Heather Sandford is growing a sustainable business that raises and "harvests" animals respectfully.
Watch the video and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 Heather Sandford has loved meat all her life.
2 Animal raising runs in the blood for Heather.
3 Heather has a degree in biotechnology.
4 Heather and her husband have been an item since college days.
5 Heather gave up smoking when she started growing things in San Francisco.
6 Heather compares animal raising to vegetable growing.
7 Heather and her husband have expanded their business.
8 Paperwork is an ordeal.
9 The good thing about the business is that they are making a fortune.
Are you being a rock star, huh? You showing everyone how cute you are?
I was a vegetarian for 17 years and I was vegan for a while. So it’s been kind of a full circle process for me, but I know that my animals have a good and positive, like, life cycle. And I know people are gonna eat meat, regardless if I close shop tomorrow. And I at least would like people to have the option to buy, you know, meat that was well respected and well cared for.
We are self-taught farmers and we're self-taught butchers. We made a lot of mistakes. It's interesting 'cause we know exactly how to farm now. And we also know, like, how we can get better and we're always working on it.
Yeah? Where are they?
When I was growing up, I did not wanna be a farmer at all. I did go to Cornell and I graduated with a bioengineering degree. And at that time, I still didn't have any inclination that I was gonna be a farmer. I was actually really interested in music.
What I really need is Andrew to give us more beans.
I met my husband Brad my senior year at college. We were friends for a very long time before we started dating. And we're still good friends now.
Brad and I started going to the farmers’ markets. We started growing things in the back of this little cottage we rented outside of San Francisco. We started smoking our own meat. We started like, breaking down our own animals.
We were truly just interested in moving back here and homesteading. In that process in the first two years, we found out that we loved pigs. They're smart. They're cute, you know, we can pet 'em.
This is really nice. This is the stuff that Brad found on Craigslist.
We all fit together in this like, little ecosystem on the farm. You know, I care for these animals, we grow them up just like you plant corn, just like you plant vegetables and at some point you're harvesting it for nutrition. We can talk about they go to slaughter, we kill them, but you know, we are harvesting them for — for protein.
This turkey I’m really excited about. I think that’s coming really well.
Me too. GreenStar wants some yesterday.
GreenStar wants it yesterday?
The margins in farming and meat cutting are just whisper thin so we had to work really hard to try to figure out how to cut the carcass every week.
The Irish bacon turned out really well.
The Irish bacon looks nice.
It’s not just the tenderloin, it’s not just the porkchop, and if you’re gonna sell the animal you have to sell the rendered lard, you have to sell the pork cheeks if you can.
Uh, this is our, our, our ham, our deli slice ham we make, and on the far side is actually our bologna, um, and our pâté over there.
Ooh, that looks nice.
We wanted to look at building our business out a little bit further for higher volume and to go into the wholesale market so we could stay in business long term and be a sustainable business.
That was quite a big change. A lot of refrigeration. A lot of new equipment that we needed to enter the marketplace and stuff and also build out our new retail room. So there’s so many challenges, so many late nights, so many long hours.
It feels really good now that we've kinda re-launched, and we just got our USDA license. That is a gigantic deal. It's very dense, the amount of, like, paperwork and things that you do need to do to keep your license active. So I have an inspector at my shop every single day, you know. He looks at our facility, to control any possible contaminations or issues. It's very, very intense. We have to be good every day. Every day we have to be good.
Farmers have so many challenges against them and to overcome them over — all the time is — kind of remarkable. All of us joke like, why do we do this? This is crazy. It's hard, it's long hours, none of us make any money. You know. But it's a labor of love.
Hi! Thank you so much for letting us come and see you. I really appreciate it.
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