The problem in the specialty meat markets isn’t the growing or the selling. It’s the processing. There aren’t many small processors who can handle small batches of organic fowl or specialty beef.

The Winona (MN) Daily News has a story about a small poultry processor in Utica (the southeast corner of the state) that will close shortly and strand several growers of organic chickens and turkeys. Burt’s Hilltop Poultry handled custom orders and the place was a godsend for growers selling organic meats at the Twin Cities farmers’ markets.

Now Burt’s is closing and the nearest custom butcher is in Iowa. So we have growers and a market — but no processing middleman. That’s a problem, but not an insoluble one.

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