We got the opportunity to watch some of our sheep being processed at the slaughterhouse.
We had one lamb show up with a spool joint. This is usually the designation for a mutton. She was only 6 months old. The carcass on the left has a break joint and is a lamb. The carcass on the right has a spool joint and is a mutton.
We learned a lot watching the crew work on our sheep. Our biggest impression is how much fat our sheep have on them. These are entirely grass finished and not fed any grains yet they had more fat cover than I expected to see. I can only imagine how fat they would get if fed grains.
The lamb that had to be marked as mutton was also interesting. Most Black Welsh are slow growing and it is unusual to have one grade out as a mutton when less than a year of age.
The meat cutting and packing crew was 8 people and it took about 20 minutes to fully process one carcass. That is one reason for the high cost of food. A good slaughterhouse has a very skilled set of workers and they spend a lot of time making sure the meat is cut to order. The difference between a small place like this one and a huge assembly line is obvious. The smaller plant cares and every person is skilled and can do most of the jobs. They know how to cut meat to individual orders and are willing to keep individual carcasses separate and tracked for us. A far cry from huge plants where each worker only does a single cut all day.
It’s a pleasure to have such a good partner in providing our customers with good meat.