Saturday, December 16, 2017
Business

Zaycon Foods sells fresh meat in bulk and delivers it by the truckload

This Easter, Liza Ford and her family plan to feast on ham bought out of the back of a truck.

She knows it will be tasty and juicy, just as it was at Christmas. And it will cost significantly less than if she went to a supermarket or specialty store.

Ford buys her meat from Zaycon Foods, a company that delivers fresh meat, fish and other products in bulk at wholesale prices. Customers buy the food online and pick it up by the case at designated sites, typically at churches and other places with big parking lots. Most items come in 40-pound cardboard boxes.

"It's a great way to save money,'' said Ford, who lives in New Port Richey and has written about the company on her blog, addictedtosaving.com. "It's not as pretty as if you go to the grocery store and buy it, but it's high quality and fresh.''

Brandon Berezay and JC Conrad started the company in 2010 in Washington, fusing parts of their name to create Zaycon. Conrad was working as a butcher in a grocery store and wanted to try selling meat in large quantities. He posted a notice at the cash register to gauge interest and got a huge response.

Zaycon initially focused on the Northwest but, as word spread, expanded nationwide in 2011. The company has made about a dozen shipments to the Tampa Bay area in the past year and a half, including stops in Clearwater, New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Each truck carries about 25,000 pounds of meat, usually a single kind, from boneless, skinless chicken breasts to ground beef, catfish and chicken tenders. Trucks come directly from government-approved farms to prearranged pickup sites, where volunteers, who get paid in meat, load cases into people's trunks.

"Our customers love the experience,'' said Mike Conrad, the founder's brother who now runs the company with his cousin Adam Kremin. "People have told me, 'I feel dirty. I just bought a box of chicken out of a truck parked in a bowling alley. But it's the best chicken I've ever had.' ''

The typical time from slaughter to sale is two to six days, much shorter than traditional brick and mortar stores, he said. Food comes fresh, not frozen, and buyers have to cut it into smaller portions and separate it into bags if they want to freeze it.

Zaycon goes to areas where enough customers request it. Shoppers must register online to get email alerts about deliveries headed their way. All products are sold and paid for two to four weeks in advance; no one can buy once the truck arrives. If someone misses a pickup time, Zaycon will credit the order for a future purchase.

Zaycon works with various farms to get the best deals possible. Chicken, for example, runs $1.49 to $1.89 a pound, cheaper than most store sale prices. It's all-natural, but not organic, meaning it's not injected with other ingredients, even water and salt. Much of the poultry sold locally comes from Sanderson Farms in Mississippi and House of Raeford Farms in North Carolina.

Ford has two freezers at her home in New Port Richey to store all the meat she buys from Zaycon. At first, she didn't like having to handle the raw chicken, draining the juices and trimming the fat, but now she considers it worth her time. She and her husband can live off 40 pounds of chicken for a long time, without ever having to pay full price.

Susan Thurston can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 225-3110.

Comments
Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsidies of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Updated: 12/16/17
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Pigs can be therapy animals too. So can horses and rats and cats and llamas and … (w/video)

Shrieks of laughter echoed off the walls of the hospital as Thunder the mini pig flopped onto his side and the children huddled around him, scratching his pink, hairy belly. He and his wet-nosed partner, Bolt, drew patients in wheelchairs and bandage...
Published: 12/15/17
Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

Vology landlord challenges property tax assessment

LARGO — Eight months after paying $10.15 million for the office building that houses IT services company Vology, a New York company is suing the Pinellas County Property Appraiser and Florida Department of Revenue contending its $5.5 million tax asse...
Published: 12/15/17
Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

Florida’s $1.1 billion Hardest Hit Fund winding down after some hard knocks

In 2010, Florida was in the throes of an unprecedented housing crisis. One in every eight homes was in some stage of foreclosure. Today, the foreclosure rate is one in every 83. Because of that enormous drop, Florida’s Hardest Hit Fund will s...
Published: 12/15/17
Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change

By ELAINE KURTENBACHTOKYO — Global inequality has stabilized at high levels in recent years, a report said Friday, despite gains among the poor in China and much milder disparities in incomes and wealth in Western Europe. The World Inequality Report ...
Published: 12/15/17
How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shake up Hollywood

Associated Press NEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one ...
Published: 12/15/17
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Published: 12/15/17
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Published: 12/14/17