Briton Laslow, a meat cutter, works at the Adirondack Meat Co. in Ticonderoga. The meat processing plant started operations Feb. 12.
A meat processing plant in Ticonderoga is now operational. Adirondack Meat Co., located in the Ti Industrial Park, started production Feb. 12.
The $1.4 million, 7,500 square feet facility employs 10 full-time workers with plans for additional employees, a smokehouse and a retail store in the coming weeks.
“I’m very pleased with the way things are going,” Pete Ward, Adirondack Meat Co. owner, said. “We’re taking things one step at a time, but we’re off to a very good start.”
Ward said his company will connect farmers with customers, whether it be stores, restaurants or individuals interesting in purchasing bulk meat.
“We have plenty of farmers with animals available for use,” Ward said. “That means we’ll have fresh, local, all-natural beef and pork.”
The firm will provide Adirondack-grown, grass-fed, organic beef and pork to restaurants and stores within an 85-mile radius, Ward said. There are also plans for internet sales of beef and pork along with a storefront at the plant that will sell directly to local customers.
Meat from the Adirondack Meat Co. is fresh, not frozen, Ward said.
“Nothing will be frozen unless a customer requests it,” he said. “This is all fresh meat.”
Ward believes his prices will be competitive. While large distributors and box stores deal with farmers, slaughterhouses, processing plants, packaging, distribution and transportation, Adirondack Meat Co. will do everything on location.
“We’re cutting out at least three middle men and doing everything locally,” Ward said. “I believe we’ll be competitive with any big box store.”
A few major manufacturers, like Smithfield and Cargill, account for 85 percent of the meat sold in the U.S., Ward said, keeping prices high. As an independent firm, Adirondack Meat Co. can keep its prices lower, he said.
Besides supplying beef and pork, Adirondack Meat Co. is now developing its own brand of ground beef.
“We’re developing a prime ground beef,” Ward said. “It’ll be brisket and short rib meat. We’re trying to create a signature ground beef restaurants will like. We’ve contacted several restaurants and they’re sampling it now.”
Ward said other specialty meats, such as sausages, are being planned.
Permits for the Adirondack Meat Co. allow for the harvest of 10 animals a day. The plant was constructed to handle 50 animals a day as Ward plans for future expansion.
The plant is nearly all stainless steel and meets all federal and state requirements, Ward said. It has approval from the Adirondack Park Agency, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and others. It has also been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We have a USDA inspector on site at all times,” Ward said. “He’s constantly monitoring our sanitary conditions, the humane treatment of the animals and the food processing area.”
The inspector is an employee of the USDA with his own office and entrance to the building. He does not work for Adirondack Meat Co.
“USDA has been very helpful,” Ward said. “They’ve made some good suggestions to help us get up and running.”
Employees at the plant have also received USDA-approved training and certification.
Adirondack Meat Co. is environmentally friendly, Ward stressed. There are no odors because animal renderings are immediately frozen and sold for use in pharmaceutical products. Hides are shipped to tanneries. Nothing will be landfilled.
Adirondack Meat Co. is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ward expects his retail store to be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The firm can be contacted by calling 585-2333 (585-BEEF) or online at www.adkmeatco.com
Adirondack Meat Co. is the first U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified meat-processing facility inside the Adirondack Park.
Ward praised local, state and federal agencies for their assistance in the project.
“Everyone has been very helpful,” Ward said. “The USDA, APA, everyone. Bill Grinnell (Ticonderoga supervisor), Deb Malaney (former Ti supervisor, the town board — everyone has been supportive.”