July 12, 2017

Subject: Elk Venison Distribution Dates confirmed

Please visit our website for confirmed distribution dates.

The order map has also been uploaded so please check it out to see if you can pick up for someone else in your area.  If you are not able to make it to pickup, you can also use the map to see if someone can pickup for you.  Make sure to scroll down for the details of each order.

July 1, 2017

Subject: BRDF order questions/concerns

I am sorry for the long email, but I want to address questions or concerns that some members may have  had with the new vendor order for BRDF. 
I had a very lengthy phone call with the owner today for a few reasons; to work out some of the kinks with our first order so that we can ensure a smoother order next time, get some details on butchering/processing  and parts used, request sourcing for some additional items (wish list) for next order and possibly adding a few satellite locations (Southern CA and El Paso). The additional locations would be more work for Bridget and I to manage, but it will allow us to  get to the max lbs to order more frequently for the max discount.  We can’t promise anything just yet because managing the group orders is very time consuming so currently it's still just a discussion.
Sometimes truckers will stack pallets to fit more.  Some of our pallets were partial, so they doubled them up inside the truck.  The pallets/cases were not removed from the frozen truck, however a few of our cases did not make it back onto our pallet and were inadvertently delivered to someone else by mistake.  (I would love to see the look on the restaurant owner’s face who received a few cases of green tripe).  I have already contacted the members who had missing cases.  All replacement cases will be shipped frozen; I will be forwarding on your shipping confirmation next week.  He assured me that they are working with the shipper to ensure that no pallets are unwrapped during shipment.  This will ensure that there should be no missing cases on future orders.
Going forward, to give us peace of mind that our order was kept frozen during transit, they will be including temperature indicators in select cases on each pallet. These are small, single-use devices that will  change color if exposed to extreme temperatures.  We will notify ACS to check these upon receipt/inventory and Bridget and I will check when distributing at TFS.  A similar device is included in medication shipped to my home (see photo).  
Because I was not clear on the green tripe products they offered, I did verify that the green tripe grind is just ground green tripe; it is not a blend so it has no organ nor bone.
Regarding ground bone in the blends:
All ground blends, with the exception of the green tripe, contains bone.  Some of the ground bone pieces are larger and can be seen or felt in the blends and some is ground so fine, that it is powder.  I want to assure you, it is NOT bone meal.  It is ground bone from the same carcasses being ground for the blend.  All parts of the ground blends are from the same source.  The bone for larger animals is removed, ground separately, then mixed into the blend in proper ratios.  The same bone removed during butchering is added back during mixing.  I was incorrect in a previous post when I said they sourced ground bone for some blends; they have sourced ground bone but not for the ground blends, it was for special orders not related to the products  we order. 
Smaller animals, such as chicken, turkey and rabbit, are ground whole on site.  This carcass has the organs, feet and heads removed (rabbit also is skinned) and the entire carcass is ground.  This means that the ground blend contains the entire carcass, then the organs are added in the ratio we specified in our custom blend.  Some other raw pet food products will source only one part for ground blends.  For example, chicken quarters are cheaper than chicken breast, so some companies might make their ground blends using only dark meat chicken quarters.  BRDF uses the entire carcass so it will contain all parts; for poultry: wings, thighs, legs, breast and back.
For larger animals, they grind the meat, bone and organs separately, then the professional butcher weighs and combines them in the ratio specified for our custom blend.  They butcher all of the carcasses on site to remove the bone.  The meat is then put in the deep freeze (-40° F) for specified time (I forget how long but it is in accordance with federal requirements).  They remove the frozen meat, use large saws to cut them into bricks and grind the meat frozen.  The butcher ensures that the proper amount of ground bone, meat and organs is combined in large paddle mixers.  They process batches in 250, 500 and 1000 lbs batches to ensure ratios are correct.
For beef, they grind the rib bones for the blends; the larger beef bones are cut and packaged as recreational bones.
For lamb, bison and goat, they cannot grind those bones using their current equipment, so they process the carcass (remove bones), freeze meat, cut into bricks for grinding meat later, then they send the bones  from the carcass to a local grinding house to grind the bones.  The same bones removed from the carcass are returned to them, ground, to be mixed into the blends.  Since bones contain marrow, the ground bones are a combination of fine ground bone and marrow.  Due to this, the bone is not powder, but more like a thick, gelatinous mix.  This is why some of the larger animal mixes have a sticky texture.  He said that if the marrow was not included, the texture would be different but that would mean that the bone was processed to remove marrow and thus not be fresh. 
BRDF aims to stick as close to prey model raw as possible while offering it in a ground blend.  He assured me that SAR blends only contain kidney and liver as organ meats and no lung is used in any of the blends as either muscle or organ meat.
Hopefully this addresses the questions or concerns regarding different textures for the ground blends.  Since most of us typically handle ground meat with no bones or organs, and most of the raw ground pet food we have seen in the past contains different ingredients such as fruit or veggies which have a higher  water content, the blend is going to look and feel different than the BRDF ground blends.
Now onto hearts:
Some who ordered turkey hearts may be questioning why they are cubes (I did so I questioned why the hearts are cubes).  Here is the reason:  Some of the single ingredient items (heart, liver, etc) are available whole or ground.  The turkey hearts are whole, not ground, however they try to reduce the # of times meat is defrosted.  To process the turkey hearts, they receive them fresh not frozen.  By law, all meat must be frozen to a set temp for a set amount of time.  So the turkey hearts went into the deep freeze upon receipt.  Typically, they would remove them from the freezer, defrost slightly, then package them into 3 lb bags.  However they were trying to meet our shipping deadline, so they removed the turkey hearts, which by this point had frozen together and used a band saw to cut the large frozen chunks of turkey hearts into  cubes.  So technically they are ‘whole’ because they are not ‘ground’.  He assured me next time, they will be whole turkey hearts, not cubes, if we allow enough time for our order to be processed and shipped.
And lastly beef hearts.  He assured me that the beef hearts that some received which appeared to have been defrosted, did not happen in transit.  As I mentioned above, they try to freeze/defrost all of the meat that they process only once.  The beef heart is received fresh not frozen.  They butcher them upon receipt to remove all pericardial fat before they are frozen.  They could freeze it, then remove and cut it into cubes, instead they cut the heart into cubes at the same time they butcher to remove the fat.  They portion into 3 lb bags and place in the freezer.  This is why you see some of the bags of beef heart cubes frozen together with some fluid frozen in the bottom of the bags because the bags of beef hearts tend to settle and freeze.  He assured me this all occurred in a controlled environment and was not defrosted during shipment.
Hopefully this addresses everyones concerns.  Feel free to email if you have any specific issues that require admin assistance.

July 8, 2017

Subject: Tripe Order Status

For some reason our tripe order is no where near its normal size.  Phoenix only has 15 cases ordered (contrasted with 69 cases ordered for our March order).  Tucson is a little better with 41 cases ordered (contrasted with 58 in March).  Shipping 15 cases to Phoenix will be very cost prohibitive, so if you plan to place an order, please do so soon so we can tell if this order is going to be successful.

We haven't sent invoices out yet because shipping and storage fees are questionable at this point.  We will send invoices as soon as we know if this order will be possible.

September 25, 2017

Subject: Changes with SAR

New Email: SouthernAZRaw@gmail.com

We have some important changes to announce.  Both SAR admins are currently planning out of state moves, however we would like to see SAR continue operating and we are both willing to continue supporting its efforts as long as we get volunteers to handle all the Tucson distributions.  
With both of us being busy moving, we will not be opening another order until December 1st and it will be with the BRDF vendor.  We have had continued communications with them and although our last order had some issues, they have assigned a new account manager to us and are promising to do a better job of communicating with us.  They also have some new products and we will share the product and price list with everyone probably in early November sometime.  We will also be posting a volunteer list for the Tucson distribution in Nov sometime and we'll be looking for 2 people who are capable of doing an inventory of the pallet and distributing the cases to members (more details to follow).
Thanks for your patience and we'll be in touch before the Dec 1st BRDF order!

July 27, 2017

Subject: BRDF order schedule

We currently have no immediate plans to open another order with BRDF (due to communication and logistical issues).  
If anything changes, we will make sure to update our members.  Unfortunately, we have no more details at this time.

Southern AZ Raw