Heffron Farms is just under 50 miles away from Lansing, but its new meat delivery service is set on closing that distance.
On Tuesday (Nov. 21), the farm made its weekly pilgrimage out to Lansing to deliver an ungodly amount of Thanksgiving turkeys. During standard weeks, the deliveries come in on Saturdays.
Owner Denny Heffron, whose family has owned the Belding-based farm for 102 years, launched the service earlier this month.
“We had people driving out from Lansing to our Grand Rapids locations, and we decided, ‘Hey, why don’t we take it to them?’ We wanted to bring naturally raised stuff — different than what you buy in the grocery store — directly to the consumer. We decided it would be free, with no strings attached,” he said.
Heffron Farms is the first local, independent farm to offer this kind of service in Greater Lansing. Yelloh, formerly Schwan’s Home Delivery, also delivers here, but it’s a national chain. Everything else is mail-order — and certainly not local.
In addition to the fresh and frozen turkeys of various weights, shapes and sizes that are currently on tap, Heffron Farms also delivers beef, pork, chicken, duck and lamb, with more options available by request.
“If somebody wants a special cut or wants it done a certain way, we can do it,” Heffron said. “We can do anything anybody wants.”
The farm’s roots go all the way back to the Civil War. Heffron’s family emigrated from Ireland in the mid-1800s. His great-great-grandfather arrived and enlisted in the Union Army so his five sons wouldn’t have to.
“He died during the war. Not from battle, but from a disease,” Heffron explained. “He was buried in a military cemetery in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In 1864, the family bought a new farm wagon, and two of his sons took two teams of horses and went down to retrieve his body so it could be buried here.”
The journey took 21 days. “We actually still have that wagon,” Heffron said.
One of those sons went on to purchase the land that would become the 4,000-acre Heffron Farms farmstead, where Heffron still lives today. From those humble origins arose a popular regional producer that always keeps 1,200 head of cattle on hand and now ships meats as far as San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“We ship all over, including to Florida and California, to people that lived here before and bought meat but have moved,” Heffron said.
Why go to such lengths when there’s more than enough demand within the Mitten?
“The customers love it, first of all, and that’s how you keep customers. The customers we deal with are wonderful people, what I call the cream of the crop of the consumer,” Heffron said.
Heffron Farms operates four markets in Michigan: two in Grand Rapids, one in Belding and another in Wyoming. Interested parties can call 616-794-2527 with any orders, questions or requests.
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