Categories: Market News
      Date: Jun 30, 2008
     Title: Justin Pitts overcomes obstacles to bring meat to market

We’ve been thinking a lot about slaughterhouses over the last few weeks at the office. Mostly because of our meat vendor, Justin Pitts, who has recently shared with us the challenges he faces finding a slaughterhouse that fits his needs. 

Justin PittsSlaughtering an animal for retail is a complicated business. Gourmet outlets, like urban farmers markets or high-end restaurants, require specific cuts of meat with specific thicknesses. Then there are the complications associated with packaging, labeling, and freezing the product, as well as the enormous hassle of driving to and from the facilities to drop off and then pick up the meat. Not to mention the legal obstacles of transporting meat products across state lines. Any animal product that goes from Mississippi to Louisiana, for example, needs to have a USDA-approved sticker on it, which is on all of Justin’s meat.

Indeed, Justin is as attentive to the death of his animals as he is to their life. He takes incredible pride in monitoring the lives of his cows, pigs, and sheep while they are on his farm, so it makes sense that he would drive nearly a hundred miles north of his farm in Ellisville, MS, simply to get to his USDA-approved slaughterhouse, one of only two in the state.

For Justin, the farmer-slaughterhouse relationship is based on trust. Even if there was a more conveniently located abattoir, Justin would probably still take his meat to his current slaughterhouse, run by a man who he knows will give him the level of service and reliability that he has come to expect.

His is a complicated business, and there are very few folks like him. Moreover, his meat is fantastic. When you taste his products, like the bacon and lamb he’s been selling at market, then you’ll understand where all the love, time and attention have gone. If you ask, he’ll probably even tell you a little bit about the animal’s life.