The little abattoir that can
In a centralized world where bigger has become the norm with limited corporate ownership, there is an abattoir just outside Invermere that is showcasing the value in local and small.
With food security and locally-sourced diets more valued all the time, Columbia Valley Meat and Sausage Co., which opened in March 2017, is finding regular business selling beef, pork, lamb, goat and more to local residents, stores and restaurants.
Neat, clean and operated by long-time Invermere groceries merchant Grant Kelly, the business had to first overcome some public concerns, such as visuals and smell.
Tucked back off Highway 93/95 just south of the Invermere crossroads, the Windermere Farmers’ Institute-established abattoir does not stick out nor does it smell.
“Consumers expect to have safe food and we provide government-inspected meat,” Kelly said, noting a Ministry of Agriculture inspector is on hand “from start to finish on slaughter days.
“We’re fortunate to have really experienced people working with us.”
A father and son team, Russell and Brodie Bolen from Jaffray, come up on slaughter days.
Area farmers and ranchers are keeping the abattoir busy, Kelly said.
“It’s been a big benefit for customers north of here as there is no abattoir close by. Previously, people had to drive to Cranbrook or Kimberley, transporting animals,” he said, adding about half of the animals processed come from Brisco, Parson and Golden.
“Ranchers south of here have the option of Cranbrook/Kimberley or come up to Invermere,” Kelly said, noting he’s had a customer come from as far away as Jaffray.
Some of the biggest ranches between Golden and Canal Flats now utilize the Columbia Valley Meat and Sausage, which also sells meat retail.
The establishment of the abattoir also created another option for needy customers who are sometimes inconvenienced during hunting season, Kelly said.
“We are open through hunting season as other abattoirs are not doing beef etc. at that time – and just doing wild game.”
Customers can also have their meat cut into portions on-site or take it elsewhere.
– Ian Cobb/e-KNOW