Shayne Noller, our Food Division Supervisor, recently shared his excitement about how busy his crew has been during this last year. This was a recent post on our Facebook page that explains a part of Shayne’s excitement! “Exciting things are happening at the farm today! We are shipping 40,000 pounds (over 1700 cases) of frozen pheasant to Japan. The container of pheasants will be trucked to Chicago, then it will go on a train to San Francisco and finally will take a boat ride to Japan. “
Shayne shared his comments about the importance of the USDA certification. “Our staff worked hard to fill this order and we are proud to say that our USDA pheasants will be available in the Japan market now! This would not have been possible if we had not received USDA certification in the past year. We were previously inspected by the state of Wisconsin, which was an excellent inspection, but did not allow us to ship internationally. After a process that took about two years, we became USDA certified and it gave us the ability to broaden our horizons.”
Let’s take a look at what keeps us busy in our growing Food Division!
- Our USDA inspector comes in on processing days and reviews all of our paperwork, including our Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan, (HACCP), and standard sanitary operating procedures. He inspects the cutting room and cutting process. We are happy to report that conformance issues are rare. We have worked together to implement improvements, such as a new air curtain in our back loading dock that prevents any outside elements from entering the building, while we load and unload trucks. Since we are always looking for ways to improve and increase our food sales, we appreciate our USDA inspector’s assistance.
- We have regular customers throughout the year that order products weekly so we are also busy processing those products. Many customers want fresh birds, so those birds are packaged and shipped or picked up the day after being processed. Our most popular product is dressed whole birds.
- During the holiday season, from October to January, we ship gift packs that often include whole birds, pheasant pot pies, and smoked whole pheasants. In addition to these pheasant products many people also add items from the retail store into their gift packs. These include sauces, spices, sausages, candy, and recipe books. We even have specialty gift boxes that include wine and Bloody Mary glasses, cutting boards, and other specialty items.
- Except for a few months in the spring and summer from April to early June, when we slow down after the holiday season, there are usually 6-7 full time employees and 1-2 seasonal employees, as needed. Terry overseas our cut room and ensures that the right products are cut to fill our orders. The main cutters, who cut whole birds into different products, are Maurice, Brenda, and Luz. Alan aids in cutting and mans the vac knife machine. The vac knife is used to retrieve the remainder of the meat from the carcass. Jordan runs our sealing. All items are placed in either bags or pouches and sealed in this machine. This removes all oxygen and seals the products tightly for storage.
- When our work is finished for the day we clean and sanitize the cut room. The crew cleans all equipment and surfaces in the room. The room and all equipment is washed, rinsed, and sanitized with spray nozzles connected to a hose that is hooked up to a dispensary. It sprays just the right amount of cleaning and sanitizing products. All tools, such as knives and scales, are hand washed and sanitized in a designated sink.
We’re proud of our work in the Food Division at MacFarlane Pheasants. You can be assured that our products are top quality and we encourage you to take a look at all products we have available at our online store.