I am writing in support of Uproot Ashland, out of both personal and professional interest.
I live and raise my own animals carefully in the hills outside of Talent. I well understand attention to optimal animal burden on a given piece of land and the concern about water contamination. My animals graze uphill of our well and our limited in number by the size of our hilly pasture. Like Uproot, our land is not suitable for grazing large numbers of large herbivores on fields of grass, and it takes a burden of personal responsibility to be safe for all concerned. I am beyond impressed at Uproot’s careful matching of animal number, land size, watershed and erosion concerns.
My personal admiration of their farming techniques is only surpassed by my culinary enjoyment of their product. If you have never tasted fresh, well-raised pork — the best meat I have ever had.
I am also writing, however, as a medical professional practicing in Ashland. I have patients from the entire Rogue Valley and beyond, and I make nutritional evaluations and recommendations for all my patients. Uproot offers a unique meat choice: free-range poultry and pork are markedly superior to conventionally raised products. The quality of their product could only be improved by access to local processing, which would enhance product flavor as well as nutritional content. Environmental impact of long transport to Roseburg processing would be eliminated, a benefit for the planet.
The only remaining concern is of course the local impact on their neighbors’ safety and quality of life. For this reason, Uproot will never be able to provide meat for all of Southern Oregon! The owners are rightfully matching the size of their operation with the capacity of their land. Their devotion to an on-site meat processing facility is only surpassed by their attention to details of safety and sanity for all. I personally wish they had the capacity for greater production numbers, but they will wisely scale animal herd size as well as facility size to match the natural resources of their property. If only all land were managed so thoughtfully, our world would be in a better place.
I truly hope that their neighbors come to see the Uproot endeavor as the great gift I believe it is — a gift for those who would eat pork and poultry, and a gift to the future of the land they are carefully holding in protection for its present and future health.
Deborah Gordon, M.D.