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Local meat processing facility re-opens

A longtime downtown Kenmare business that closed recently re-opened Tuesday under a new name and new ownership.

3/10/15 (Tue)

The butchers... Tim Stewart, left, and Jeff King, pose in front of the former Seykora Meat Processing plant in Kenmare with the old Chevrolet pickup, a familiar stie to many Kenmare-area residents. Stewart and King purchased the locker plant from the Seykoras Feb. 18.

By Marvin Baker

A longtime downtown Kenmare business that closed recently re-opened Tuesday under a new name and new ownership.

Tim Stewart and Jeff King purchased the Seykora Meat Processing facility on Central Avenue Feb. 18 and have changed the name to Kenmare Meat Processing.

The locker opened after the meat-cutting duo worked to upgrade the building that was once a meat processing plant on Main Street in Donnybrook.

According to King, the projected opening date was March 10, exactly on target. As a result, KMP is now accepting butchering appointments.

Stewart, who spent the past three years working for the Seykoras, said KMP has a slightly different business model than a traditional butcher shop.

“We go to the farm and do it,” Stewart said. “That way the animals aren’t stressed.”

King added that with that in mind, the quality of the processed meat is always going to be better.

“They’re not stressed because they’re in their familiar environment,” King said. “There is no better way to do it.”

And when they do go to a farm, they’ll most likely have that familiar green Chevrolet pickup that the Seykoras used and Arlen Gartner used when he owned it before the Seykoras.

“You can go anywhere and get it butchered,” King said. “We’re sacrificing convenience for quality.”

That also translates into emergencies, according to Stewart.

He said if a cow breaks a leg for instance, call KMP and they’ll butcher the animal.

“That cow is loaded on to a trailer with her broken leg, is probably hauled 100 miles to a slaughter plant and killed,” Stewart said. “We’re trying our best to eliminate that stress.”

And Stewart should know. He grew up cutting meat, attended culinary school at the North Dakota State School of Science in Wahpeton, spent 15 years cooking in restaurants and has been going to farms to butcher the past three years.

“Raise it, kill it, cut it and cook it,” Stewart said. “It’s a niche from start to finish.”

Stewart added that in his experience, consumers don’t often understand the difference between the weight of a live animal and the processed weight.

He said there is weight from fat and from bone and he wants consumers to know that up front so when they arrive for their processed meat, they won’t expect the same weight that went in to the locker plant.

“We want to educate the consumer and have them trust us,” King said. “We want them to know how many packages they will get.”

Stewart, who commutes 17 miles from the Lostwood area, said KMP will process all red-meat animals with hooves to include deer, moose and elk.

King, who retired in 2005 after a 23-year career in the active Army, commutes from Stanley where he has two other businesses called “Rent-a-Bull” and “King’s Custom Corral.”

They met when Stewart became a Rent-a-Bull customer, started talking and now they are partners in KMP.

King calls himself the “bean counter,” and is hoping to learn a lot from Stewart and his expertise in on-farm butchering.

“This is a lost art,” Stewart said. “There’s really nobody to teach it anymore.”

King admitted it’s going to be tough to be gutting an animal when it’s 30 below zero, but added, “You can’t match the quality of that meat.”

A new telephone number has been installed at Kenmare Meat Processing (KMP). For those interested in setting up an on-farm appointment, call 385-HOOF(4663).

They are also willing to take calls on their mobile phones. King’s number is 629-9121 and Stewart’s is 848-6059.

King said KMP has unlimited potential for the short and long term that may include butchering seminars in the future.

“We’re trying to provide the best possible service and trust,” he said. “We just want to become part of the family. It’s a new name but were not new faces.”

Stewart said KMP won’t have any special cuts, instead it will rely on the simplicity of quality.

“People get attached to their animals and bucket to bullet is priceless,” he said. “We do it the most humane way possible.” ...

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