After 45 years in business, the first 10 just for fun, Jamison Farm is closing down operations.
Owners John and Sukey Jamison had provided the Latrobe farm’s grass-finished lamb to some of the best restaurants and well-known chefs across the country for decades. But all that is coming to end in the next few weeks. And, yes, COVID-19 is at least partially responsible.
“I know, it’s terrible,” Mr. Jamison said. But sales to restaurants — which account for 60 percent of the business — have pretty much evaporated during the pandemic, and the Jamisons aren’t sure when, or even whether, the industry will bounce back.
While some restaurants have been buying here and there for takeout during the pandemic, it’s not been enough to make the business a go, he said. The farm’s last major shipment was March 14, to Jose Andres’ Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t think people realize how bad the restaurant situation is,” the 73-year-old farmer said. He likens it to the dismal period after Sept. 11 and during the recession of 2008-2009.
While the couple has been thinking of retiring for at least a couple of years, he said they were hoping to do so after they found someone else to take over the business.