! We have some certified awesome duroc pork tenderloin and baby back ribs due to land the first week of June. We’re working really hard to introduce a staple Dai Due & Farmhouse Delivery sausage. Our fish program is almost ready to launch with some exciting options rotating seasonally like Yellowfin Tuna, Yellow Edge Grouper, American Red Snapper, and Ruby Trout to name a few. And, Force of Nature is back with 3 awesome new products to choose from; Regenerative Ground Bison, Bison Ancestral Blend, and Bison & Bacon Patties!