Guy Kovner, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Bay Area livestock ranchers, including 24 in Sonoma County, are welcoming this week’s opening of their own slaughterhouse that fills a critical gap created more than two years ago.
The $1.2 million mobile processing plant, with a gleaming white 36-foot-long trailer purchased and set up at an area ranch by the 39-member Bay Area Ranchers Co-op, puts farmers producing beef cattle, pig, goat and sheep meat in control of their industry.
“It’s a big game changer in our food system,” said Duskie Estes, co-owner of the Black Pig Meat Co. and a co-op board member. “We are opening up the business place for small-scale animal husbandry.”
The co-op “exists solely for the benefit of the ranchers themselves who now have a guaranteed place to process their animals,” said Vince Trotter, sustainable ag coordinator at the Marin County UC Cooperative Extension, who helped the co-op get started.
“This is for ranchers who want to sell meat under their own label,” he said, noting that farmers will no longer need to share their revenue with a commercial slaughterhouse.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/bay-area-ranchers-open-their-own-mobile-meat-processing-plant-filling-key/
Matt Brown, PETALUMA ARGUS COURIER
Last month, Pam Torliatt loaded 25 grass-fed black Angus beef cows onto trucks and shipped them off for sale. The mass exodus represented a quarter of the herd she raised with partner Leo Ghirardelli on organic pastures in Tomales and Pepper Road west of Petaluma.
Since starting the Progressive Pastures label in 2006, Torliatt has peddled beef at Petaluma Market, giving local customers the satisfaction that their food was raised, harvested and sold within a 16-mile radius.
But all that is coming to an end after this year.
Marin Sun Farms, which owns the slaughterhouse on Petaluma Boulevard North — the only USDA-certified meat processing plant in the Bay Area — has informed ranchers that, starting in January, it will no longer process animals for private labels such as Progressive Pastures.
“This puts us out of the business of selling to the retail market,” said Torliatt, a former Petaluma mayor. “Knowing that our community is losing the ability to harvest locally, it’s going to have a tremendous impact on agricultural infrastructure. It’s going to have a negative affect on local agriculture.”
Read more at https://www.petaluma360.com/home/a1/10320684-181/petaluma-ranchers-beefing-about-slaughterhouse
Janet Balicki Weber, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Harvest season is underway in Sonoma County and for those living in Wine Country that means grapes.
But let’s not forget the multitude of other crops that have jockeyed for the title of top crop through the years. Hops, apples and prunes have all taken turns dominating the economy at one time.
And there were other crops, too: walnuts, cherries and berries were once part of a diverse agricultural landscape that in recent years has become more grape-centric.
Agriculture has always been important to Sonoma County. In the 1920s, Sonoma County was ranked eighth in the country in agricultural production. In 1931, it was 10th, with all this coming from around 7,000 farms, 5,100 of which were 50 acres or smaller.
The small family farm usually grew multiple crops; producers often grew three or four to back up their primary yield. When prices dipped for one, they were prepared.
Of course, there also are animal products. Although crops like hops have nearly disappeared from the county, poultry and dairy continue to be big producers from Cloverdale to Petaluma.
View photos at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/8756663-181/historic-photos-of-harvest-in?sba=AAS
Christi Warren, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
To add an emergency food provider to the directory, click here. Interested in more information about getting involved with the Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition? A panel and screening of the film “Just Eat It” will be held at Healdsburg SHED, 25 North St., 6-8 p.m., Sept. 14.
In Sonoma County, about 45,500 tons of food waste go into the landfill each year.A group of local nonprofits is aiming to change that by diverting it instead into the hands and homes of the estimated 82,000 people who go hungry each month in Sonoma County.
Called the Sonoma County Food Recovery Coalition, the group is at work on a mapping tool to help the public reduce its food footprint. It will allow someone to punch in their ZIP code to find the nearest drop-off spot accepting whatever they’re trying to donate, whether prepared food, unsold farm stand produce or excess apples from a family’s backyard tree.
“That, for me, is like the 2.0 iteration of food recovery and food waste prevention,” said Suzi Grady, program director for Petaluma Bounty and a founding member of the coalition.
Many producers across the North Bay already have such relationships with emergency food providers, Grady said, like when Petaluma’s Della Fattoria has leftover bread, or San Rafael’s Wild West Ferments accidentally orders too much cabbage.
“So we’ll go pick that up and distribute it to an emergency food provider,” Grady said.
The newest effort is a way to simplify that process and make it easier for small producers — even private citizens — to connect to the food recovery movement, broadening the supply chain for emergency food providers across the North Bay. Private donations are covered by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, which excludes donor liability except in cases of gross negligence.
Read more at: Group aims to tackle Sonoma County food waste | The Press Democrat –
Bob Schildgen, SIERRA
Hey Mr. Green,
I hear that agriculture and food transportation take a whopping amount of energy, and therefore contribute to global warming. If so, what can we do about it?
–Janet in Jacksonville, Florida
Locavores complain that agribusiness burns way too much energy. Growing food, however, takes less of the total U.S. energy budget–about 2 percent–than processing and packaging it. And surprisingly, given all the fretting about food miles, food transportation requires only 0.5 percent of our total energy, and half that much comes not from big rigs barreling down the interstate but from shoppers driving to and from stores and restaurants. A car on a four-mile round-trip to fetch 50 pounds of groceries uses 300 times more fuel per pound per mile than a semi does.
Increased reliance on fast foods and commercially prepared meals adds to food-related energy use, because it requires more transportation and replaces manual labor with machines. But the biggest food-related energy drain is in your own home: Refrigeration, cooking, dishwashing, and disposal consume a third of the energy in the food system.
Here’s how to reduce your dinner’s energy content: (1) cut down on heavily processed, excessively packaged food and get back to basics, which will help farmers (who once received nearly 50 cents of every food dollar and now get only 17 cents, thanks to the increased share taken by processors, packagers, and marketers); (2) bike, walk, carpool, or take public transit to food stores; (3) avoid fast foods and eat out less; (4) get efficient Energy Star-approved appliances; (5) grow your own produce if possible; and (6) do like Grandma said: Clean your plate and don’t waste so dern much. Annually, 34 million tons of food waste ends up in dumps, creating the greenhouse gas methane and wasting the energy it took to produce it. –Bob Schildgen
via Hey Mr. Green, Should I Care How Far My Food Travels? | Sierra Club.
Robert Digitale, Jamie Hansen & Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Petaluma slaughterhouse at the center of a growing recall has voluntarily ceased operations while it attempts to track down and retrieve every shipment of beef from the facility over the past year.
The enormous scale of the recall raised questions about the future of the North Bay’s last beef processing facility and set off criticism of federal regulators by local ranchers who rely on Rancho Feeding Corp. to slaughter their cattle.
The recall, which began Jan. 13 and was initially restricted to meat processed on a single day, expanded Saturday to include all 8.7 million pounds of meat processed at Rancho in 2013.
Robert Singleton, who owns Rancho with partner Jesse “Babe” Amaral, on Monday night said the company undertook the recall out of “an abundance of caution” and regrets any inconvenience to customers.
via Petaluma360.com | Petaluma Argus-Courier | Petaluma, CA.
Biteclub, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Petaluma’s Rancho Feeding Corp. is under fire after two recalls, the latest involving millions of pounds of “possibly diseased meat” according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). It received one of the most serious warnings, a Class 1 Recall, a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.
But here’s the thing…no one is saying the meat actually was diseased. And no one has reported any illnesses from the beef, most of which has already been sold and consumed according to producers.
via Rancho Recall: The End of Sonoma County Beef? | Restaurants and Dining in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and Wine Country.