Episode 022: One-on-One with Crowd Cow Co-Founder Ethan Lowry
This episode of the BBQ Beat Podcast features Crowd Cow co-founder Ethan Lowry and myself talking about the company’s origins and the manner by which it is making buying beef online direct from family farms convenient and simple. Whether you’re looking for all grass fed, pastured and grain finished, or even A5 Kobe beef direct from Japan, there’s a chance Crowd Cow has something of interest to offer you. I think you’re really going to find this episode interesting. Here are some details on what you’re in for…
Crowd Cow – The Business… an Introduction
Meet the Farmer – Working with Crowd Cow from a Farmer’s Perspective
You can see from these videos that Crowd Cow’s business model offers a positive impact on farmers and consumers interested in an alternative way to buy high quality beef. Like any business, there have and will continue to be challenges and hiccups. I think Ethan is pretty up front about some of the ways he and Joe have had to grow their own business practices along the way.
In the end, it’s just cool.
I spent most summers around people who raise beef for a living on small-scale Angus farms in Virginia. I know what it takes to do what they do from a time and effort perspective, and I know that making a profit without cutting corners can be a real challenge. Crowd Cow has definitely caught the interest of local farmers, and I thought it would interest you to know about them, too.
Buying Locally Source Beef Used to Be Hard… and Now it’s Not
Time was not long ago that finding a reliable source for locally produced beef was a little bit of a challenge – involving trips to a farmer’s market or connecting with a friend of a friend who might know someone with beef to sell.
Sites like Eat Wild are useful as resources for pointing people interested in buying meat and produce from family farms in the right direction, but there is always a decent bit of leg work required on the part of consumers (going to the farms, meeting up at “not so local” pick up spots, etc.
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But what if you just want a specific cut or selection of cuts of beef? What if you want just say, 6 to 10 lbs of beef rather than an entire side? Who has the freezer space for that?
This Brings us to Crowd Cow. Originated by co-founders Ethan Lowry and Joe Heitzeberg, Crowd Cow lets you buy the cuts and quantity of beef you want direct from a farm with the ease of ordering online, delivered straight to your door. Founded in 2015, the company is building a considerable network of local farmers who are starting to appreciate having a new sales channel open to them.
The Crowd Cow Buying Experience
Ethan goes into great detail about the Crowd Cow buying experience in the interview below. But suffice it to say, it’s pretty straight forward.
Simply go to the Crowd Cow website, sign up, and look to see what’s “On the Block.” The beef for sale at any given time is done so via shares that are parsed out into various cut selections.
The image above shows you what is currently “on the block” – in this case 100% grass fed and finished Angus-Hereford Cross beef from Hat Creek, California. Other times, it might be grass-fed/grain-finished, Kobe beef from Japan, etc.
I like that you get to learn a good bit about the farms each “cow” is coming from. There’s usually a few photos of the farm operation, some background about the family’s farming history, information about the breed of beef you’re buying, etc.
Time to pick your share(s)…
The image you see above gives you an idea of the various cut selections or “shares” you will find on Crowd Cow. What you see here from left to right are just a sampling of the various shares you will see per animal sold:
- Glorious Grill Share
- Tri-Tip Share
- Flank Steak Share
When all of the shares have been purchased, the cow “tips.” At this point, the sales are processed and the cuts, having already been dry aged for flavor, are shipped out to buyers.
For a more in-depth understanding of what Crowd Cow is all about, give a listen to my interview with Ethan, here…
Listen to My Talk with Ethan Lowry of Crowd Cow Here!
More Reading on Crowd Cow and Contact Info
- Grist.org: Online startup Crowd Cow wants to disrupt the meat market. The stakes have never been higher.
- GeekWire.com: Crowd Cow takes its crowd-funding beef business national, opens up delivery across the U.S.
- Forbes.com: How Crowd Cow Is Bringing Artisanal Beef From Farm To Table
- Other articles available here.
About the Show
The BBQ Beat Podcast, hosted by Kevin Sandridge, shares all that’s good in competition and backyard BBQ and grilling. Guests include competition BBQ pitmasters, food industry insiders, BBQ and grilling product manufacturers, and event promoters from the US as well as abroad. If you love BBQ and have an appreciation for southern culture and live-fire cooking – this is the podcast for you.
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- BBP 016: Catching up with Mark Graham and Shane Draper of Grilla Grills
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