Mar-Val expands into sausage business
- May 11, 2016
By Nick Baptista
Valley Springs’ Mar-Val Food Store has added a new line of products – fresh sausages made on site.
But that’s only half the story. The new sausage processing facility will serve not only the store in Valley Springs, but Mar-Val’s six other locations.
It was a major investment, said Valley Springs Store Director Kelly Petersen, and is approaching its first month of operation.
“Things are going real smooth,” she said.
Three store employees have received training for certification to run the facility, and Petersen said plans call for the product line to expand into smokehouse items such as beef jerky, beef sticks and hams.
“We’re always looking at what else we can offer to do to meet the needs of our customers,” she said.
The sausage processing facility was the brainchild of Mar-Val President Steve Rodacker and Meat Supervisor Lonnie Edwards.
In addition to buying the equipment and building a separate room inside the store’s storage area, it has been an investment to train the people to run the facility to the highest standards, Petersen said.
The facility is state regulated and regularly inspected by the state.
“We have to be very meticulous,” Petersen said. “Charts need to be kept as everything is recorded and submitted. It has been a great learning process.”
And no one, not even Petersen the store’s director, can go into the sausage processing facility unless they are certified.
“It’s very strict,” she added.
She had praise for the state inspector who guided the store through the process.
“He was wonderful.”
One of the store’s sausage makers is Kody Kidd. He had been a checker at the Valley Springs store for 10 years, and one year at Colfax, before training to be certified as a process inspector.
The process starts with grinding up regular pork butts and adding seasoning, he said. They use recipes approved by the state.
Once he’s mixed the sausage and put it in the casing, it goes into a large smoker that can handle up to 200 pounds at a time. The sausage takes another three hours in the smoker before it is ready for sale.
“We’re following everything to a T,” Petersen said. “We follow it to the code and produce a quality product.”
She’s looking forward to the growth of the smokehouse and bringing back items such the fresh beef sticks and jerky, which are always community favorites.
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