The Story - Pasture To Plate Process


PASTURE:

John and Shane Watkins hold lease agreements on the following pasture land.

  • Cuyama, CA - 1000 acres
  • Canada Larga Ranch - 3500 acres (main ranch) located 10 miles off highway 33 in Ojai, CA.

Currently, between the two properties, 260 head of cattle are being run. All cattle are fed naturally through the pastureland. At no time ar they ever treated with antibiotics, given hormones or administered steroids for growth. If an animal is deemed ill or in need of medical attention, it is isolated from the heard.

At no time is corn or grain used to induce weight or bulk. The finishing process is strictly pastured. Organic hay (grown by the Watkins) is administered only during the wet rainy season when pastureland is too green to be a significant source of nutrients alone.

PROCESSING:

Once cattle reach desired weight they are transported to Creston Valley Meats in Creston California. Creston is a small privately owned processing plant that caters to local ranchers and is registered with the USDA under establishment number #22095. When the cattle first arrive they are immediately identified by the ear tags associated with rancher. Then Creston creates a lot number and a tag ID system. Once processed, these numbers are visible on each front and hind quarter for easy matching and can be easily cross referenced to ranchers original ear tags.

Product is then held under refrigeration until pick-up from rancher.

TRANSPORTATION/AGING:

Watkins cattle transports all processed product via refrigerated box bed truck. At no time does the cargo temperature change from the time it leaves Creston to the time it arrives at the Watkins cutting facility at 5207 Casitas Pass Rd, Ventura CA 93001.

Upon arrival at facility all product is unloaded into a refrigerated workroom. At this time all hind and front quarter tags are matched with paperwork from Creston to insure accuracy and documented with the on-premise USDA inspector. Once number matching is complete product is hung and moved into a temperature and humidity controlled locker to begin the aging process of 23 days.

CUTTING/PACKAGING:

After the 23 days of aging, the carcasses are ready to be cut and processed. Under direct supervision of an USDA official, John Watkins personally begins the butchering and determines (based on inventory) what cuts of meat are to be packaged for market. Temperatures on the cutting table are checked every two hours to make sure product is held well below the critical control point. The facility also undergoes a rigorous daily inspection to insure all USDA/HACCAP sanitation requirements are strictly followed and recorded.

During the cutting process, packaging begins. Watkins uses a commercial grade Mini-Pak MVS-45-2 to remove all air from around product and provide a watertight seal for product longevity and safety. It is immediately weighed and tagged with price, but most importantly to consumers, Watkins displays information on the label that ties directly back to the tag numbers Creston created during processing.

PLATE:

Product is then boxed and moved to the freezer. It remains there until needed for shipment to consumer, farmers markets or restaurants. A complete inventory sheet is kept for each day of cutting to allow Watkins to easily access information about what products were produced that day.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. Thank you!