Ever since 1984, Chico Locker & Sausage Co. has been attending the California Association of Meat Processors (CAMP)’s annual convention. CAMP is a great organization full of wonderful people, many of whom have become like family. People who are willing to share their knowledge, expertise, and passion. Every year CAMP hosts it’s annual convention in the spring and this year we were lucky enough to host it in Chico! The turn out was amazing, one of the most successful we’ve had in a long time. Over 30 meat processing plants from all over California drove up for the weekend. Many new faces as well as students with a passion for the meat industry. For the “old timers” in the association this is exciting, the younger generation is taking an interest in what is slowly becoming a lost art. The younger generation is realizing that this organization is a wealth of knowledge and that if left untapped, it will not be shared and continued.

The convention begins Friday with checking in of meat into the Cured Meat Competition. Products are entered into specific categories and are then judged by some of the best in the industry on external appearance, internal appearance, aroma, flavor, texture. Points are given and then calculated in order to find out who placed first, second, and third in each category. Judges and assistants work hard for two days and during our closing session on Saturday, awards are given.

But this is just a portion of what goes on at our conventions. There are also two days of workshops on all kinds of topics. Making ham and bacon, cutting up a lamb, making snack sticks… Just to name a few. Lots of valuable knowledge is shared. I was given the opportunity to speak on utilizing social media for your business. I spoke about the success of this blog as well as Twitter. And really shared with everyone the passion I have found through educating people about meat. I was pleasantly surprised that many people found my presentation motivating and hopefully in the next few months I will be able to share with you all some new blogs that are popping up!

I am extremely honored to report that we took home FIVE awards from the Cured Meat Show as well as received one of the highest honors, The Wayne Hall Excellence in Curing Award. Some of our products that brought home awards were: teriyaki jerky, peppersticks, potato sausage, bone-in ham, and bacon. The Wayne Hall Excellence in Curing Award is a memorial award that is awarded to the individual who has the highest combined score in the following categories: bone-in ham, boneless ham, bacon, and smoked turkey. So it really is a testament to quality of your cured products.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend. Good people, good food (that’s a given when you’re dealing with MEAT people!), and lots of good times. My family hosted the President’s Party on Friday night at our house. My best friend and fabulous chef Amber Kirpes of recipeshmecipe was gracious enough to travel from Santa Cruz to cater the appetizers for the party. And let me tell you, they were fabulous! She did an amazing job and our guests were raving all night long. That’s saying something because these people know their food. If you are in the Santa Cruz area and looking for a caterer for your party or you want a tasty recipe to cook for dinner, please check out Amber’s blog. http://recipeshmecipe.com/

Now enough with my babble about this weekend, here is the convention captured in images:

Some of the food presented at the party Friday night

Salmon Dip and our carved and garnished Smoked Turkey

More delicious appetizers

Meat people know how to party

Woo hoo! Accepting our awards! Congrats to our employees who made many of the products we won with AND they got to accept their own awards!

Two Reserve Grand Champions!

Our owner, David Dewey, upholding his title with a Grand Champion bone-in ham

Receiving our Excellence in Curing Award from Wayne Hall’s son Dale. It was a special night!We are so honored!!

This photo is near and dear to my heart. Two of the greatest experts in curing meat you will ever find. Who also happen to be good friends. :) I love it.

Viewing of all the products entered into the competition

140 products total entered, so to win amongst all of the entries really shows you the quality of your products.

Our award winning bacon everyone knows and loves!

Well that’s all folks. We are ready for a normal week back at the shop and are going to need it to recover from this weekend! I have some exciting things coming up for this week. So stay tuned for Wordless Wednesday and Fun Meat Fact Friday! Also I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to read our feature on Meat Me’s blog. I am utterly blown away at the number of views we received. So thank you! To all of you for the support! Without all of you out there reading, I wouldn’t have this passion for sharing! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and let’s have a GREAT week!