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RBR News | June 13, 2014

Posted in Ranch Report

Around the Ranch
There are several essential components of a local food system and one of the most important has been forgotten by most eaters in this era of modern food production – the processor.  As little as fifty years ago, small, family-owned meat processing facilities existed in nearly every county of the United States. These small businesses were a valuable resource in the community and played an integral part of the food system, converting animals into meat. 

In order to sell meat at farmers’ markets, grocery stores, schools, and other businesses, meat must be inspected at a USDA-inspected processing facility. In Colorado, there is currently only one USDA-inspected poultry processing facility, and it is located in Wellington, Colorado (slightly north of Fort Collins). 

In order to deliver the highest quality pasture-raised chickens to the Roaring Fork Valley, we have very few choices in regards to processing, and must take time-consuming steps to get our chickens properly inspected for farmers’ market. A typical harvest day demands 16-hours and is outlined below:

2:00am – Load chickens into transport crates
2:30am – Load crates onto truck and depart Basalt, CO.
6:30am – Arrive in Wellington, CO. (After combating morning Denver traffic on I-25)
7:00am – Unload chicken crates at processing facility. Chickens are quickly harvested, scalded, plucked, and eviscerated. Chickens move into forced air walk-in cooler to cool to 40ºF. 
12:00pm – Chickens reach safe handling temperature and are vacuum packed and staged for pickup.
1:00pm - Chickens are moved into freezers in our trailer, powered by portable generator, to be transported back to the ranch at safe temperatures. Paperwork and billing information is taken care of.
2:00pm – Depart Wellington, CO.
6:00pm – Arrive Basalt, CO. Plug freezers into grid electricity. 

So the next time you see locally grown products, especially chicken, consider the hard work that has gone into delivering that product to your table!

Available Products
This is the first week of the Basalt Sunday Market from 10AM-2PM in downtown Basalt. Rock Bottom Ranch will have a full inventory of chicken, pork, lamb, and Crystal River Meats beef as well as the items listed below:

  • The first cutting of vegetables from the climate battery hoophouse will include salad mix, arugula and spinach. 
  • The first batch of pasture-raised whole chickens is now available, as well as our delicious non-GMO, Animal Welfare Approved chicken and duck eggs.   
  • A full pork inventory is now available including chops, shoulder roasts, ribs, bacon, smoked hams, fresh ham roasts, and several flavors of sausage. 
  • Lamb cuts include frenched racks, chops, shoulder roasts, ground lamb and bratwurst.

Purchase at the Ranch Monday - Friday 9AM-5PM, and Saturday from 9AM-1PM.
Visit us at the Basalt Farmers’ Market on Sundays from 10AM-2PM.

~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director

Join us for Farm Tours Monday – Saturday at 11AM. For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at jsmith@aspennature.org.