Do you know Kyla Byers? If not, maybe you should! She’s been working to bridge the gap between local producers and the chefs who want their products. After taking over where locavores like “Delicious” Dave Thorne and chef Rob Kinneen left off, she has been diligently expanding Arctic Harvest Deliveries since 2014.
Suzanna Caldwell reports for the ADN:
So far Byers has worked to get vegetables into 30 restaurants in Southcentral, with an eye on trying to get local meat into them, too, though it has been much more slow going, Byers said, with just a handful of restaurants in the area buying from her.
Amy Seitz, executive director of the Alaska Farm Bureau, said middlemen like Byers are a good place to start as the Alaska meat industry continues to grow.
Current production of meat product is small and large food distributors need larger quantities if they’re going to sell it to restaurants. Herds could start to grow, though. Seitz said she thinks the privatization of McKinley Meat and Sausage Plant should provide more stability to farmers after years of constant threat of shutdown. In her opinion, now farmers can feel more confident investing in livestock knowing there will be a place to have the animals slaughtered and receive the USDA stamp required to sell all meat commercially.