Processing your take |

Processing your take

Greg Reed
Greg Reed/Grand Junction Free PressNot an unfamiliar scene to those initiated in the use of a meat processing service for their game.

Rick Nehm knows his limits. Need a deer or elk processed? He’s your man. Need a new transmission for your truck? Call a mechanic.

Nehm runs Old World Meat Co. in Grand Junction and was talking about the benefits of getting your harvested deer or elk professionally done versus doing it yourself.

“There’s certain things I don’t hesitate to farm out,” Nehm said. “It’s like working on your own car ” it’s a lengthy process and it’s hard. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can make more problems.

“Beyond checking the air and filling it up with gas, I turn it over to a pro.”

Lots of folks fix their own cars. And lots of hunters clean and process their own take. But, if you’re not experienced at the latter, you may end up regretting not taking your harvest to your favorite local meat processor.

“It’s a controlled environment,” Nehm said. “When I hang the animal in my cooler, it’s kept clean, kept cold. If you hang it in your garage the temperature fluctuates and it’s exposed to the elements, exposed to flies and vermin.”

Nehm, who took over the 40-year-old family business recently, has a blast freezer at Old World Meat Co.,

meaning everything is quick frozen

in about 15 minutes.

And when the animal goes from the freezer to the cutting room …

“I know every cut,” Nehm said. “It’s

all professionally wrapped, taped

and labeled.”

Properly wrapped meats won’t experience freezer burn and keep longer.

At Old World Meat Co., like many Mom and Pop as well as the larger meat processing businesses here in Colorado, everything is packaged and smoked

on site.

Old World is known for making sausage from your trim. At some places, it’s jerky. That varies.

What doesn’t vary from having your take professionally processed?

“It’s done well, done right and it’s clean, that’s the main thing,” Nehm said. “The main thing is the controlled environment, the fact that I control the animal from the time it gets to me until it’s done.”

What’s more, there are many variables that can destroy an animal, or part of it, in the wild.

Like a previous wound or something that would require a judgment call. Your local professional has seen hundreds, even thousands of animals.

“We can tell what’s spoiled,

what’s borderline.

“Expertise in any situation, no matter what it is, is crucial,” Nehm said. “Not just talking about meat processing, either. Expertise can go a long ways to getting you back something a little better.”

By Greg Reed of the Grand Junction Free Press.

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