- Animal Production: meat processing
In New England, the absence of local kosher poultry processors is a significant problem with market demand rising for sustainably raised, locally produced kosher meat. The problem is compounded by the issue of cost effectiveness and production efficiency that small-scale producers face in accessing local kosher processing.
Our project goal is to achieve a high enough level of operational efficiency that the production of locally processed, kosher poultry is economically viable for commercial purposes. To accomplish this, we will conduct a series of processing batches to provide ample data in support of commercial production volumes. We plan to raise poultry in four (4) distinct batches during the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. Each batch will consist of approximately 100-250 chickens.
We will share our experience and analyses with key local agricultural institutions through a written case study, which agencies can publish in newsletters or use for presentation at programs. Organizations include Northeast Organic Farming Association, Hazon, and Abundance Farm at Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton.
Project objectives from proposal:
As owner of Robariah Farms, we propose building on recently completed research (conducted with funding from a 2015 SARE Farmer Grant) to address this issue. Leveraging a local, state-certified poultry processing facility and integrating required elements of kosher processing (ritual slaughterer (shochet) to kill and supervise; dry plucking without scalding; soaking and salting), we will pilot a higher capacity model of kosher poultry processing that can be economically viable.
Our technical advisor is the experienced owner of a local, state-certified poultry processing facility. He will manage the processing. We will use low-volume dry pluckers and a high volume industrial dry-plucker integrated into the facility. We will collect data at several points to analyze production efficiency and cost effectiveness. We will compare results against 1) a non-local, industrial kosher facility; 2) a local, non-kosher facility; and 3) local, kosher processing previously piloted.