New owners of a small slaughterhouse in eastern Ontario not only ensured that local farmers continue to provide essential services but also turned their facility into an informal school for up-and-coming butchers.
Located in Stone Mills, Ontario, Quinn’s Meats was on sale for several years before being acquired by Kara and Darold Enright in February 2021. The couple are not new to the meat industry, but taking over the slaughterhouse turned out to be a steep learning curve, says Kara Enright.
“For the first few months, I have to look at everyone and admit that I asked myself, ‘What did we did?'” She said. “We definitely questioned our decision several times.”
After 45 years in business, the previous owner, Brian Quinn, decided to retire and placed the slaughterhouse and neighbouring deli store up for sale.
“We assumed, ‘Oh well, someone will take over,'” Kara explained.
The new owners of a small slaughterhouse in eastern Ontario have not only ensured the continuation of a vital service for local farmers, but they have also converted their facility into an informal training ground for budding butchers.
Quinn’s Meats in Stone Mills, Ont., had been on the market for a few years until being purchased by Kara and Darold Enright in February 2021, much to the delight of local meat farmers.
Despite the fact that the couple is not new to the meat industry, taking over an abattoir proved to be a steep learning curve, according to Kara Enright.
“I have to tell, for the first several months, we just gazed at each other and laughed.”
Quinn’s Meats, unlike much bigger meat processing companies, offers unique cuts of animals, which are performed by a workforce of four to five butchers who operate largely by hand at a community table.
Because there is no assembly line at Quinn’s, each meat cutter is required to process a range of animals from start to finish.
According to Kara Enright, the new owners had a personnel difficulty due to the process.
“What we didn’t anticipate when we originally chose to buy the slaughterhouse was that it’s actually incredibly difficult to locate experienced and skilled labour, especially butchers,” she explained.
As a result, the proprietors enlisted the help of the abattoir’s senior butcher, Dave Kingston, to teach a new generation of butchers on-the-job.
“You’ll become a well-rounded meat cutter if you work here,” Kingston remarked. “You’ll get to know all the different cuts.”
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