The selection in the meat case at Rouses Markets just got bigger and even more local, thanks to a new and exclusive partnership between family-owned Rouses and family-owned Royal Family Farms of Crystal Springs, Miss., to retail goat and lamb.
“I love the idea of two local family companies working together,” says Donny Rouse, Rouses’ managing partner. “But more than that, I love the way this goat and lamb tastes. It’s the very highest restaurant quality.”
The partnership with Royal Family Farms allows Rouses to have fresh goat and lamb in their meat cases within two days of processing. The meat currently is available at more than half of Rouses locations, but expansion plans are already in the works.
“I don’t know who is more excited about this, our butchers or the chefs who shop in our stores every day,” says Rouse.
Rouses Markets and Royal Family Farms both have their roots in produce. Donny Rouse’s great-grandfather, J.P. Rouse, founded the City Produce Co. in 1923. City Produce supplied fruits and vegetables from Louisiana’s independent farms to the rest of the state and eventually stores around the country. Lanier Wilcher started his vegetable farm in Mississippi’s Southern Hinds County in 1897. His great-grandchildren, Charles and Dwayne Pickett, began raising cattle on the property in 1982. The Picketts started with 500 cattle but, with high demand, they quickly expanded, adding 1,900 acres to the original vegetable farm’s acreage. In 2012, they bought their first goats and lambs. Their meat is retailed exclusively at Rouses.
Donny Rouse says he pushes for new, local ingredients and products every day—helping ranchers, farmers, fishermen and manufacturers get to market.
“You’re either local or you’re not,” says Rouse. “If it’s grown, caught, raised or made here, you’ll find it at Rouses. And I’m not talking just one flat of local tomatoes or a few six packs of one local beer like you can find at a chain; you’ll find everything local on our shelves and in our cases every day.”
In addition to Royal Family Farms’ duck and goat, Rouses sells grass-fed beef from Acadiana’s Gonsoulin Farms, and pork and duck from Chappapeella Farms, a 40-acre, operation in Husser, La. Their prized pigs and Pekin ducks are reserved exclusively for Rouses and high-end restaurants owned by chefs and restaurateurs like John Besh, Emeril Lagasse and Dickie Brennan.
Rouses Markets is based in Thibodaux, La., and has 38 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi. The company employs more than 5,400 team members.