We are in a bad part of Missouri to be able to find a butcher that will process under USDA Inspection. We have tried 3 different processors and I am not satisfied with any of them. Unfortunately the closest processor is an hour and a half drive away. It usually takes 2 trips for each batch, but when they make mistakes it takes 3, and that really eats at the profits.
The first processor we used is over capacity and can’t keep up the pace without making mistakes on orders. They forgot to season the sausage, couldn’t find our customers order so they could pay over the phone, completely misinformed one of my customers of their order, and forgot to give us all of our order when we picked it up.
On to processor #2. We sell Ossabaw Island Pigs for custom slaughter, not the usual pig that they see around here. I get that, but please be professional about it. They called my customer and told him he probably wouldn’t get any bacon because the pig was too small, all without even looking at the carcass. When I called to figure out what was going on the person told me no bacon as well, eventually I ended up being scolded by the owner. The short of it, I was told that my pigs were pot bellies( 3 times) and that it was not their fault that they misinformed my customer. No customer relations at all, I was not impressed. I ended up cancelling 2 other pigs I was going to take there the next week. Oops, I forgot to call and tell them I cancelled. I am sure that they didn’t miss some measly old “pot bellies” or any future pigs that I may have taken there.
Processor #3. I really like this processor other than the drive. They are really nice to work with, but they have also made some mistakes. They didn’t process my bacon under inspection on one order so it was all labeled “not for sale”. Another order had all jalapeno cheddar brats instead of mostly original brats with a few jalapeno. Plus this last time it has taken a month and a half to get my bacon back.
I am running out of options. I believe I have exhausted my choices for processors without traveling 2 plus hours in each direction. I would just like to be able to get my pork processed without drama and in a timely manner.
I hate having to rely on outside vendors when quality control is of importance. It seems that every aspect of quality is out of my control, being timely is out of my control, and I am tired of apologizing to my customers for my vendors faults. The only option I see to regain control, is to look into what parts of the processing can we feasibly take on ourselves.
Getting into meat processing is a costly undertaking. Plus the regulatory aspects of processing meat to be sold are daunting. I have been racking my brain, I know it can be done, but more research is needed. It looks like with my current situation I will need to have them killed under inspection at the very least, then find a way to cut and wrap under a retail exemption.
Why must I do this?
Because others can’t seem to handle their jobs!! — At least not to the standards that I want for my customers.
It may take a few headaches and some spilled blood ( from hard work), but I will find a way!!