SAGINAW, Minnesota – There’s a new meat store in town.
The Northeast Regional Corrections Center has opened its meat processing counter where people can buy beef, pork, poultry, sausage and more. All products were cut and prepared at 6102 Abrahamson Road.
NERCC is a 136-bed minimum/medium security facility on a working farm where residents can pursue vocational training in animal husbandry, carpentry, hospitality, mechanics and maintenance.
The retail store is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until May 1, when the store expands its Monday through Saturday operations. It offers smoked ham, smoked jerky, smoked chicken, homemade pastrami, pepperoni sticks and corned beef.
According to head butcher Matt Wrazidlo, the store’s biggest hits so far are the beef sticks and the smoked Polish sausage.
The opening of the meat shop follows the opening of NERCC’s meat processing facility in the fall, where Wrazidlo oversees up to eight residents, teaching them how to properly cut, sanity, debone, and more beef.
The facility’s new decor offers residents the opportunity to experience what a real commercial operation looks like.
Wrazidlo reported that after being released from the correctional facility, four inmates switched from working in the meat processing plant to secure jobs.
The state Legislature approved funds for the meat processing facility through bail bills in 2015, 2017 and 2020. NERCC acquired permits from the USDA and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, among others, to open the retail counter.
There is a need in northern Minnesota for a USDA-approved processing facility, Kathy Lionberger, director of the NERCC division, told the News Tribune in September.