Meat consumers get site

Sheila Windsor of Windsor Farm with one of her charges.
Sheila Windsor of Windsor Farm with one of her charges. File photo by Jen MacLellan | Driftwood Gulf Islands Media

People who prefer to get their food as close to the source as possible have a new way to access island-farmed meat and eggs with a new website called Salt Spring Meats launched earlier this month.

Those who have found it tricky to coordinate farm gate sales with their dining needs in the past will enjoy the up-to-date information at saltspringmeats.com, a one-stop shopping opportunity that will save people from fruitlessly driving around the island or searching out individual websites or phone numbers.

The project received seed funding from the proceeds of the 2016 Salt Spring Apple Festival, which enabled website design and set-up. Festival coordinator Harry Burton said initial response has been positive, while feedback from the participants has allowed for a few changes and improvements to the pilot model.

“I’m using it myself, so it’s a good way to connect with local meats,” Burton said. “I’ve heard lots of people say it’s a good idea, and I think it will translate to more local sales.”

Margaret Thomson of Windrush Farms is one of the early adopters, and in fact has advocated for such a resource since chairing the now-dissolved Salt Spring Livestock Producers Group.

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“This is something I’ve hoped to see since even before there was an abattoir,” Thomson said. “It can be very difficult as a newcomer to find meat. It’s very important for farmers, too, to get meat sold when it’s available. This website should really solve a lot or problems and prevent a lot of wasted phone calls.”

Website users can search for a particular meat product to see which farms have it available now, with all the usual animals plus quail, rabbits and eggs listed, or peruse the list of farms to see what they carry throughout the year. Participating members are encouraged to share as much information as they can on their products, both before and after processing takes place.