While the weather was still nice, our group chose to dine outside on the patio of Nature Friends Clubhouse in Sierra Madre. Our special guest, Simon Caleb of Creston Valley Meats joined us and spoke after dinner about his business. Unlike most meat processors, Simon’s business handles every aspect of the operation, from slaughtering to curing. Setting apart Creston Valley Meats is also the fact that Simon processes all kinds of animals, both traditional and exotic, farmed and wild. Examples of his offerings include: rabbit, turkey, lamb, emu, duck, quail, pork sausage, beef jerky, chicken, eggs, and much more. Servicing a wide variety of small sustainable farms in the state of California, many of the animals he processes are grass-fed or pasture-raised. As a special selling point, Simon’s mark-up is considerably lower than that of other meat processors, so his products are not only high-quality but also very affordable. Simon even offers raw dog food made out of all kinds of animal parts, so nothing gets wasted. In fact, some of Simon’s most loyal customers are pet owners who have been ordering from him for years. They typically claim to have the lowest vet bills around, due to the biologically appropriate raw food (aka “barf”) they serve their beloved pets.
During the potluck, many of us tried some of Simon’s sausages contributed by one of our fellow members. The flavor was remarkable. They were tender, juicy, savory, and free of preservatives; in a word: delicious! One aspect of the business which Simon discussed was difficulty finding USDA inspectors who can handle such a wide variety of meats. Most inspectors specialize in just chicken or beef, but at Creston Valley, Simon does it all. This occasionally leads to some frustrations for processor and inspector alike, but as a very likeable, hard-working, reliable, and honest man, Simon is clearly adept at complying with sometimes very tedious government regulations. Keeping up with all the compliance codes can be a challenge, so the whole community is grateful to Simon for cultivating such good relations with the USDA.
Considering the uniqueness of his operation, the wide variety of farms, farmers, animals, and inspectors he works with, and his ability to keep up with a massive amount of red tape, Californians are very lucky to have Simon Caleb around. Simon’s products are available for order online and are delivered every other week to specific locations throughout California. We at the Weston A. Price Foundation are grateful for this most valuable service he offers to customers and farmers alike. By keeping his multi-faceted one-of-a kind operation running over many years, Simon is doing his part to support sustainable farming and keep his health- and budget-conscious customers very happy. Bravo, Simon! And thanks for making the 8-hour round-trip journey to be our speaker of the evening!