Market was built to provide farmers that supply Chipotle restaurants with new revenue streams in the face of COVID-19 challenges.
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Well, the same is true for carnitas. Niman Ranch is proud that for over two decades Chipotle has used our pork for their famous carnitas. And we’re even more proud today, now that Chipotle has launched their new Virtual Farmers’ Market, allowing Niman Ranch farmers to deliver their Certified Humane meat direct to home kitchens.
With COVID-19 disrupting restaurants across the country, many farmer suppliers were left in a bind. Farmers who had spent months or even years planning to produce enough food for their restaurant customers suddenly found themselves with no home for their fresh goods.
Thankfully, that was not the case for the Niman Ranch community of 750 independent farmers and ranchers. But we too had to adjust quickly. Thanks to our reputation and diverse customer base, we were able to balance out the portfolio with grocery store, butcher shop and online sales. This nimbleness was crucial in ensuring that every animal raised by a Niman Ranch farmer was brought to market.
To help support increased resilience among farmers now and in the future, Chipotle developed this new Virtual Farmers’ market for some of their long-term suppliers, including Niman Ranch. They provided technical expertise to build out the new platform and will be paying site management fees for the next three years.
“This new Virtual Farmers’ Market gives an opportunity for my farm, and hundreds of other small, sustainable farmers like me in the Niman Ranch network raising livestock humanely and without antibiotics, to remain sustainable and resilient through hard times,” said Kirsten Eckerman, Wisconsin farmer for Niman Ranch.