During the OALP Class XX trip to Israel, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, got the chance to visit with David Ankowe and Yair Ben Perez of the Moshav Eliyad about beef cattle operations in Israel.
The Moshav Eliyad sells beef from the farm and straight to the consumer in-store and online. They have their own butcher shop and restaurant in the Moshav Cooperative.
The Moshav Eliyad is a cooperative farmers’ village invented in Israel in the early part of the 20th century. As opposed to the more communal kibbutz, the members of the moshav preserve a relatively large degree of economic autonomy, but they do share various elements of mutual assistance.
David Ankowe, the Beef Grower Manager of the Moshav Eliyad, said the Moshav Eliyad cattle herd is built primarily around the British and Continental breeds.
They send their cattle to a slaughterhouse in Haifa, once per week, that follows Kosher laws, performs inspections, and has a veterinarian. Kosher laws only allow Jews to eat the front half of the cow, from the 13th thoracic vertebra forward, because the back half has large veins. The secular community will eat the back half. If they try to remove all the large veins, they lose 60% of the meat, but we were told that they will cut away certain tendons, which the Rabbi will certify the remainder as kosher.
“The way we do the kosher slaughter, is basically, you have to turn the cow upside down, slice the main artery with one swift clean cut- you are not allowed to repeat the cut, otherwise, it won’t be considered kosher- and then it will hang upside down to drain out all the blood and from there it will go further down the line to be dismantled,” said Yair Ben Perez, butcher and chef at Moshav Eliyad “Over there they will check the inside parts of the beef to make sure the animal was healthy when it was slaughtered. Otherwise, again, it won’t be kosher.”
Perez said at the Moshav Eliyad, they have the opportunity to age the product to create high-quality cuts for the consumer to be sold in their butcher shop, restaurant, and online.
Ankowe told the Class that they can sell the significant trim demanded by Kosher standards to a non Jewish customer- but usually for a small price- making the Kosher process necessary but very costly to their bottom line. He acknowledged that being able to butcher their own beef and market it direct to consumers has saved their beef operation.
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