ASAN members Jesie and Matthew Lawrence, who own Marble Creek Farmstead in Sylacauga, have recently purchased a majority share in a USDA Inspected processing facility in Pell City. The facility is currently open and processing swine, beef, goat, and lamb, both under USDA inspection as well as under custom exemption.
Matthew and Jesie, along with previous owner Bruce Ervin, who will stay on as the plant manager and part owner, plan to make the facility a “producers’ processor.” The focus will be on producers that raise animals for direct retail or wholesale sale, and while all producers are welcome, they will focus on serving the sustainable farmer market.
Current and planned capabilities, of interest to sustainable farmers:
- The producer will have access to the plant whenever they have animals on the premises. Producers are encouraged to observe and be present during the process.
- The plant is working to be able to include the name and logo of the farmer, as well as producer-specific pricing on the label.
- The plant just got approved to process poultry under USDA inspection — the first in the state to do so! They will process only Marble Creek poultry in April and into May, and plan to open to the public for poultry processing in May or Early June.
- Nitrate free bacon and hams are currently available. They will offer a sugar-free option on sausages soon. The plant intends to offer stunning plus scald and scrape options soon, for a true nose-to-tail processing.
- They are investigating becoming the first in the state to offer Certified Organic processing, for those needing this service as well.
This is an exciting and important development, as adequate and high-quality processing has long been a major barrier for direct-market sustainable livestock producers throughout the state. Congratulations Matthew and Jesie!