In The News

The Good Slaughter: A Proud Meat Cutter Shares His Processing Floor

“My hope is that my children will have the same passion for this as I do…”

Meet Larry Althiser, the owner and head meat cutter for Larry’s Custom Meats in Hartwick, NY, a small farming community in the Northern Catskills. Larry takes pride in his slaughterhouse. He’s been butchering and processing animals for over 30 years, learning through hard work his philosophy on the right way to slaughter animals so we can eat:

“Some people just don’t care about other people. They just don’t. I don’t understand that. I want my people to care about the other end of it, not just walk in and do something and walk out at the end of the day. They need to care about what they’re doing, who they’re feeding and how they’re doing it.”

I spent two days upstate with Larry at his brand new processing plant to learn firsthand how animals become food – a rare opportunity to tell the story of transparency in the meat industry. Truth be told, I was very, very anxious going into this shoot. The night before, I tossed and turned in my bed, restless for hours. I just wasn’t sure if I was ready to see the whole process, to film what I’d been shy to film for years. But, I had to do it. It’s a story I wanted to tell, a good story about a proud butcher open to teaching his trade, and a story I felt compelled to share with many others, like me, who didn’t want to be disconnected to their food any longer.  …more…

Larry’s Custom Meats opens today in Hartwick

The Daily Star, Cooperstown NY

HARTWICK _ At 11 this morning, a ribbon will be cut as Larry’s Custom Meats, a new USDA certified slaughterhouse on state Route 205 in Hartwick, officially opens for business.

Owned by Larry Althiser, the meat processing plant has about 6,000 square feet of work space, with another 1,800 square feet of storage on the second floor.

“It’s a beautiful place and there are a lot of people I have to thank for pulling everything together,’’ Althiser, 52, said Friday morning.

Otsego County’s Economic Development Office, Industrial Development Agency, Chamber, and the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship played important roles in designing, promoting and financing the plant, he said. He has six employees and plans to add more as demand grows, Althiser said.

According to Zondra Hart, Otsego County’seconomic development specialist, demand is likely to increase because area farmers have pledged to use Larry’s Custom Meats.

“Larry has a great reputation and farmers have said they’ll be processing more there because it’s certified by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture,’’ she said.  …more…

Larry’s Custom Meats USDA-Approved Plant

Hometown Oneonta & The Otsego-Deleware Dispatch

The crowd listening to the speeches couldn’t help but be distracted by the aroma wafting across the front of Larry’s Custom Meats’ smart new building just south of the hamlet on Route 205.

The distraction came from a grill where John Van Vranken Jr. of Edmeston was slow-cooking a whole pig.  Soon, everyone knew, tender chunks of pork would be piled high in the serving dishes, ready to be piled high in the hoagie rolls. …more….

Upstate New York Agribusiness Expansion Generates Jobs and Sales

American Agriculturalist –

LARRY Althiser is doing his part to revive the U.S. economy. He’s tickled to be interviewing prospective new employees. Larry’s Custom Meats in Hart- wick, N.Y., is growing — as are the sales of his farm customers!

In May, doors opened on his new USDA-inspected, 6,000-square-foot, stain- less-steel processing facility. Since then, farmers have been steadily bringing beef cattle, hogs, sheep and goats for slaughter and processing.

The new plant opened with six workers. Now it employs 10, with plans to add more.

Althiser’s old Otsego County plant across the road had a waiting list of 30 farmers. “At the old plant, we processed 1,100 animals a year. This one lets us help more family farmers survive and thrive,” he proudly notes. “We’re currently han- dling 25 beeves [beef cattle] and 25 hogs a day with an annual capacity of 5,000 head.” The plant includes chillers and storage for up to 30 hogs and 60 beef cattle, plus a meat-smoking room. USDA certification allows farmers to direct-sell to consumers, restaurants and grocers, and keep a higher

percentage of their sales. …more…

Larry’s Custom Meats cuts ribbon on new facility

Customers, friends, supporters and community members looked on as Cen- tral New York butcher Larry Althiser and his wife Julia led the ribbon cutting cele- bration at their new processing facility in Hartwick, NY, May 14. After eight and a half years operating as Larry’s Custom Meats Inc. in an older 1,100 animal per year facility just across State Route 205, Althiser is now operating in this 6,000 square foot facility capable of processing 5,000 animals per year. Althiser made the $800,000 investment with collabora- tion from local economic development partners as well as state and federal agencies to increase processing capacity for locally raised food.

When asked to compare his old facility to the new complex, Althiser summed it up by simply saying “There is no com- parison.” Althiser used his career experi- ences as well as the advice of others to design an efficient facility. “It has better features and more capacity. The layout is linear for efficient flow during process- ing. We have increased our processing capacity. The kill floor is designed to be able to process more animals per hour. Althiser included a hide pulling device which he and friend designed and built. …more…