“Quality is from farm to table, Do you what is happening before you have that food”
Food is main source of energy which need for human. Do you ask yourself where is it coming from?
I am warmly hosted in Will and Jan Tusick family in Polson, Montana. Will is sheep farm owner and Jan is Director of Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Centre in Ronan. Her house is located on the quiet farm where you cannot hear car engine, only sound of animals, and you can see the mountain in front you house. Today, I want to share my experience from the quiet sheep farm business to food processing facility.
The life on the farm seems to be simple and less stress. However, Will does not have time to lose each day. He takes care alone during the day with his skilled sheep dog then he sites in front of computer screen and talks on mobile phone. His job is to find the clients who need to buy lambs from his farms. Sheep takes approximately 6 months for growing up. Lamps will sell in big lot to cooperative and others sell directly to consumers. After many hours on his mobile phone, Will got two orders for local consumers. Will started his job by selecting nice and healthy lambs in his barn. I watch him ending the lamb life passionately; it is not my first time to see it. But it is different, lamb did not make any sound and so quiet. He takes skin off and empty stomach. After cleaning, lambs were packed and sent to boucher. Boucher will cut and pack. The clients will buy it by life weigh which is about 1.5 dollars per pounce and take their package in the boucher.
After sending lambs to the boucher, I came to Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center (MMFE) to work with Jan. I got the warm welcoming from Jan and her stuffs. My mission today is to understand the services in this centre and observe the food processing activities in this facility. First, programs in MMFE cover program areas (Cooperative development, Value added agriculture, Specialty food business development, Farm to institution), Education and training (GAP training, HACCP and Process control school, Concept to consumer, Serve safe, Co-op 101), Technical assistance (Business and marketing planning, Feasibility study, Label development, Nutritional analysis, Food product regulatory compliance), Food processing areas (USDA meat room, FDA approved processing room, dehydrator room, dry fill room, and certified organic handler), warehousing (cooler space, Freezer space, dry storage area and pallet storage), Technical assistance (food production assistance, processing control authority and HACCP coordinator) and monthly feature. In the nutshell, this centre helps financial and technical supports for local enterprises. For instance, today, the centre gave the service for school lunch and small food producer. The centre received pumpkins then processed into pumpkin puree and frozen it. These pumpkin puree packs will be used for school lunch. Second client is Uncle Bill who produces sausage. He brought the raw material to processing area where he can process, boil and smoke in this facility. Then he can bring finished products back to his shop.
In short, this centre can help food factory to run business and produce safe food with support of the Mission Mountain. I think my time here is too short to learn all the concepts and their practice here. Finally, I try to learn and apply knowledge for my work. I am so happy to be with Will and Jan family where I discover American family and the way the life.
“ I hope everyone has good time, ….”