Business booms at online marketplace Crowd Cow as meat industry giants are hit hard by coronavirus – GeekWire

Crowd Cow delivers a variety of protein products direct to consumers. (Crowd Cow Photo)

As businesses across the nation have been left reeling from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, the Seattle-based startup Crowd Cow seems to have been checking all the necessary boxes in recent months to position itself to not only survive, but thrive.

While no one was really ready for a global pandemic, 5-year-old Crowd Cow has definitely been preparing its online meat marketplace for the opportunity to serve more people. With restaurants closed and the traditional meat processing industry buckling under the health crisis, Crowd Cow is two months into seizing on that opportunity.

“Our demand just skyrocketed overnight,” Crowd Cow co-founder Joe Heitzeberg said. “Everybody’s now home and you’re eating a home-cooked meal. You’re not going to restaurants. So all of that demand has found its way online for people looking to buy proteins and meats and other ingredients to cook at home.”

Initially launched by tech veterans Heitzeberg and co-founder Ethan Lowry as a crowdfunding platform of sorts for meat lovers, Crowd Cow has evolved considerably since its days of offering up one whole cow. That cow would be processed and shipped to buyers after all the cuts of beef were pre-purchased and the cow was “tipped.”

Crowd Cow
Tech veterans Joe Heitzeberg, left, and Ethan Lowry launched Crowd Cow in 2015. (GeekWire File Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Crowd Cow is now a full-fledged marketplace for a variety of proteins including beef, pork, chicken and seafood. The company partners with more than 100 farms and ranches across 23 states. Sustainably raised animals are processed by smaller regional operations and not the factory processing plants suffering through some of the scariest COVID-19 outbreaks.

Coronavirus Live Updates: The latest COVID-19 developments in Seattle and the world of tech

Orders are picked, packed and shipped from Crowd Cow fulfillment centers in Oregon and Pennsylvania and a third is set to open near St. Louis in June. The company of 90 people is hiring, revenue is up four times, and Crowd Cow — which has raised $25 million to date — is way ahead of its plan and looking at profitability by summer and thinking even bigger.

“We were just knocking on doors to get our first cow five years ago,” Heitzeberg said. “Now you can load up your [online] cart with whatever you want and get it on a regular basis.

“We were prepared — and I feel more lucky and grateful about that than to say, ‘Yeah we were ready for this,’” he added.

Crowd Cow launched five years ago by offering a limited supply of beef. The startup now offers beef, chicken, pork and seafood through a robust online marketplace. (Crowd Cow Photo)

Heitzeberg cited the good timing of raising a $15 million financing round last November; the recent launch of subscriptions so people can buy products more easily; and the addition of more everyday staples to get beyond premium “Friday night dinners” and offer meats with a price that is competitive to physical grocery stores.

“And our supply chain is very resilient because we don’t depend on the one that’s now falling apart,” Heitzeberg said of reports about the large poultry, pig and cattle processing plants hit with virus outbreaks. The inability of such facilities to shut down for an extended period or even practice social distancing has been blamed. There are fears of a meat shortage in grocery stores.

Citing a $200 billion a year industry, with 86 percent of the market controlled by four companies, Heitzeberg contrasts Crowd Cow’s “teeny tiny” operation against a picture of giant factories in which workers stand shoulder to shoulder processing meat.

“If they have to distance workers just to be minimally safe, that will reduce their production. It’s just math,” Heitzeberg said. “That’s the problem with that system. We don’t have that problem.”

For the people they work with and customers they serve, Crowd Cow views it as a chance to lean forward and demonstrate a simpler system that’s more environmentally sustainable, better for animal welfare, and better for local communities and farmers — and one that’s open for business.

Farms that normally sell to restaurants as well as Crowd Cow have needed the online operation now more than ever. And it’s the same for butcher operations they work with that also process meat for restaurants, casinos, hotel chains, and others — business went down severely.

Heitzebrg’s message was, “‘Keep doing what you do and we’ll just take more of it through our website.’”

Crowd Cow credits being based in Seattle, the early U.S. epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak, with helping it recognize the need to quickly address a variety of safety measures at its facilities. There are now COVID safety committees, dedicated staffers who do sanitization work all day, temperature checks, plexiglass dividers on lunch tables and more.

“Being really nimble, being a startup of our size we can move really really fast,” Heitzeberg said. “We’ve got a great team that is super excited about our position and super grateful that we have a job to do that’s more important than it ever was.”

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Strange 'space cow' explosion may have been the birth of a black hole – New Scientist

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A strange explosion in space, nicknamed “the Cow”, is becoming less mysterious

Alamy Stock Photo

A strange explosion in space is starting to reveal its secrets. In 2018, astronomers spotted an extraordinarily fast and bright explosion unlike anything we had ever seen before, and now they are starting to narrow down what could have caused it.

The explosion was given the official designation AT2018cow – a listing based on the alphabetical order of objects reported in the Astronomer’s Telegram – and nicknamed “the Cow”. It took just a few days to reach its peak brightness after it began to explode, …

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Tooele County Sheriff's Office investigating cow shot, killed in Stockton –

STOCKTON, Utah — A rancher found one of his cows shot to death in Stockton on Sunday morning.

CW Thompson told FOX 13 that he believes someone shot one of his cows from close range, potentially with a pistol. He dug the bullet out of the cow to be included as evidence in the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

“Beware there is somebody out there shooting cows,” Thompson warned on social media. “I found one of mine dead this morning. She also has a two month old calf that now has no mother.”

Thompson says he hasn’t experienced this personally before with one of his own cows.

Tooele County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to FOX 13 that they are investigating.

An officer said the cow was shot from close range with a pistol round.

Thompson says the cows are very friendly.

“You can ride your four wheeler or side by side right up to them and they will just stand there,” he said. “She was a young cow with a lot of life left, with a 2-month-old calf.

The bullet Thompson found is being sent in for ballistics testing, and the sheriff’s office is following up on leads.

Thompson says the cow is roughly worth $1,200. He is offering a $1,000 reward.

Anyone with information on the incident should contact the sheriff’s office non-emergency line at 435-882-5600.

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Cattle herd tramples woman, girl in Victoria – 9News

A woman and a young girl have been taken to hospital after being seriously injured in a bovine attack.

A herd of cattle trampled a woman in her 70s and a primary-school-aged girl at Freshwater Creek, near Geelong, in Victoria.

Two people have been injured in a cow attack near Geelong. (9News)

The girl suffered head, pelvic and arm injuries and was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

The woman is in a serious but stable condition at Royal Melbourne Hospital.

She is being treated for chest and back injuries.

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Will feeding silage to lactating cows give my calves scours? – Tri-State Livestock News

This article and other research-based beef news are available on, Nebraska Extension’s beef cattle production website. Interviews with the authors of BeefWatch newsletter articles become available throughout the month of publication and are accessible at

Many cow-calf producers in Nebraska have become accustomed to using distillers grains as a source of both protein and energy to help meet the nutritional needs of lactating cows from calving until green grass is available. Due to the ongoing distillers shortage, many producers are considering including corn silage in the ration to help alleviate some of the energy shortfall in their hay resources. However, concerns have been expressed that silage in the diet will result in diarrhea or scours in their calves.

While this is a critical time for the nursing calf, and producers should be ever vigilant for signs of scours, there are actually a variety of reasons a calf might have a very loose stool and not all of them are cause for concern.

Feeding a diet that is highly digestible and fermented, with a high rate of passage through the digestive system will result in manure that is much more wet and loose than manure from a diet of dry hay and supplemental distillers grains. In dairy cows, a high-energy diet has been shown to increase milk production earlier in lactation, and a similar response is likely in beef cows. Increased milk production early in the calf’s life will also likely result in a looser stool.

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Additionally, calves begin to nibble at grass and their mother’s feed within a few days of life, and by one month of age, are eating 1 percent of their body weight on a dry matter basis in feed other than milk. Therefore, they will begin to consume a diet that is responsible for a looser stool just like the cow does. However, dietary related scours do not cause illness and dehydration in the calf.

The health- and life-threatening causes of diarrhea in calves are commonly from a list of infectious pathogens that are shed at low levels by individuals in virtually any group of bovines. Most are viral or protozoal, and some are bacterial. These pathogens are picked up by calves, amplified, and shed at much higher levels into the environment, mainly in feces. Calves born later in the calving season are often born into environments that have much higher levels of these pathogens present than the earliest calves experienced, and as a result, the later-born calves are at higher risk of getting sick.

One method that many producers have been successfully implementing in Nebraska for years to break this chain of transmission is called Sandhills Calving. This method involves keeping cow-calf pairs with only calves born in the same one- to two-week period together until the youngest calves are at least a month old. This prevents amplification of pathogens from continuing to accelerate and provides a fresh start for each one- to two-week cohort of calves.

When cow-calf pairs are in pens in the spring, the calves need a clean, dry place to lie down. Usually, this needs to be somewhere that the cows can’t get into. It needs to be out of the wind. Shelter can be beneficial if the ventilation is adequate. Producers demonstrate a lot of creativity in designing and building simple, cost-effective calf shelters. Sometimes it can be as simple as an electric fence stretched diagonally across the corners of the pen, raised high so calves can go freely underneath, but the cows are fenced out. This allows calves an “escape” where they can lay in some clean dry straw or corn stover.

The best way to judge whether a calf with a loose stool needs treatment is by its attitude and appetite. If it is bright, alert, active and interested in eating, it is likely doing alright. If the calf is listless, moving slowly, ears drooping, and does not appear to be interested in eating or nursing, treatment is likely needed. One exception to that would be if there was blood in the feces. That should be treated quickly.

Fluid replacement is the cornerstone of treatment for scours, though antibiotics may also be necessary in certain situations. A calf that can stand may respond well to treatment with oral electrolytes, but a calf with diarrhea that won’t or can’t stand is very likely in dire need of intravenous fluid therapy. Your veterinarian can help you develop a plan for treating scours in calves if the need arises.

–UNL Extension

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No Cow Necessary: Here’s How to Make Plant-Based Milk – The New York Times

Here’s one thing that’s a lot harder to find in stores these days: alternative milks. Sales of oat milk, for example, recently jumped more than 350 percent as coffee shop regulars, cut off from their baristas, started making their brews at home.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need the grocery store milks. I’ve been experimenting around the pantry during quarantine, and one happy discovery I’ve made is that plant-based milks like soy, almond or oat milk are easy to make. And, they can help you cut down your personal carbon footprint.

“As consumers, we should be able to tell which milks are more and less sustainable so we can make informed choices,” said Joseph Poore, a researcher at the School of Geography and Environment at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

If you do want to dabble in alternative milk-making at home, follow this guide. They’re all pretty much made the same way, and don’t require any fancy equipment.

First, soak a cup of soy, almonds or oats in plenty of water overnight. Soy, especially, will grow two or three times in volume, so make sure you do this in a big bowl.

In the morning, use a colander to drain the water, and rinse the soy, almonds or oats. This is especially important if you’re using oats, to prevent the milk from getting slimy and glutinous.

Then put your soy, almond or oats in a blender, together with three cups of water, and blend for about two minutes. Thorough blending will maximize how much milk you can squeeze out. (You can experiment with the amount of water: I’ve made oat milk with both 1.5 cups and 3 cups of water. The cup-and-a-half version is far richer and tastier and probably better if you’re adding it to coffee — but it’s gone very quickly.)

Next, pour out the mixture into a clean cheesecloth — a dedicated “nut milk bag” makes this part really easy, and prevents any spills — and squeeze out the milk. And I mean squeeze and squeeze, until you get the last drops out.

Then, if you’re using soy or almonds, gently heat the milk, but stop before it reaches a boil. That’s common practice in Japan, because people there tend not to eat raw nuts. But I wouldn’t heat the oat milk, which can easily get slimy.

You can add a little sugar or maple syrup to any of the milks, to taste. It should keep in the fridge, covered, for about five days.

A couple of notes on the environmental footprint of alternative milks: Soy cultivation, especially, is a major driver of deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, and a large source of greenhouse gas emissions. But the bulk of that Amazon soy is exported to Asia and Europe as livestock feed, adding to the footprint of animal products.

And, yes, you will use water to make the milk, shifting the water and emissions associated with producing it from a factory to your home, possibly with some economies-of-scale losses.

The last thing to remember: Dairy contains nutrients, like calcium and protein, that are important for bone and muscle health. So take a look at your overall diet if you are going to limit or avoid dairy, to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients from other foods.

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Who let the cows out? Pandemic doesn't stop dairy farm's Pasture Day event – GazetteNET

<br /> Who let the cows out? Pandemic doesn’t stop dairy farm’s Pasture Day event<br />

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  • Neighbors watch as Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley releases its seven-month-old heifers into pasture for the first time on Tuesday.  STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Neighbors watch as Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley releases its seven-month-old heifers into pasture for the first time on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Neighbors watch as Barstow’s of Longview Farm in Hadley releases its seven-month-old heifers into pasture for the first time on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Neighbors watch as Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley releases its seven month old heifers into pasture for the first time on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Neighbors watch as Barstow’s of Longview Farm in Hadley releases its seven-month-old heifers into pasture for the first time on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer

Published: 5/12/2020 1:44:19 PM

HADLEY — Taking tentative and seemingly nervous steps, six heifers had a new experience awaiting them Tuesday morning as they jumped from a trailer into the pasture where they will be spending the next few months.

Only moments after their hooves hit the grass, though, the young cows were excitedly hopping and leaping about, running from one end to the other of the small field situated below Barstow’s Dairy Store and Bakery on Hockanum Road.

“It’s a fun day for them,” says Denise Barstow, marketing and education manager at the store, noting that it will be the first time the 7-month-old heifers have been able to consume grass, now that they are old enough for their digestive systems to move beyond just a grain and feed diet.

Normally part of an annual celebration known as Barstow’s Pasture Day, held on the first Saturday of May, the cows’ first foray into a field also marks the beginning of the warm weather season, when the field is dry and the grass is long enough to sustain them, with some feed, until they become pregnant.

But unlike a typical year that would bring visitors to the hillside overlooking the pasture, with families laying out blankets and enjoying ice cream, the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing mandates prompted the Barstows to hold the event without advance fanfare and visitors.

The six heifers are among 600 cows, 300 of which are milking cows, at Barstow’s Longview Farm, which has been in operation since 1806 and is now run by the sixth- and seventh-generation farmers.

Though spectators couldn’t be part of the event, Barstow did a Facebook Live video, which she began by placing a yellow lei around a cow statue that greets people at the store and then talked to viewers who could stream and watch.

The event comes at a time when dairy farms throughout the region have had to change practices due to lower demand for dairy products, caused in part by the closing of schools and college campuses during the pandemic.

“It’s definitely been very stressful and sad,” Barstow said.

Barstow’s is one of 850 farms that is part of the Agri-Mark Cooperative and the Cabot brand.

She said Barstow’s has taken a series of steps to decrease production so that milk has not been dumped.

Though ​​​​​​only family could be on hand for Pasture Day, Annalise Kieley, farm relations specialist for New England Dairy, participated to help the organizations find new homes for dairy products and support endeavors that promote locally produced milk.

Kieley said one way that Barstow’s has been helping is through its participation in the Give A Gallon program, supplying milk to food banks.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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