Slaughter, Airstream-style: Livestock producers in Washington's Puget Sound region are pinning their hopes on a 45-foot mobile meat processing unit that will travel from farm to farm, eliminating the logistical nightmares (including a several-hour drive) associated with the few mega-slaughterhouses still running in the state. The mobile unit will butcher animals and deliver them to a cut-and-wrap facility that will package the meat for retail and restaurant sale. Built with $300,000 from the Pierce County Conservation District--which sees the unit as a means to preserving local farmland--it will be USDA-inspected and certified organic. Area producers think it'll be a year before the unit is running at full capacity.
It's not just a boon for local producers, but also for consumers craving hard-to-find local meat. Says the president of the Seattle Chef's Collaborative: "Restaurants are using [local] as a selling point.... 'This is from such-and-such farm; we met the farmer.' It's a conversation piece. It's something we can talk about. We can have a story behind it." (Seattle Times via The Consumerist; thanks, Jack!)