Two young farmers from Orcutt are tapping into their agricultural roots. The pair recently started a ranching operation in rural San Luis Obispo County and deliver locally-raised meat to Central Coast doorsteps.
In a rolling green pasture in the Los Osos Valley, two red wattle pigs are settling into their new home.
Farmer Kyle Clement says the pasture is their natural environment and that is of the utmost importance to him.
"For me, it’s all about the treatment of the animal and making sure the animal is raised in a healthy, humane environment," Clement said.
A few years ago, Clement ditched his job with a tech start-up to run his own meat start-up.
He teamed up with his childhood 4-H friend Dylan Sweet to launch Central Coast Meats in January.
"We want to allow our customers to see the entire life cycle, from the time the animal is born to the time it’s harvested, butchered and packaged, shipped and delivered to your doorstep," he said. "We want to offer an inside look to that whole process.”
If you drive out to see wildflowers on Shell Creek Rd. this spring, you’ll likely see cattle roaming Central Coast Meats’ 6,000 acre ranch. If you listen closely, you might hear chirping chickens busy fertilizing the soil.
Clement calls his approach "regenerative agriculture." His goal is to leave the land better than he found it.
"How do we take these pastures and make them better but not just make them better by integrating fertilizers and all that, but using animals in a way that they were designed to," he said. "So, allowing cattle to graze off the top, allowing pigs to come through, root and till the soil and allowing chickens to come through and fertilize."
Arroyo Grande mom Stephanie Burkard says she values that approach.
"Knowing where [this meat] came from makes a world of difference, as a mom at least and for feeding my family quality foods, it’s a game changer," Burkard said.
"The convenience of getting your meat to your door is a whole other level as a mom, not having to go to the grocery store," Burkard said.
A box costs about $150 and for a growing number of Central Coast households, it’s a worthwhile price to eat local.
This Saturday, Central Coast Meats is inviting the community to a movie screening of "Farmers for America," a film that highlights issues facing young farmers in the current agriculture industry. Local wine, beer and a tri-tip barbecue dinner will also be served.