A quick look at a listing of farmers markets in my state shows several meat processing plants listed as vendors. I'm not trying to infer that they shouldn't be allowed to participate in farmers markets. I am saying, as with any vendor you purchase from, you should engage in a conversation about where the animals are raised and how they are raised.
For instance the statement of "all our meats are locally raised" could simply mean somewhere in the state.
Some good questions to ask any meat vendor:
Do you raise the livestock yourself?
If not, do you know the farmer who did?
Do you purchase animals from sale barns to slaughter?
How confident are you that your meats are hormone and antibiotic free?
For beef - Is this 100% grass fed and finished or has it been fed grain?
These are the type of questions any farmer who raises livestock will be happy to answer. In fact most welcome these types of questions because it shows that you are looking for a certain style of animal husbandry and methods of production.
My point in all this is not to build a case about dishonest vendors.
My point is don't assume that because you are standing at farmers market every product there is locally raised by a small farmer. Ask questions.
The demand for locally farm raised beef, pork, and chicken as well as other meats such as lamb, goat, rabbits etc is on the rise. That means meat vendors of every stripe are looking for ways to gain access to farmers markets.
Some markets will allow them to sell their products and some won't.
Make sure you know what you're getting.
Until next time...
Spring Hill Farms
Posted by David @ 12:28 PM EDT