Locally-sourced meat still available amid national shortage concerns

EASTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — One of the big industries impacted by the coronavirus crisis is the meat industry, leading to shortages at many grocery store chains.

However, butchers in western Massachusetts we spoke to said their locally-sourced supply is still available.

“People have gone from buying their meat on a philosophical basis to it’s become more practical to buy your meat locally,” said Vincent Corsello, owner of Corsello Butcheria in Easthampton.

Corsello Butcheria is locally-owned, operated, and supplied and since the coronavirus crisis began, Corsello said he’s seen a sharp spike in business.

Initially, it was because of a wave of support for local business, but now, it’s largely due to the national meat shortage.

“If they have to shut down, even for a few days, it’s this huge back up, right? So, the farmers can’t bring their animals to processing, employees can’t work, and the supply chain starts to break down really quickly,” Corsello noted.

He said customers are frustrated with the lack of supply and increased prices at grocery store chains.

“So the meat that’s in the grocery stores is going up. The prices are ballooning because there is this anticipated shortage. It’s not that the shortage is actually here yet,” said Corsello.

Even with the increase in customers, they told Western Mass News they’ve actually been able to keep up with the demand because of their local farmers.

All of their meat comes from a 40-mile radius from farms in towns like Sunderland, Whately, and Ashfield – something that will help keep their prices low.

“The real beauty about local meat is that I am still connected with my farmers.  I mean, unless they need, from market forces let’s call it, need to go a higher price, my prices are going to stay the same. They’re not gonna go up because we’re connected locally. What happens in Nebraska won’t impact what’s happening here,” Corsello said.

As for how long this meat shortage could last, he said it largely dependent on how the virus develops, but Corsello’s hope is that in the end, it will help change the future of meat industry, with consumers mentality shifting to buying local.

“I don’t have a crystal ball. I would like to think it changes everybody’s attitude, but we will see. We will hope for the best,” Corsello noted.