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Chester County couple uses new online farmers market to grow small business



CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. Local Charlotte News – A husband and wife team in Chester County recently quit their successful careers to take care of hundreds of cows and pigs on a local farm. The duo does not actually own the farm, but it’s leased out to them to take care of.

The couple started this new venture in the middle of the pandemic and have proven successful by starting their own small meat business.

Emily and John Barnes are responsible for about 600 acres, 100 pigs and 250 cows. Raising the animals fell into the lap of the couple a little over one year ago.

“I used to work as a pharmacist full time, then part-time and now I work full time on the farm,” said Emily.

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Full time on the farm means sun up, to sundown.

“40 hours a week would be a dream. Farming is definitely full-time, plus,” said Emily.

Right now, you could say the duo is working overtime. Fall is considered the busy season with many of the cows ready to welcome a new one into the world.

“So we had a calf born last night about 12:30 and then this morning I woke up again at 6:00, got a cup of coffee and did kind of a morning routine,” said John

The daily routine is usually the same with feedings and cleanings, except once a week when John and Emily travel to Charlotte. Once in the Queen City they drop off meat orders made through their business, Bravo Steaks.

A company called Market Wagon operates a warehouse near the airport. A team of workers inside that warehouse help deliver meat and other farm products right to customers’ front porch.

“It’s like the efficiency and the logistics, they’ve got that part figured out delivering to counties in Charlotte and all around Charlotte,” said Emily.

9 counties around the Queen City are within the delivery range, opening up more than 2 million potential customers.

“The ability to raise meat and basically have our neighbors consume it and get a nutritious meal out of it brings great joy to us and keeps everything right here in our backyard,” said John.

The majority of the orders are made through the Bravo Steaks website and the Market Wagon takes it from there handling everything else once John and Emily drop off the orders.

John and Emily say they started this business as the pandemic took hold of the nation, causing meat shortages at local grocery stores. They wanted to bring customers an option that kept meat local and in stock.

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