Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Small processors, small restaurants

Running a small slaughter facility is no easy task. Here is an interesting article that describes the trial and tribulations of small niche market producers. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2009/03/little-piggy-goes-home

With all of the talk about eating local and chefs looking to buy from specific farms, the link between the farmer and the table has gotten very crowded. Do you realize many farmers must book kill times weeks or even months ahead? The fact that NY state doesn't have any in state slaughter facilities means meat must be processed in a USDA inspected plant. This typically means the animals must be driven far from the farm, sometimes up to an hour or so away. This results in animals that can be stressed and exhausted upon arrival, lowering the quality of the meat. Also if the goal of eating local is to reduce the carbon footprint then driving animals around certainly makes no sense.

Another option might be to bring the slaughter house to the farm. http://www.mobileslaughter.com/ Mobile units might be the answer to a lot of problems in the northeast. No more trailering the animals. The end user could simply show up at the farm to pick up their meat. Small vendors could deliver cut product around the neighborhood or sell at the farmers market or to local small restaurants and caterers.