Barb and Marvin Malterer started out raising hogs and crops, but they soon found themselves learning the ropes of the slaughtering and processing business when they built a processing facility and meat market on their hog farm in 2004 — thus Cedar Road Meats in Iron Ridge was born.
The Malterers previously raised about 1,000 hogs and crops nearby. They started the business when state regulations changed regarding slaughtering animals on the farm. It could be done for personal use, but not for meat that would be sold.
A young man who operated a portable slaughtering business and did the processing of animals on their farm asked them to consider partnering with him by building a state-inspected slaughtering and processing facility on their farm. Just before the facility was up and running, he passed away of a brain tumor.
The original plans were for him and his wife to be involved full time in the business. With his passing, the Malterers were left on their own to learn and operate the meat business.
They eventually switched from farming to meat processing, and now several of their family members are also involved.
Today their son Matt is a master meat cutter and works full time at the business. His wife Joy is also involved. Marv and Barb's daughter Maria and her husband Harold Bermejo are also employed full time at the meat plant, and they have two employees outside the family.
"As much as possible, we try to supply our customers with locally raised meat," Barb said. "To meet our demand we also buy some meat from distributors."
They make their own sausage and hot sticks, using both a cold smoker and hot smoker, fueled with hickory chips.
"We need the heat so they will keep, but the cold smoker is where the flavor is developed," Barb explained
Besides selling a variety of meat at their shop, they are also at three farmers markets with their specialty meats.
They have a state-of-the-art, state-inspected, complete start-to-finish operation. It begins with the holding pens where animals stay overnight to reduce stress before harvesting begins.
Each week they do about 15 steers and 5 hogs.
"Breaking down beef is hard work," she said. "It requires a great deal of physical labor."
Cedar Road Meats also offers other services, including slaughtering for other meat stores; custom cutting halves and quarters; retail cuts; and pigs for roasts for private parties.
Many direct meat marketers utilize the services of Cedar Road Meats for their processing. They work individually with these people to satisfy their individual needs.