Slaughterhouses have been declining in the Bay Area and around the country, according to the recent New York Times article Slaughterhouse Shortage Stunting Area’s Eat-Local Movement. This is, the article explains, both an effect and a cause of the national transition from small, sustainable producers of meat to large ones.
Here in Washington State, with the recent closure of Thundering Hooves (whose owners are restarting and restructuring their business, now called Blue Valley Meats), and with the growing interest in grass-fed meat, it seems we need to think about what it takes to help small- and mid-sized producers succeed. Apparently, one of the barriers is access to a nearby slaughterhouse/processing facility.
One local producer of sustainable meat and dairy is working on an answer. Sea Breeze Farm is looking to buy Thundering Hooves’s old processing equipment and open a processing facility on Vashon Island, available for use by other local meat producers. It’s an expensive undertaking, in the tens of thousands of dollars, but not so expensive as it would be without the opportunity from Thundering Hooves. Sea Breeze is raising funds from supporters to accomplish this goal.
If you’d like to invest in our region’s food sovereignty and ability to support local producers of sustainable, nutritious meat, consider donating to this project. Contact information is at the Sea Breeze Farm website. You can also talk to them at the U-District or Ballard farmers markets this weekend.