Highland Ag Center running smoothly
Monterey, Va. – The Alleghany Highlands Agricultural Center, located about 6 miles north of Monterey, has been open for a little over two months now. Manager Chris Fuller, started in January, and talks about how the work has been going since the grand opening.
“Our big, official ribbon cutting was on April 10, but we had been processing meat for a couple weeks before that, kind of on a trial basis to make sure everything was up and working right,” he said. “As with any new building with new equipment there were some kinks that you need to work out. But all in all it’s been great. Everything has run smoothly. We’ve gotten what we need to get done, done in a timely manner. I’ve heard nothing but good remarks on the quality of the meat cutting and processing and packaging. So I’m very pleased with that.”
Chris continues with a description of his crew of coworkers at the center.
“My crew is John Moyers, he’s the operational assistant,” he said. “He and I are on the harvest floor and we’re the ones cutting meat. And then we’ve got Mindy Rexrode, she’s the one doing all the packaging and labeling. She does all the ground beef. And then I’ve got Debbie Botkin, who does a lot of the customer care and helping with cutting instructions. She’s also loading out the customers, inventorying all the meat and making sure everything’s up to what the customer is expecting. You know, between the four of us, we’ve really done a good job opening the place up and making sure people’s expectations were met and the quality standards are high.”
Chris goes on to talk about meat cutting operations.
“We’ve been processing pretty consistently since the end of March,” he said. “Business has started to drop off a little bit – it’s expected for this time of year. It gets a lot slower in the summer months. So we’ve got some available slots open, if anyone has anything they want to bring in. We are happy to schedule Tuesdays and Thursdays for people to bring in their livestock.”
During this less busy period, the center staff is researching opportunities for local livestock producers.
“We are researching and looking at different market opportunities, whether it’s for producers to sell their meat at different retail outlets or whether the demand is there for us to pick up on new products that people are looking for in a local meat product,” he said. “We’re kind of looking into all the different options at this point and focusing a lot on that right now.”
Locally grown meat is now available for sale at the Highland Farmer’s Market each week. The demand has been high during the first month of the market and meat vendors have been selling nearly all the meat they bring.