There is a new farm store in Lacey spring. This one is a little different. A tiny little shop, with the best cuts of meat you could ever want! It is only open one evening a week, so mark your calendars to make sure you don’t forget to drop on by!
If you want to support your local farmer instead of the big box stores, and want to know exactly where your food comes from and how it is raised, 5A Meats is the place to shop. We spoke with Lauren Arbogast to find out more about their new venture.
* Although the Arbogast family is well known throughout the community, please tell the readers a bit about the family, how long have they been in the area, and where are they from originally?
The Arbogast family originally came from West Virginia, around Circleville, in the 1950’s. They settled in the Lacey Spring area and raised range turkeys and beef cattle. Over the years, the farm grew in acres and evolved in diversity as they added turkey houses and no-till crop rotations. In the early 2000’s, as a new generation came back to the farm, the decision was made to build four new broiler houses and convert a remaining turkey house to broiler production and strategically increase the beef herd. As the years have passed and another generation is growing into the farm, it continues to grow and diversify to meet our and the community needs!
Arbogast Farms, which is the supplier for 5A Meats, is a family run operation with three generations currently working on the farm. Throughout the years, the farm has diversified, and each partner member brings passion and talents to the collective table. In addition to the beef cattle, the farm and partners also have broiler houses, crops, Precision Fence company, sheep, and a farrier business.
*Is selling meat products an offshoot of your beef operation? What inspired the family to start selling their own product themselves in the new little shop?
Our beef has been stocking our own freezers for years! We know the value and quality in fresh local beef, and wanted to offer that to our community. Selling our own product is also a way to diversify our offerings, as well as engage and equip the next generation.
*Does the next generation, the 5 Arbogast cousins, actively participate in the shop? Is it your hope that the kids will carry on the farming tradition in the future?
All of the kids actively participate in various roles in 5A Meats. From caring for the cattle all the way to checking out customers, the kids have each gravitated towards a piece of the business.
*Right now, 5A Meats is open one night a week. Do you plan to expand your hours?
The farm store is currently open on Thursdays from 5-7pm. However, if you can’t make it to the store during that time, reach out to us for a shopping appointment or delivery options!
*How has business been so far? Is your only marketing through social media and word of mouth?
We have enjoyed seeing the positive reaction from our community regarding the start of 5A Meats! Social media and word of mouth have been key to getting the business up and going. As a new, small business, we are still learning the ropes for sure, but we look forward to growing our customer base in the coming months and years.
*Do you feel your shop fills a niche- for people who want to support local, small businesses, and local farmers, and want to know exactly where their food comes from?
Agriculture is a wide range of opportunity that offers options for producers as well as consumers. All food starts with a farmer or rancher somewhere, and here in the U.S we are blessed with a diverse food supply which is able to cater to a variety of interests and incomes. The majority of our beef cattle from Arbogast Farms are harvested for larger groceries and restaurants, but that same product is available here with 5A Meats! We recognize the importance of each option in the food supply chain.
*Who created your “moo-ral”? Love it- and the idea of customers taking a selfie in front of it!
Our cow mural was created by local artist Kathleen Johnston out of Harrisonburg. It’s been a fun addition to the farm store!
*What products do you sell in the farm store?
We currently carry beef and eggs in the farm store. The beef is individually packaged and frozen, and the cuts and availability will vary slightly monthly. However, ground beef, steaks and roasts are staples! If customers are looking for a specific cut or piece – just ask! We will gladly look into getting that for them.
*If someone wanted to buy a whole cow, or portions, do you offer that option also?
We currently do not offer that option with 5A Meats. However, if a customer is interested in a bulk purchase, they can contact us and we will work with them on pricing and/or other options that best fit their needs.
*For people who have no idea where their food comes from (and there are a few out there!), talk a bit about the day to day, and what goes into raising the beef that makes it to the dinner table.
All of our beef cattle are born and raised here in Lacey Spring. We have two groups of cows, some that calve in the spring and others that calve in the fall. There’s a lot that goes into caring for a cattle herd through the yearly seasons, from maintaining pastures and rotations to growing and harvesting feed, to proactively caring for the health of the animals and land. Once a calf is born, it stays with its mother until weaning at about 8 months and 500-600 pounds. At that time the calves are eating grass completely and don’t need their mom anymore! They are moved into different pastures and offered all-natural feed that best supports their growing bodies. Think of it like growing teenagers, needing a healthy and balanced diet to grow into their potential! Once the calf is about 1300+ pounds, they are full sized and ideal for harvesting. The whole process takes about 18 months. There’s a lot of work that goes into a burger or steak!
*What is the address of 5A Meats farm store, and hours of operation?.
The farm store is located at 582 Lacey Spring Road, Rockingham VA 22802. Hours of operation are Thursdays from 5-7pm, or by appointment. We can be found on Facebook and Instagram. @5AMeats