by Bea Peterson
Greg Stratton has taken the plunge. What started out as a part time business last fall has become his full time job. He has purchased all the necessary equipment, and construction is almost complete on his processing facility next to his home. Stratton does on site slaughtering of farm animals raised for meat, then brings the animals to his Pine Valley Rd. building for custom butchering. He also processes wild animals.
Stratton began advertising last October. “The business was better than I ever dreamed it would be,” he said. He was surprised at the number of people who raised their own meat for the first time. “Some of them won’t do it again,” he said, “some will.” He believes folks are becoming more conscious of what they are eating. His customers also appreciate the fact he will slaughter the animals at their site.
Stratton said he grew up raising animals for food. “My grandfather did it and my father did it,” he said. “It’s part of the life cycle and part of my heritage.” He has been butchering animals for years.
When he decided to go into the business he spent a lot of time with Bob Hoffman of Cherry Plain. Hoffman was in the butchering business for over 20 years. Stratton purchased his truck and all his equipment. Stratton also spent some time in Eagle Bridge with Steve Farrara learning more about cutting and smoking meats.
He said both men were extremely helpful when he went to them for advice on setting up his butchering facility. The operation will begin at the back end of the building where the slaughtered animals will be brought in. Then they will be moved through other portions of the building for cutting, smoking and packaging and end up in a freezer near the customer entrance to the building. He also has a vacuum packer, a dehydrator for venison, equipment for making bacon and stuffing sausage. There is a smoke room for hams and bacon.
He has a separate room for butchering wild game such as deer, bear and moose. He figures a good winter project will be making venison products such as smoked sausage, kielbasa, pepperoni and jerky. “It’s one stop shopping for the customer,” he said.
He slaughters and butchers lambs, pigs, beef and goats for his customers. He will not be set up as a USDA facility to sell to the public.
Stratton expects the new building to be completed by mid-September. He will be getting the word out to people by, among other things, talking to them at the Cummington Fair in Massachusetts and the Chatham Fair. “There is no one that offers this service to the South of us,” he said.
For more information about Stratton’s on-site slaughtering and custom butchering call 518-686-8299.
by Bea Peterson