Small-scale meat processing: The missing link

Upstate New York has bountiful open space, a great climate for raising grassfed meat, and a long tradition of local agriculture. So why is it still hard to find local pasture-raised meat at the grocery store?

Brooklyn food writer Adriana Velez had a great piece recently on her blog, Dinner4Three, about the uphill battle New York State's small farmers face in trying to find a processor.

...[M]eat production in New York State is more scattered and less organized than it is in the west. Demand for grass-fed beef is growing, but farmers worry about committing to the practice when they’re not sure if their meat can be processed and distributed when the animals are ready. It wasn’t always this way. Twenty-five years ago the New York State countryside was dotted with USDA-inspected processors.

To get a full picture of the processor problem, Velez talks to people up and down the distribution chain, from farmer John Bermon to Park Slope Coop buyer Bill Malloy. It's well worth a read.

Velez is also on Twitter as @AdrianaV.