Little Idea, BIG Response

The Right Product at the Perfect Time

Scott and Sara Die-McElfresh have only been in direct beef sales since 2019, but they've already made a big impact. (Progressive Farmer photo by Becky Mills)

While experience may be the best teacher, there are times when enthusiasm and innovation get high marks, too.

Scott and Sarah Die-McElfresh have only been in the direct marketing business since 2019, but they have already made an impact.

Co-managers of Vista Farms, a purebred Angus operation, the couple has been selling beef to Fannie's, a cafe near their Fayette, Alabama, headquarters. They started advertising sales to the public on Valentine's Day 2020. Then came COVID-19.

"I saw the empty shelves in Walmart and thought we could help," says Sarah. The couple had just gotten five head processed in March, so they had the inventory. They came up with the idea of a drive-through sale.

"We did it on Saturday at the Farmer's Market in Fayette, Alabama, on April 11. We sold 5 pounds of ground beef for $20. We sold 830 pounds that day, most of it in an hour and a half," says Sarah. "It was a quick, clean exchange. They gave us $20 cash and we handed them a bag of five, 1-pound packages of ground beef."

The event advertised itself. A Tuscaloosa radio station found out about it beforehand through a referral from the state program "Sweet Grown Alabama." Then, a Tuscaloosa television station picked up on it. "We had people come from Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and across the line in Mississippi," Sarah reports. Better yet, many of the customers asked if they had other cuts available.

The McElfreshes gave them a price list, and Sarah says, "They've returned for more."