NewsCommunityVista SemanalLocal


Local meat prices rise due to COVID-19 plant closures

Posted at 5:11 PM, May 11, 2020

Putting meat on the dinner table is getting a bit more expensive.

At Arroyo Grande Meat Company in the village, marinated tri-tip is up around $2/lb making it $10.99/lb.

"I fought it for as long as I could because I had a little bit of back stock," explained owner Henry Gonzalez.

Now, most everything will cost you more: briskets, boneless chucks, prime ribs, and pork.

However, customers say they understand.

"I follow the news. I totally get it," said Bill Kaida. "All the distributors are having problems with COVID and we're all trying to be careful with COVID and I understand prices have gone up as a result of that."

"My supplier, can't supply me because their supplier, can't supply them and they can't do it because many of them are affected directly by the disease and so they've been shutting down plants," Gonzalez said.

The popular tri-tip sandwiches also went from $11 to $13.

"My heart just aches at that but the price of tri-tip has skyrocketed for me," Gonzalez said.

Chicken is another one.

"I run out of chicken constantly so I order it but it doesn't come in so I'm trying to do as much as I can with what I can do," Gonzalez explained.

Some customers are now turning to fish instead of their typical go-to's.

"Today, I scored some fresh salmon that Henry turned me on to. Never tried it. Usually I'm into the chicken, his ground chuck or his tri-tip," Kaida said.

While it's not clear how long this will last, Gonzalez says he thinks the solution is the Prime Act which will essentially loosen restrictions.

"It would enable people to bypass corporation from corporation and that funnel and go direct to the farmer or rancher," Gonzalez said.

But even during trying times, loyal customers are here to support local business.

"That goes on the BBQ tonight and I'm sure, I'm going to enjoy it," Kaida said.

According to the CDC, 19 states across the U.S. reported outbreaks in their meat processing plants with nearly 5,000 COVID cases and 20 deaths.