Charcuterie processing plant gets smoking in Kamloops
A Kamloops butcher shop and deli is expanding to create a charcuterie processing plant earlier this month, and four full time staff are busy making sausage, and drying, curing, and smoking a variety of meats.
The manufacturing facility is an extension of the Chop N Block, owned by Brody and Heather White, who started putting the facility together a year and a half ago.
The 2,900 square foot plant is tucked away out of view in the Southgate Industrial Park and is composed of brand new pieces of stainless steel equipment, some from Germany, to help them make fine textured meats and smokes and dries product to be sold through the store and other retail outlets in the area.
A chef by trade, White said the idea came naturally.
“I am the person who makes the charcuterie,” he said. “I have been a cook all my life, working in restaurants since I was fourteen, and charcuterie is something I have always enjoyed eating. Then I started learning about it. Our society has adopted charcuterie as a course on its own, including cheeses and pickled foods, but traditionally charcuterie literally means cooked meat.”
White said he and his wife have had the idea for a long time and when they faced a growing need for more space at Chop N Block, a business they took over in 2014, they put the plan into motion.
The main meats being processed are beef, pork, bison and a variety of kinds of poultry, something they source locally, although they process other meats, such as elk, in smaller amounts.
“All our beef comes from a ranch in Knouff Lake,” White said. “We bring in four beef every week from there. Our pork comes from Salmon Arm and our poultry comes from the Fraser Valley. We source our bison from Alberta because there are not too many local bison producers.”
The plant can expand to eight employees in time, and White estimates he will be able to make four times as much as his current amount of meat production in the first year.
“Right now two people are making sausage and trimming meat,” he said. “One person is packaging and doing inventory and shipping, and one person goes back and forth as needed. We use some important pieces of mechanized equipment and the machine that does the smoking is pretty technical.”
White said they will soon be able to supply restaurants in the province with charcuterie, but it is a challenge to have a future vision right now.
“We are suddenly here and we have to deal with tomorrow,” he said. “The plan is to fill up capacity. We are working with our current customers to expand our offerings. We want to get into the food service and catering industry and distribute our product in the lower mainland.”
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