There has been lots of news lately about the demand for locally grown meat and the growing suppply being raised on family farms. Of more interest, however, is the lack of USDA inspected processing facilities. In fact, we do not currently have one in the state of Connecticut. There are many smaller, non-inspected facilities, but if a farmer uses one of these then the sales of meat products are restricted to "bulk" (usually a % of the animal). In order to sell meat by the pound at local farmers' markets or at a farm stand located on the farm itself, the meat must be inspected, packaged, and labelled under the oversight of the USDA.
This effectively eliminates the local processing of farm raised meats in CT. Luckily, we are able to bring our animals to Adam's Farm (www.adamsfarm.biz) in Athol, MA. Despite the distance from our farm in Eastern Connecticut, we are happy to be able to bring our animals to a processor that not only works under the guidance of the USDA, but which uses a humane system of animal holding, transport, and slaughter designed and engineered by Dr. Temple Grandin (www.grandin.com).
No doubt you have heard of Temple Grandin due to the recent success and accolaids of the biographical film produced by HBO. (www.hbo.com/movies/templegrandin/index.html).
If you have a chance to watch this film you will learn much about the way that your meat used to be processed (or still may be if you are not buying from a humane farm and processor) as well as about the humane practices currently being used throughout the country by most small scale producers that were innovated by Dr. Grandin.
It is not only important to know how your food is raised, but be sure to know how your food is processed during the many steps it takes to go from "farm to table."