Story By: Mandy Brazil, Associate Editor
Cal Poly Meats is one of the juiciest secrets on campus. Those who have been smart enough to figure out where to find local, fresh and top-quality beef, lamb, pork, poultry and specialty meats (including bacon, sausage and jerky,) can vouch for the noticeable difference in Cal Poly Meats. This St. Patrick’s Day, there is one more delicious secret to be shared: corned beef.
Students take pride in producing high quality products that have created a buzz in the San Luis Obispo community. They can directly see the appreciation for their labor in the nature of sales. Customer loyalty is the greatest measure of excellence a sales person can ask for. “A lot of people come in and keep coming back because they say it tastes better,” Steven McLennan said.
Walking through the double doors of the center means entering into one of the finest examples of Learn by Doing on the Cal Poly campus. The J and G Meat Processing Center (MPC) is located off of Highway 1 on Stenner Creek Road. The center is open for public sales from 12:00p.m. to 5:30p.m. every Thursday and Friday. However, this does not by any stretch of the imagination mean the center is quiet the rest of the week.
Meat science enthusiasts, rocking the complete quality control ensemble of lab coats, hairnets and hard hats, showcase their expertise in the meat processing chain – from harvest to marketing.
All animals harvested are Cal Poly grown. Some students’ involvement in the process is truly vertically integrated. This is the case for Animal Science senior, Aaron Prinz, who is the Cal Poly Swine Unit student manager and also works in the processing center.
“I like working at the MPC because I have been able to learn about meat processing and cutting. I’ve had alot of experience with live animals, but never had a whole lot in terms of the harvesting and processing side of things,” Prinz said. “The MPC lives up to Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto. All the work I’ve done has been very hands on and I would never have learned the skills I gained from the MPC in a more traditional classroom setting.”
Utilizing Cal Poly animals does mean that some of the products are seasonal due to the supply logistics. Cal Poly students at the MPC and the different animal units work together to coordinate processing. “There is a constant communication,” McLennan said.
McLennan, an Agribusiness graduate student with an emphasis in Marketing, explained that while the most popular cuts are flat iron and tri-tips, the center also produces and sells many value-added products. This past week, students were packaging three different types of bacon – original, cottage and Canadian.
Another product that the center is very excited to bring back this year for the first time in a couple years is corned beef. “We are making corned beef brisket and corned beef round. We are hoping that it becomes a tradition,” Matthew Livingston, Facility Manager, said.
Corned beef will be available to purchase at $4 a pound at the center from 12:00p.m. to 5:30p.m. Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th. While you are getting your St. Patrick’s Day dinner, be sure to sign up for this season’s other limited time products: leg of lamb and Easter hams! Follow them on Facebook for the most up-to-date news!
Learn about the origin of this traditional St. Patrick’s holiday meal! Check out: