By Gina Kim
Sunday, May. 29, 2011

Gleaming stainless steel dominates the long-abandoned fertilizer and supply store along Highway 16, just before the road bends into the dusty town of Esparto.

Meat cases have been cleaned, shelving installed and rails – strong enough to support 800-pound carcasses hanging from the ceiling – line the labyrinth of sterile rooms.

Required inspections are all that’s left to make the Manas Ranch Old-Style Custom Meat Market the only USDA-inspected meat processor within a 100-mile radius when it opens in June, said owner Fred Manas.

“We will be able to ship our meat anywhere in the U.S.,” said Manas, who raises 100 Angus-Hereford grain-finished cows without hormones or antibiotics. “We will be able to sell our meat directly to customers.”

The market will process the beef Manas raises, meat raised by pig, lamb and goat farmers throughout the region and wild game bagged by hunters.

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