Thursday, April 19, 2018
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
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

The St. Pete Pier takes another step forward

ST. PETERSBURG — Development of the city’s long-awaited pier advanced another step Thursday.The City Council approved a $15 million construction contract and additional money to design a waterside restaurant, build a playground and ferret out naming ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering free rides on Su...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Wells Fargo said to be target of $1 billion fine

Federal regulators are poised to impose a $1 billion penalty on Wells Fargo for a number of alleged misdeeds, including forcing customers to buy auto insurance policies that they didn’t need, according to people briefed on the regulatory action. The ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schrager will have...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as CEO

CLEARWATER — A longtime IBM executive is becoming the new leader of Tampa Bay’s largest public company. Tech Data on Thursday named Richard "Rich" Hume as its new CEO effective June 6. Hume joined Tech Data two years ago and is currently the chief op...
Updated: 10 hours ago
LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

LA Fitness tones up Hillsborough location

When LA Fitness on West Hillsborough Ave. reopens mid-summer, it will have undergone a $5 million renovation and a complete transformation. Closed since November 2017, the 10-year-old facility was completely torn down and is still undergoing construc...
Published: 04/19/18
Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

Kids have fun and gain coding skills at Code Ninja in Westchase

A new program that teaches coding to kids is coming to the Tampa Bay area. Code Ninjas is a Houston-based franchise that is opening its first location in Westchase in early May. There are plans for other centers in Carrollwood, South Tampa, New Tampa...
Published: 04/19/18
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Published: 04/19/18