By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As restaurants have had to adjust to a new normal, so have food producers and suppliers.

With doors closed and more carry-out and curbside services, meat suppliers are forced to change their business models as well.

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“I always like to say I was raised on limousine beef since the time we could walk,” Andy Peterson said.

For five generations Peterson Craft Meats near Osceola, Wis. has been supplying ground beef, roasts and steaks to businesses in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Before COVID-19, some months as many as 90 Twin Cities restaurants would buy their meat.

“It was kind of a jolt to the system for them as much as us. Basically everything shut down at once — it wasn’t a gradual decrease,” Andy said.

It’s forced the Peterson’s to pivot, but with that comes a new type of business.

“We developed an online store. We ramped up our online presence and social media,” Andy said.

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“It was like, this was a goal but now it really has to be a goal, things are changing,” Ryan Peterson said.

The biggest change is home deliveries. Instead of people going to restaurants and grocery stores, the Peterson’s are bringing their product to them. They now do deliveries during the week, and recently started shipping “Butcher Boxes” to people across the country. A woman in Long Island, N.Y. has become a customer.

“She was like this is awesome, they have had to stand in line and they are limiting food,” Andy said.

For the Peterson’s, home is where the herd is. They know they are fortunate to have flexibility. The silver lining may be that new relationships come out of a new normal.

“It just allows people to pull the curtain back and really see,” Ryan said.

“My hope for a pivot for society is that people will think about it and try and connect with the farmer, other growers, their producer, maybe more than they ever have,” Andy said.

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The Peterson’s also have meat pick-ups on their farm on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, where people can pick up beef, pork and lamb.

John Lauritsen