Walton County

Butcher shop run entirely by women pivots during pandemic

WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — Laura Jensen has a thing about pork. “Well, it’s a funny story,” Jensen said. “I’m known as the local pig nerd.”

Five years ago on a 10-acre spread in Walton County, she started raising Meishan pigs, a rare breed from China.

She also opened a butcher shop. Customers like Joanne Elrod like to support small, local farms.

“I think it’s tremendously important,” Elrod said. “Otherwise they’d disappear.”

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That almost happened to Laura. During the original pandemic lockdown in 2020, when the big supermarkets ran out of almost everything, Laura’s fully stocked store called Jensen Reserve went hog wild. Business boomed by 800%.

But she says as the months passed, fewer folks were willing to drive off the beaten path to her shop. She needed to pivot or go under.

So she joined an online farmers market called Market Wagon. Now her products are sold and shipped to customers in 19 Georgia counties.


Laura says several small farms sell their stuff in her butcher shop, and are part of the online partnership. She says selling online can help save small local farms.

“Oh yeah. Absolutely,” Jensen said. “I don’t know what they’re waiting on. This is a no-brainer.”

Laura says she and eight other women ran the butcher shop this past week. But things will now change after she hired a new employee, a man.

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