Now, some of what he wants to do is legal. Joel and Teresa Salatin, owners of Polyface Farm, the Virginia farm whose grass-fed beef was made famous in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, have purchased Harrisonburg Wholesale Meat Co., they announced in a news release last night. The Salatins, along with business partner Joe Cloud, will keep the 70-year-old meat business alive as a USDA-approved processing plant for local, grass-fed pork and beef. Anyone familiar with Salatin’s near-religious screeds (like the book Everything I want to Do Is Illegal), or who has followed the local Double H farm controversy, knows that one of the biggest problems in the local meat movement is to get the meat properly inspected in a USDA facility. "There is enormous pent-up demand among Virginia farmers for processing services that will allow them to sell into high-value local markets, which we hope to capitalize on," Cloud said in the release. Salatin added that the meat processing facility (known around H-Burg as “T&E Meats" for its former owners Tom and Erma May) will be a “link between high quality local farmers and their customer clientele.”
The plant will be still be known as T&E Meats, with the new owners specifying that it stands for “True & Essential.”
Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm fame vertically integrates the local food movement with the purchase of a meat-processing plant in Harrisonburg.