Meet the butcher
Chico Locker & Sausage Co. has been processing massive slabs of meat since 1965. David Dewey bought the business from his father in 1985 and works alongside his wife, Linda, and children Jacob and Jenny. Each day after opening the business at 9 a.m., Dewey hops into his mobile butcher truck and heads toward one of a handful of local farms that call him to humanely slaughter its livestock. When most of us are enjoying our morning cup of coffee, Dewey is targeting his .22 caliber magnum rifle at the head of an animal, which he will then load into his truck and haul back to the shop to butcher. Chico Locker & Sausage offers sandwiches, daily lunch specials, and quality meat. As the name implies, sausages are a staple product, and Dewey offers 50 delicious variations, ranging from jalapeño cheddarwurst to chicken cordon bleu.
What types of animals do you slaughter?
I mostly deal with cow, pig, and lamb, but I have done the occasional llama, emu, alpaca, ostrich and goat. We also do wild game processing. Later this summer hunters will be bringing me deer, moose, elk, bear, duck and pheasant. When the county fairs come along I’ll be working with the FFA and 4-H.
How much corned beef did you sell this St. Patrick’s Day?
This year we went through 2,000 pounds of corned beef, which isn’t much in comparison to some of the more popular holidays: ham on Christmas and turkey on Thanksgiving. We sell a lot of steaks on Valentine’s Day.
What is the difference between a commercial slaughterhouse and your methods?
Because I go straight to the farm, the animals don’t have to be transported, and as a result they are calmer and under far less anxiety. When an animal is under stress it releases adrenaline, which consequentially turns meat dark and sticky. My methods are more humane.
How much meat do you get from a single cow?
One 1,200-pound steer will give you about 700 pounds of packaged meat. The hides will be made into leather byproducts, the viscera [guts] are taken to a rendering plant to be incorporated into dog food; the fats will be made into soaps and cosmetics, and the bone will be used as fertilizer. When it’s all said and done the animal is 100 percent recycled.
How often do you work?
I work six days a week and go to church on Sunday.