Nigel... Cory has been working for Eatwell Farm since January of 2008. He drives our delivery truck, does the farmers market on Saturday and pretty much anything else we ask of him. Cory will be leaving us soon. We are very sorry to loose him but happy that he will be following his passion of working with animals. We wish him all the best and thank him for all his hard work.
A couple of weeks ago Cory took a trip to Prather Ranch in Northern California. Here's his report.
Last week I was lucky enough to visit a place that I was not quite sure really existed: a humane slaughterhouse.
Prather Ranch meat Company is the producer/distributor of naturally and organic raised beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. They have a retail storefront located in the historic San Francisco ferry building and a presence at many Bay Area farmers markets. Their products can also be found at natural foods stores throughout the state as well.
I had tasted the meat before and it was good. The salespeople talked the talk and that was good too but even so, one has to wonder... Humane? What exactly does that mean? I was impressed from the moment I arrived at the ranch in Macdoel, CA (thirty miles south of the Oregon Border). Things were neat and tidy, fences in good repair, and cattle were lounging contentedly out in the pasture. A group of employees from San Francisco who were coming to see the ranch for the first time sat around a picnic table soaking up the sunset and anxiously awaiting the next day's events.
The abbatoir is only in operation on Tuesdays, and only for five hours at that. There are solely cattle processed at this facility and they average about twenty-one head per week. Beginning at 7:00am a group of six well trained employees assemble on the "kill floor" and get to it. Animals are "stunned" just outside the building while still exposed to natural light. No protest. No panic. Everybody works together in one room, processing one animal more or less completely before moving into the next. The room is small (15'x40'), well lit, quiet, and runs like clockwork. The atmosphere is calm and focused, everyone working safely and with a humble respect for the livestock. When the last animal is in the cooler and the cleaning has been done, everybody eats lunch together and then calls it a day. No more until next week.
It was amazing to see such a morally complex task completed so simply and so well. If this ever becomes the standard in our country's meat industry, I'll be elated. Job well done.