TICONDEROGA — One of the few animal processing plants in the Adirondack Park has opened in Ticonderoga.
Adirondack Meat Company’s temporary operating certificate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows only 10 animals a day for now, Co-Owner/Operator Peter Ward told the Press-Republican, but the permanent license will cover up to 50 a day.
The facility is located at 30 Commerce Drive in the Ticonderoga Commerce Park, and the 7,500-square-foot facility started operations about two months ago.
The $1.4 million plant was built using a $900,000 loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The facility definitely fills a need, Ward said.
“We’re getting local farmers, local producers keyed into it. The building was developed to handle 50 animals a day; not just cattle, but pigs, hogs, goats, sheep.”
The industry defines a pig as less than 120 pounds; hogs weigh more than that.
‘GRASS-FED IN DEMAND’
Ward said they’ve been getting inquiries from all over northern New York and Vermont since they opened.
“We expect the price of beef to skyrocket this summer. We have 11 people working here now; by end of summer we’re looking at 17 to 20.”
The Wall Street Journal reported on March 18 that in February, the price of beef had its biggest increase since November 2003. The hike is being blamed on a recent drought, a severe winter and high feed and fuel prices.
Ward said producers who raise grass-fed animals on organic farms are in demand.
“They’ll have the world by the tail if they raise a good, local product. People are buying it.”
‘FEED A FAMILY’
He said Adirondack Meat Company plans to market its own brand of prime ground beef at some point.
“We’re trying to create a signature ground beef that restaurants will like. It’ll be brisket and short-rib meat.”
Ward said they’d like to see people buy an animal from a local farmer and have it brought in.
“This works best if a family has a freezer, then they get an animal from a producer and let us process it for them.”
He said they’ll do that type of work for 95 cents a pound, and the resulting meat will feed a family for a long time.
On Wednesday, Adirondack Meat Company hosted a meeting of the Essex County Farm Bureau and offered guided tours of the facility.
Harvest Floor Supervisor Robert Jennings conducted one of the tours, all of which were packed with farmers.
“The facility is very clean, very sanitary,” he told participants as they walked through the plant and past arrays of stainless-steel equipment.
“We’re very humane. There’s a USDA inspector on the premises; the USDA inspector monitors everything.”
Jennings said everything they do is governed by USDA guidelines.
He said they carefully avoid any cross-contamination between types of animals, and to switch from one species to another they must first shut down to clean and sanitize the facility.
Adirondack Meat Company is certified for both slaughter and processing of animals, and it packages meat as steaks, ground beef, sausage, ribs and roasts. It can also pick up animals if the producer can’t bring them in.
Ward said his company can connect farmers with stores, restaurants or individuals who want to purchase bulk meat. It can provide grass-fed, all-natural beef and pork to restaurants and stores in the area, he said, and they also have a storefront at the plant that sells meat directly to local residents.
Ward and his wife, Denise, own and operate the plant, and he said it was his dream for some time.
“I love it. It’s cool.”
Email Lohr McKinstry:firstname.lastname@example.org
OPEN HOUSES COMING UP
Tour Adirondack Meat Company: 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, March 26, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3.
Call 585-2333 to preregister, as space is limited.
Learn more about the firm at: www.adkmeatco.com
Or check it out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/adkmeatco