When we chose to take our farming from hobby to business, we knew we needed the support of other small business owners to help us with the parts of the process we aren’t equipped to handle. Our goal was to partner with small, local businesses who are as committed to ethical, humane treatment of our livestock as we are.
Their jobs can be thankless. Long hours doing hard and heavy work, and not much recognition from consumers for their role in the process. To bring appreciation and awareness to the other side of the curtain, we’re introducing you to two of our partners that we simply could not do without.
Karen Amadori, Hauling Ass Trucking
When we were looking for a partner to help us haul our livestock to processing, we wanted to find someone who knew the impacts that careful and calm loading had on our animals. Enter Karen Amadori, owner of Hauling Ass Trucking. She grew up riding along with her father when he would pick up livestock loads, observing his mannerisms and tactics when handling animals, and learning the tricks of the trade long before she held a driver’s license. After graduating from high school, she took over the business and has been hauling ever since.
Karen is all about humane treatment when loading. Cows and pigs aren’t exactly used to riding in trailers, so it’s imperative to have the right tools – and the right temperament – to manage and minimize the stress on the animals.
But it’s about more than her work. Karen is a single mother of three kids in elementary school, and she’s as committed to them as she is to her job. Willing to haul 7 days a week, her children often do what she did growing up; they ride along in the truck as she makes her runs. A self-employed, independent business owner, Karen told us her favorite part of her job is the people she gets to work with (especially us farmers!). Her great sense of humor and unmatched work ethic are hard to beat.
Karen is the type of business woman that, when her truck was down for two months, her customers responded by holding their animals until she was back on the road. They refused to hire anyone else. “I enjoy my job,” Karen said when we asked her to talk with us about her business. “I love my kids, and I respect everyone I work for and with.
“When I graduated, I thought I would be milking cows for a living. I had no idea I would end up becoming a trucker hauling livestock instead. I’m asked to drive in tight spots and at times get stuck and need to be pulled out. Sometimes it takes blood, sweat, tears and cussing that would make a sailor blush, but eventually the … animals … see it my way and load up. Through it all I love what I do… I’m honored to be your livestock hauler.”
Just like hauling our animals, the business that processes and prepares our products for sale had to be one of integrity. When we found Sylvester Quality Meats, we knew we had found our partners.
Owners Veronica and Rick Mead are the 3rd generation owners of the property Sylvester’s sits on. Originally a dairy farm, the family milked up to 50 head of cattle in the 1980’s and tried many variations of dairy production to try to stay profitable. With the eventual aggregation of dairy farms into larger and larger operations, it was no longer practical for them to continue milking cows. They tried their hand a number of creative enterprises (including ostrich raising and auto repair) before realizing the need of local farmers and hunters for a small beef and venison processing plant.
They made the leap and converted the old milk house into the original Sylvester Quality Meats. Over 30 years later, their little milk house has been incorporated into the addition of a much larger processing operation, and the family works hard to meet the demand of their local customers who want a clean, safe, and USDA-inspected processing facility.
It’s a real family affair at Sylvester’s. The whole family – including nieces and nephews – play a part in the success of the business. And they make sure that each employee is as dedicated as they are to the humane treatment of the animals they process as they deliver quality products to the local community.
When animals are transferred from the farm to the processing facility, they experience stress and shock, no matter how gently they are handled. Sylvesters’ practices are designed to ensure the animals are processed in a calm and relaxed manner, and they even encourage animals to be dropped off several days in advance so they can recover from the shock of transportation. Ensuring a low stress level for the animals is critical to assuring the highest quality taste and tenderness.
We couldn’t do what we do without the effort of so many of our partners and their incredible, ethical, and high-class services. We’re honored to be in the same league as Hauling Ass Trucking, Sylvester’s Quality Meats, and the many other small, local businesses we partner with to bring you the food you know.