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Packing Meat

Several days each month I spend at the butcher shop bagging up volume orders (half and whole lambs, half and whole hogs, and 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and whole beef). The ladies at the butcher shop do a wonderful job of tightly wrapping each package in a layer of heavy plastic and white butcher paper. Each package is labeled with its contents and put on the tray with the customer name. Each tray holds 40-60 pounds of meat and each cart holds 6 trays, so the five carts pictured here held about 1500 pounds of meat. This batch was all pork so that means there were the non-seasoned cuts like roasts, ribs, chops and ground pork. Plus the seasoned ground meat like sage sausage, bratwurst and Italian sausage. And of course, the smoked and cure products: ham and bacon. The picture in the bottom left is a cart in the freezer. It is cold in there! About -20 degrees. This very low temperature freezes the meat quickly and helps maintain quality and food safety. The bottom right photo shows the bagged meat on its way to the freezer on my truck. A half hog is 60-70 pounds and fills three brown paper grocery sacks (about 3 cubic feet).

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