The former Frey’s slaughter facility at Mount Forest, Ontario, will re-open soon as Local Harvest Ontario, with a focus on beef and lamb for the Toronto area and beyond.
Brian Read, vice president and general manager of the plant, is very excited about the prospect of getting the plant up and running. Read has run plants in several different provinces, and plans to leverage that knowledge and experience into plant #656, the facility number Local Harvest will continue to use.
The plant was originally built by the Frey family, who still live next door, Read says. It has changed hands a few times. Previously it was owned by a Chinese company that used it as a processing-for-export facility, and most recently ran as Apple Meadows Premium Beef.
Local Harvest is the coming together of two families, both with deep ties to the cattle raising and beef processing industries. The Nolan and Shickedanz families own the plant through their respective companies: Artisan Farms Direct Ltd and AS Galten Farms, Galten Land and Livestock, and Kawartha Meats Inc.
Read says the plant will start slow and build to full capacity as they fine-tune the plant. Currently, the site has a maximum kill capacity of 100 cattle or 300 lambs per day, however Read says that the entire processing and chill line is likely only up for half that. To begin, the plant will process far fewer than even that, as they work to improve product movement and ensure food safety parameters and processes, he says.
In the longer term, Read says that the company has plans to not only expand and upgrade the existing site, but potentially add a second facility in the future, in part as a means of risk management.
Listen below to the full interview with Brian Read of Local Harvest Ontario: