July 6, 2011
J&R Meats Acquires White Stone Meat Packing;
Assumes Operation of Riverside Dr. Facility in Paso Robles
J&R Natural Meats, with locations in Paso Robles and Templeton, California, has acquired the assets of White Stone Meat Packing Company in Paso Robles. J&R assumed operation of the USDA-inspected meat packing and sales facility at 3450 Riverside Dr. on July 1, 2011. J&R moved from its current Paso Robles location at 1124 Black Oak Dr. to White Stone (formerly Paso Meat and Sausage) and opened for business there on July 5. Several White Stone employees will stay on with J&R Meats.
J&R assumes the long term lease of the facility, which is owned by Hearst Corporation. In a related deal, J&R will lease and operate a pioneering mobile harvest unit (MHU) from the Central Coast Ag Cooperative. The MHU will facilitate the local, humane slaughter of livestock, often on the ranches where the animals are born and raised.
J&R Natural Meats is a local custom meat processor and retailer founded in April 2010 by partners Jim Fogle, his son Ryan Perske and Laird Foshay. Jim Fogle is a familiar face to local ranchers, hunters, fair auction buyers and meat consumers. He brings twenty years of experience as a butcher and sausage maker to J&R. Ryan Perske is an experienced butcher who is managing the operation of the thriving new J&R retail location at the Trader Joe’s shopping center on Rossi Rd. in Templeton, which opened in April. Laird Foshay is a local rancher (Adelaida Springs Ranch) and winegrower (Rangeland Wines), with 28 years of experience as a small company CEO and entrepreneur.
For Fogle, assuming the operation of the 10,000 square foot meat processing and retail facility on Riverside Drive will be a coming home of sorts. He operated the plant in 2008 and 2009 as an employee of Paso Meat and Sausage. Fogle points out that “this is a challenging step up from our butcher shop, but we can do a better job and serve more customers at the Riverside Drive plant. Bigger coolers there will allow us to accept most of the fair animals, as well as serve local hunters and ranchers. With USDA certification and the MHU, we can support ranchers who want to sell packaged meats to consumers and wholesale channels.”
Foshay became interested in the meat business when he began selling his Adelaida Springs Ranch grass-fed beef directly to consumers through an innovative Beef Club membership. “Starting from the grass roots, we noticed how enthusiastic and appreciative our customers are about locally raised meats,” Foshay commented. “They like the vivid flavors and finer texture of pasture-finished meats-not to mention the health benefits. People are seeking more information about their food. It gives them peace of mind, as well as a connection to the land and their neighbors. San Luis Obispo county and the whole central coast has a great tradition in livestock production, sausage making and regional foods in general. We think local, natural meat production and processing offers the same kind of economic growth and cultural enrichment that our local wine industry has encouraged. We’d like to help more ranchers tap into this growing market for truly local, natural meats.”