This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A trip to Monon

Recently we took a trip to the Monon Meat Packing Company to pick up half a hog. We are like quite a few other people in Rensselaer--we do not buy much meat at the local grocery stores, but rather we buy it directly from farmers. And when you do that, sometimes you have to travel a bit because Rensselaer does not have a processing plant.

The Monon Meat Packing Company is located a block east of U.S. Highway 421, next to the railroad tracks that at one time went to Michigan City, but today end in Medaryville. When you enter, it does not look much like a normal grocery store.
The sign over the counter gives prices for various things that you cannot get in a normal supermarket. What does your local supermarket charge for slaughtering a goat? Sometimes, but not recently, we go to the Brook locker plant to pick up meat, and the last time I was there they had the charges for processing deer. I did not see that in Monon.

Although purchasing meat in this way is common in Rensselaer, none of the people I know who live in big cities buy meat in this way, unless they come from a small town and still have the small town connections. Monon Meat Packing also sells individual cuts of meat, so it is not necessary to buy half a pig at a time. When we were there, we also picked up some buffalo steaks and some barbecue ribs.
I do not think they carry any unfrozen meat. Maybe they do for sausage.In the distant past, I remember a similar place in Remington, but it closed.

One of my native Rensselaerian sources remembers that there was a locker plant on Milroy Street near the General Milroy statue, and that she used to visit it to get meat from the family locker. I vaguely remember people referring to one of those buildings as the old locker plant. Asking around, I found it was the first house on Milroy. It was built in 1932 as a locker plant. In the late 1960s it was converted to apartments, and then just a few years ago converted to a residence and an office. The back of the building has walls that are three feet thick. Apparently animals were not slaughtered there, but people could rent locker space and store meat there, and there was also space for cutting meat. I guess that made sense in the days before home freezers were common. If you know more, share in the comments. Below is what half a hog looks like when you buy it from a meat packing plant. We pay the Monon Meat, and also our neighbor who raises hogs. Usually the amount we pay for processing is greater than the amount we pay the farmer.
We dump it into the trunk and are ready to drive back to Rensselaer.
If you are interested in buying meat in this way, I recall that one of the vendors at the farmers market this past summer was selling freezer beef, and there are sometimes ads in the Rensselaer Republican from farmers who want to sell freezer beef. Or give Monon Meat Packing a call at 219-253-6363.


Anonymous said...

We get our beef from Barry Jordan. It is delicious and much better quality than that sold in the grocery stores. If you haven't bought your meat directly give it a try. They are all excellent and cheaper than retail.

Sarah said...

which half did you get? Front or back? Or perhaps left or right?


Anonymous said...

We actually got a quarter which is a mix of all cuts. Otherwise everyone would want the steaks! One animal produces an astounding amount of meat even if you have a chest or upright freezer.

Dessert Survivor said...

We got the right side. I am sure of that. However, I am not sure if it was the right side from the pig's point of view, or the right side from the point of view of a person facing the pig. But it was the right side.

jennifer said...

Monon is a great processing plant. My family has utilized them for freezer beef, over 25 yrs. And now the baton is handed over to my nephews.

Check out Green Bros. Freezer Beef located in Rensselaer, IN. Great tasting beef!