Our Process from Farm to Plate
“My goal has always been to provide my community with the same quality meat that my family consumes and nothing less,” Damian Rivera
Applying Traditions from Yesterday to Today
I started working at my grandparents’ farm in Mexico when I was seven years old. Being the oldest of four kids with a single mother, I had to learn different skills fast. I started helping the local carnicero (butcher) by the time I was 10 years old. I was able to sacrifice my first hog and learned the proper way of sacrificing a living animal. My mother taught me that every animal has feelings, just as much I do, and that we had to treat the hog, steer, chicken, or turkey with respect. This is why I have felt a deep connection to and understanding of where good food comes from since a very young age. Upon arrival in this country, however, I became accustomed to only purchasing meat from large grocery stores that came packaged on a styrofoam plate with plastic wrap. The whole time I longed for the personal connection I used to have with the local carincero back home. In Mexico I knew where my food came from and I personally knew the carnicero who sold the meat to my family. My experience was so vastly different in this country.
In the summer of 2013, I sacrificed a goat raised by a local farmer to make birria for my family. This action reignited my memories from my past and my passion for a deep connection to my food. At that moment, I felt like I was at home again after many years of being absent. I felt a calling to provide my community with high quality and locally grown, sustainable meat. To this aim, I launched Damian’s Craft Meats because it makes me feel very happy to know where my meat comes from, how it lived, how it was sacrificed and how it was used, leaving little to waste. I’m incredibly proud of establishing our company as a well-respected, local meat packing operation. We provide high quality, local, grass-fed meat products honoring the humane treatment of livestock in life and death.
From Farm to Plate
“Animals raised for food must be treated with kindness and respect,” says Bill Niman of Niman Ranch. This creates better meat quality. Our guidelines and standards call for grass-fed beef that was raised by local farmers who are committed to high standards of care, without the use of growth-promoting hormones or steroids. As we do business with our local farmer partners, we have faithfully applied our values and commitment to the humane treatment of animals, transparency, kindness and respect. To this end, we have a sophisticated system of tracking the livestock so that the animal that enters our facility is the same animal that leaves in packaging – our guarantee. We intentionally incorporate the recommendations of Temple Grandin in the process of sacrificing to ensure the humane treatment and welfare of the livestock. Butcher Tom Mylan, a former Whole Foods worker who has become the “unlikely herald of meat morality” says, “If you’re going to kill an animal, then it seems only polite to use the whole thing.” We agree and make use of close to 100% of every animal we sacrifice, practically reducing the waste to nothing. Our goal is eventually to produce zero waste and we are successfully on track to reach that goal.
A Cut for Any Occasion
We want our customers to be able to prepare any dish, including dishes inspired by the menu at Mario Batali’s restaurant Casa Mono, without the necessity of buying a ticket to New York City to taste such delectable treats! Our mission is to celebrate all parts of the animals we process, in all their glory, returning to a closer connection with our food. We offer traditional cuts of meat and customized cuts as well. We customize any order for any occasion! We also offer unique products, some of which include our house-made chorizo, breakfast pork sausage, beef tongue, beef liver, mountain oysters, and oxtail.
There is a Chinese proverb that I strongly agree with that says, “One generation plants the trees and another generation gets the shade.” I feel an urgent commitment to leave our planet in better shape than we found it – a serious challenge that we all face together. One way to make a positive impact is by demonstrating environmental stewardship in everything we do. We keep this at the forefront of our business plan, starting by using the entire animal, wasting close to nothing, with the eventual goal of zero waste. Wecontinue to honor our commitment to the land by using sustainable agricultural practices to raise, sacrifice, and process the meat, packing and selling our products in environmentally-friendly recycled and compostable packaging, installing solar panels to create energy to heat water, and utilizing energy efficient equipment. We know that we can always do more, which is why we are constantly learning new ways to improve every day.
Putting the “We” in Welcoming
I am dedicated to serving my community, especially those who have historically lacked access to local, healthy, nutritious, and high quality food that is devoid of hormones and steroids raised in a sustainable way and not genetically modified. Because I know first-hand what it means to be discriminated against while working, my vision for this company from the very beginning included building a dynamic and rewarding work environment where employees would thrive and find fulfillment and joy in their work. Recognizing that the food industry lacks many leaders of color, I intentionally recruited, hired, trained, and learned from diverse individuals who were as passionate about sharing a deep connection with their food as I was. As a result, our employees are talented, skilled and bring a wealth of knowledge, ability and passion to their positions, adding incredible value to our company. We are skilled and intentional about utilizing best practices for building and sustaining a diverse workforce and cultivating an inclusive culture. Our company has grown significantly, and we continue to innovate new ways to make locally grown sustainable meat more accessible to our entire community.
“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he’s working or playing. To him, it’s always doing both.”