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The Next Thing in Farm-to-Table? Mobile Slaughterhouses

The locavore movement graduates from greens to meat
The Next Thing in Farm-to-Table? Mobile Slaughterhouses
Photograph by Elizabeth Cecil

In Martha’s Vineyard, it’s not hard to grow, harvest, and sell local produce to residents and summer visitors. Many customers are happy to even pick their own berries, tomatoes, and sweet corn. Locally raised meat, though, is a challenge: Livestock has to be killed, a messy business that can be unwelcome in the affluent enclaves where demand for artisanal foods is highest.

Enter the Island Grown Initiative, a nonprofit that sends trained butchers to slaughter, scald, and pluck chickens and ducks at the small farms where the birds are raised. They arrive in pickup trucks towing everything they need to process poultry: knives, a scalder, and a board lined with stainless steel “kill cones” to drain blood from the birds’ necks. The animals are cleaned and packed on plastic folding tables set out under white tents.