By Kristi Strain
I recently read an article from Sustainable Connections, and the question was asked, “Why Buy Local?” The article stated that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, more of your money is used to buy from other local farms and business.
I worked for Petit Jean Meats when I was in College several years ago, and I began working for them again last year, and for me, it is a perfect fit. Petit Jean Meats not only represents delicious ham, bacon and lunch meat but we provide jobs locally, and we are excellent partners in our community. What is amazing is that Petit Jean has been doing all these things for 90 years! My time spent between college and now was in a restaurant, a conference center, and a catering business. I have had the pleasure of feeding thousands of people. My Mom taught me from a very young age that quality is always the key. I have catered all over Arkansas and a few times in surrounding states and people know Petit Jean Meats.
So now, as I work in sales and marketing for Petit Jean Meats, I am proud to walk into a prospective client knowing that we are the best in the business, and we are local. Just as the article stated, locally owned businesses want to work with a locally owned business. Recently, I had the pleasure of filming a few of my favorite rice recipes with Ralston Family Farms. While we were shooting, we were laughing about having neighbors in the country. In the country, your neighbors might be ten to fifteen miles away or more. Ralston Family Farms and Petit Jean Meats are country neighbors!
Like Petit Jean Meats, the Ralston Family also works very hard to provide a quality product. When we first toured their facility, the cleanliness amazed me. Meaning when you think of milling something you think there would be a lot of “dust” but that was not true here. They have state of the art equipment, and it is very interesting how the whole process works. What also amazed me is they grow all the varieties of rice here locally, and they can tell you what field your rice came from and when it was harvested. Some people may not be interested in this; however, the people that do want to know are quickly gaining in numbers.
Growing up you always heard “you are what you eat.” Petit Jean Meats provides tasty lean proteins, and Ralston Family Farms provides yummy whole grains that are sustainable. So, for me buying local means, I am supporting my neighbors, I am strengthening my community, and I am aware of what I am consuming.