ELM GROVE — At Kettle Range Meat Co., closing during the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't an option with customers and farmers counting on them.
"A lot of our relationships with farmers require us to work every week. Our customers depend on us, so we didn't want to close down. We were very deliberate and very cautious about it, but we've managed to stay open the whole time," Mark Bearce, owner of Kettle Range, said.
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Well aware of the struggles smaller farms were about to face, Bearce didn't think twice about keeping his business on State St. opened.
"The Wisconsin farmers are in a good position and a bad position. They are producing plenty of beef and chicken, but they are having a really hard time finding a place to take it. Because there is not a lot of small packing houses," Bearce said.
Kettle Range has taken charge, packing meat themselves, or helping other packing houses in the area get in touch with farmers.
"Our relationship has been mutually beneficial. We've been able to help them in a time of need, and they've been able to keep us steadily supplied with good, fresh, local meat," Bearce said.
This butcher shop doesn't just offer fresh cuts. With a full culinary staff, Kettle Range offers a variety of prepared meals for couples or families at affordable prices.
"It's been a big hit. With so many people at home and so many people sorta stretched with creativity and what to do for family meals, they have been extremely popular," Bearce said.
Staying true to their mission to keep products local, the community has responded by helping Kettle Range and farmers survive this pandemic.
"We always choose something from Milwaukee first if we kind find the right quality. Then we'll choose something from the state of Wisconsin, something from the region. And only if we exhaust all those possibilities will we look elsewhere," Bearce said. "It's been great. Our public and our customers have been fantastic."
Kettle Range Meat Co. is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. They also have a second location in on Watertown Plank Rd. in Elm Grove.