How the Bay Area’s last slaughterhouse dodged the axe


An hour north of San Francisco is where you’ll find the last slaughterhouse in the Bay Area. I drove right by it at first — it’s just a low-slung collection of one-story rectangular buildings and prefab trailers behind a high fence. It was sandwiched between a Bikram yoga franchise, a block of condos, and an outlet mall.  The Bikram franchise seemed to have taken the lack of signage outside the slaughterhouse as an open invitation, because someone had hung a large banner across the slaughterhouse fence that read “Certified Organic Yoga.”


Rancho is the only slaughterhouse that lies between the Sonoma and West Marin grasslands and the socially conscious eaters of San Francisco. Without it, the history of the local food movement in the Bay Area would have been very different. There were plenty of idealistic pastoralists willing to fight to protect the grasslands for agriculture instead of letting them…

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