The concept of eating local always has geographic limitations. And those limitations are most apparent with regard to meat -- the challenge for cattle ranchers and farmers is in finding a local slaughterhouse.
A group in the Puget Sound-area hopes to meet the demands of the locavore movement through the introduction of a Mobile Meat Processing Unit -- a "slaughterhouse on wheels." The 45-foot stainless steel trailer has been specially built to bring a local butchering option to farmers in Washington.
Although it will be more than a year before the $300,000 unit is completely operational, it is expected to service farms in six counties. In addition to being certified as organic, the trailer (which resembles the temporary offices on construction sites) will be accompanied by a USDA inspector at each stop.
And the hope, as noted by Seth Caswell, president of the Seattle Chef's
Collaborative, is that this will satisfy the demands of customers
looking for locally sourced meat:
"Restaurants are using that as a selling point," he said. This is
from such-and-such farm; we met the farmer.' It's a conversation piece.
It's something we can talk about. We can have a story behind it."
Mobile slaughterhouses appear to be a
niche for farmers that don't have on-site facilities but
don't manage enough livestock to be eligible for the services of an
industrialized slaughterhouse. With the disappearance of smaller and regional plants, there aren't a lot of options for specialty meat producers.
approved by the USDA was actually on Lopez Island, Washington, just
outside Seattle. It has been in operation since 2002. Mobile operations
slaughterhouse for poultry to ensure that chickens and turkeys were being
slaughtered in accordance with state regulations.
All of which is like the old saying ... if you can't get the cow to the slaughterhouse...
[Image via The Seattle Times]