For shepherding meat production at every stage.
In the sustainable-food world, few people dream bigger than Anya Fernald: Her three-year-old operation raises, slaughters, processes, butchers, and sells 90,000 pounds of meat from 12 species annually. She learned that "vertical integration is a part of high-quality food" while studying cheese making in Europe.
"If I spend all of my energy making a beautiful cheese," she says, "and the truck transporting it is warm, it won't taste good." Her company started with 8,000 acres of California land and a single butcher shop; it now has more than 20,000 acres, and by the end of 2014 will have opened six shops across the state. "I want to help people see meat as a new luxury," she says. This is her process:
1. Her "low-stress animal handling" intervenes minimally in animals' natural behavior.
2. The farm grows grass, grains, and beans for the animals to graze on.
3. Belcampo's processing facility features humane holding pens designed by Temple Grandin.
4. Processing is done by hand, and packages are marked to trace the meat back to the animal.
5. Belcampo compares its butchers to bartenders, with whom customers can have a personal bond.
[Image courtesy of Belcampo]