Our Efficient Shipping Model


We've done the homework to prove that this cooler has a smaller carbon footprint than your car. To be exact, it's at least 14.2 times more efficient! 

Tendergrass Farms serves as an efficient link between rural farmers and a growing number of geographically diverse grass fed meats consumers across our country. By utilizing ultra-efficient tractor-trailer transport we have created a system by which we are able to deliver meats to our customers’ doorsteps using significantly less fossil fuels than the amount that would be used if even the customers who live relatively close to the farms that grow our meats were to drive to those farms to pick their meats up.

The Logistics

Once they're butchered, packaged, and frozen at one of our humane butcher facilities in either VA or NC, our meats go through the following steps before reaching the customer’s home:
1.       The palletized meats are picked up at the processing facility by a tractor trailer.
2.      The tractor trailer then makes several additional stops to load more pallets from other companies to maximize efficiency before heading westward to our central shipping facility in Hastings, NE.
3.      When the palletized meats arrive at the Tendergrass shipping facility in Nebraska the meats are stored until needed to fill orders.
4.      Orders are then packed with dry ice and picked up by a FedEx tractor trailer, sorted at a regional facility, and shipped via FedEx Ground tractor-trailers along with thousands of other packages to the destination town or city where the customer resides.
5.      Finally, the package is loaded onto a smaller local FedEx home delivery vehicle along with hundreds of other packages and delivered to the customer’s home.

Why Hastings?

By shipping from a facility in the middle of our country almost all Tendergrass orders are able to be shipped via FedEx Ground. As you can see in the map below, only a few small areas in the U.S. cannot be reached within 3 days of transit time which means that we can have an order in Seattle, Miami, New York, or Los Angeles all within three days transit time. This means that only a small percentage of our orders require the much more expensive and less efficient FedEx Air service.
Originally we tried shipping our orders from one of our founding partner farms near Roanoke, VA. Unfortunately, however, that meant that all orders for customers located west of approximately Houston, TX had to have their orders shipped via Air which was extremely costly and much less fuel efficient.
This map shows the areas that we are able to ship to in one (pink), two (blue), and three (orange) days’ transit time from Hastings, NE. Only the areas in green currently require FedEx Air service.


An Example Order

When we first created this model we knew that it was very efficient but we still assumed that it would be more efficient for customers located near the farms that raise our meats to actually drive to the farms to pick up their orders. So, to see how true this might be, we decided to use the example of a customer located in Harrisonburg, VA, less than 40 miles from one of our partner farms owned and operated by the Salatin family in Swoope, VA. For the example we decided that this customer’s car would get 25 miles to the gallon and that they wanted to buy 25 pounds of meat.


The Numbers

Here are the numbers we used for this example comparison:

 The Conclusion

We were very surprised by the results. Although we know that there are some factors that we may not be able to account for and we also realize that not every number we used may be 100% accurate, the equations we came up with indicated that it would be 14.2 times less fuel efficient for the customer to drive to the farm than for us to ship that same meat via tractor-trailer to our NE facility and then ship it back to her home via FedEx.