A great Pro Food friend, Neal Foley (a.k.a., @Podchef), has a problem. Perhaps we can somehow help him, as well as others that might find themselves in similar predicaments.
Here’s a flavor of what’s happening in Neal’s world (link to entire blog post follows):
And there is the crux of the matter. As local meats gain popularity and as more people invest in raising some animals of their own the Custom Slaughter companies are no longer looking for work. The business I have been most happy with–after trying and rejecting several over the years–is also working at capacity, so much so that coming to the island for 7 pigs once a year isn’t worth the trouble for him. Usually there are other farms on the island who need to slaughter around the same time and the custom slaughter truck can make several stops, this allows the farms to share the cost of the ferry trip, making it more affordable for everyone. But the point is the good butcher shops are in demand on the mainland and they know it. They can afford to be a bit more choosy leaving the rest of us in the lurch. Read more.
The good news is that artisan and other sustainable-minded farmers and ranchers continue to see increasing demand for their products. Which is why I expect the required infrastructure to help their sales and profits grow will be soon to follow.
Please visit Neal’s blog and share your experiences, ideas and thoughts to help ensure that happens sooner than later.
This isn’t a problem just on islands, but also in areas such as CT. There was an article here last month about a guy who was developing a mobile slaughterhouse (http://preview.tinyurl.com/lhnlvz). If I remember the story correctly, there are very few S/H’s in Connecticut that allow the farmer to sell their meat to the public.
The S/H business is a tough one to be in. Nobody really wants them in their neighborhood, and there are many gov’t regulations (I know you will argue with me :), but there is good justification for regulation here ).
To me the mobile operation would make the greatest sense since it would avoid the not-in-my-backyard syndrome. The plan they had here was to part the system at a Ag. Society fairgrounds.
Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you are keeping up with my blog. You have been there from the beginning, haven’t you?
Regarding mobile slaughterhouses, I’m a very big fan, especially in the absence of regional, fixed-location versions, which were long ago put out of business by our now highly concentrated industrial infrastructure.
In certain situations, I suppose some regulation may be appropriate, but not in most regional settings, where trust and accountable are what businesses are built on.
“trust and accountability”…yeah, I’m for that as long as my family isn’t the one that gets sick and dies when they lose it. You’ve been spending too much time in the beautiful hills of VT.
And yes, I think I did comment on one of your first posts 🙂 Just wish I had more time for stuff like this.
Chances are you are at higher risk eating industrially raised meat, so go local! If you want more time to do this kind of stuff, then all you have to do is quit your day job!
The slaughter and butchering problem is big, perhaps the biggest issue threatening our farming, of getting our pork to your fork. Unfortunately the mobile slaughter units are very restricted. You need to have an accessible area with a large turn off, sufficient water and power for them. In the winter you wouldn’t want to drive those trucks on most roads where farms are. Yet, mobile slaughter is part of the solution which will help take the pressure off the slots at the few remaining processors.
Thanks, Walter. Hope you also share your comment and other thoughts on @PodChef’s blog. Cheers, Rob Smart
Glad to see this brought to light again.
This is a problem all over New England for local farmers. The question is are they looking for Custom or USDA? There are 4 mobile slaughter house unit in the US working the last I check 3 in Washington state and 1 in New Mexico. There was a group trying to get a unit on Martha Vineyard but I am unsure if it ever happend. Gov regulations were difficult. You can check out the info in this article http://www.countryfolks.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=350E94585B37465F8B5F8BA068B734F5&nm=Features&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&AudID=90DC82AE125D4E708CD1E3ED9DA80CA2&tier=4&id=EFCFE5954DC044E4879A0DE1C17FDA7D