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Where Food Comes From Market: ‘More than just a store’

For the last 30 years, the animal sciences department has sold meat to students and community members alike. This April, it finally inaugurated its official store, Ram Country Meats: Where Food Comes From Market, bringing jobs, experience, opportunities and meat to the community.

The store provides many opportunities for students looking to get more out of their college experience. 

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“It’s an opportunity to interact with customers, and it’s an opportunity to learn a little bit more about some basics of meat cuts and different types of meats,” said Robert Delmore, animal sciences professor and faculty member at Where Food Comes From.

The store always has a wide variety of meats and cuts that come directly from students and from projects taking place in class, which in turn come from the community. The meat offered either comes from Colorado State University’s animals or from local businesses selling the animals. 

One week, the class might focus on a certain animal. The next, its focus could change. 

“If you have a class and this week they’re processing beef, then you’re going to sell beef,” Delmore said. “Then next week if they’re processing lamb, you’re going to sell lamb. Much of the product that we sell here is product that we produce here. Some of it we buy from outside and process it as part of the different activities inside.”

Delmore said the store does its best to market the products customers want, and although the model is a little different than that of a traditional grocery store, it is producing products that are part of educational activities.

The first purpose (of the store) is always for education. Supermarkets have one objective, and their objective is for business. Ours has multiple objectives, and learning and education are right at the top.” -Robert Delmore, Where Food Comes From faculty member

But how exactly does this model compare to a traditional grocery store?

“The first purpose (of the store) is always for education,” Delmore said. “Supermarkets have one objective, and their objective is for business. Ours has multiple objectives, and learning and education are right at the top.”

While the prices at Ram Country Meats may be slightly higher than prices at traditional supermarkets, Delmore said he believes the value found at this store makes up for it. 

It is one of the reasons why Ram Country Meats has such loyal customers, Delmore said.

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“We have a group of people who have been buying meat products from us, (and) probably a couple hundred people come weekly,” Delmore said. “We’re marketing our products as part of an educational component, and people realize that, and that’s one of the reasons they like to participate.”

And customers love the meat. 

“I love it here,” said Nathan Scott, community member and frequent customer at Where Food Comes From. “The meats are delicious, at a fair price and it’s fresh. You know that what you get here is exactly what you think.”

Scott said the store is better than supermarkets. The staff is friendly, they know exactly what they are talking about and the store frequently offers sales that result in good deals.

When comparing the store to supermarkets, Ed Guedmanna, another community member and frequent customer, saw more value at CSU. 

“It’s always better quality,” Guedmanna said.

It’s very educational, and it’s given me a lot of hands-on experience with learning different kinds of meats. I want to be well-rounded on all aspects of agriculture, and it’s very good for that.” -Savanah Maki, sophomore animal sciences major

Delmore argues Where Food Comes From Market is more than a store. Rather, it’s a place to help students develop their abilities, expand their knowledge and experience growth that will benefit them in their future careers.

“The things that they learn working, interacting with people, answering questions, talking about needs the customers have, deliveries and all those skill sets they develop help them in other places,” Delmore said.

Employees also value the experience the store gives them.

“It’s very educational, and it’s given me a lot of hands-on experience with learning different kinds of meats,” said Savanah Maki, a sophomore animal sciences major. “I want to be well-rounded on all aspects of agriculture, and it’s very good for that.”

While Where Food Comes From Market may seem like a normal meat store, Delmore said the hidden value it carries is what truly makes it special. 

“At the end of the day, everything that we do is surrounded (by) and surrounds education,” Delmore said. “It’s about benefiting students in the classroom — students that are learning and working in the meat lab and creating opportunities for students.”  

Gerson Flores Rojas can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @GersonFloresRo1.

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