Tis the season for turkeys, and Oregon State University students are busily working in the Clark Meat Center to prepare dozens of smoked gobblers for local holiday tables.
The Meat Science Club’s annual fundraiser gives students the chance to learn how to process turkeys in the lab, and gives customers of the Clark Meat Center Retail Store the opportunity to buy cured, smoked and fully cooked turkeys ready to heat and serve for Thanksgiving dinner.
This year, the students purchased 90 raw turkeys and went through the process of preparing them for sale.
“We teach students the brine process, and all about the different spices we use and what each spice does,” said club president Salvador Rios. “They learn how to run the smoke house and how to measure the turkey’s internal temperature. Then they learn the packaging and marketing part of the process.”
Part of the money raised will go toward helping the Meat Science Club attend the annual Northwest Meat Processing Association Meeting, where they compete with other student meat processors and network with potential employers.
“We make different kinds of meat products here at Clark and then take them to the meeting,” said Nate Parker, Vice President of the Meat Science Club. “Then we meet with other meat science club members from around the Northwest.”
Around 15 students have been working on the fundraiser, which is a combined effort of the meat science and poultry clubs on campus. Not only is it a good chance for students to get hands-on experience with meat processing, but it’s a lot of fun. There’s a lot of laughter on the processing floor when the students are together.
“The best part is the club bonding,” said Sam Moxley, Meat Science Club treasurer. Moxley, who plans on cattle ranching when he graduates, said his experience learning how to process meat will give him a greater appreciation of what will happen to his cattle after sale, and how what he feeds his cattle will affect the end product.
To order a turkey, contact Rios at 541-936-0642 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or club advisor Lea Ann Kinman at 541-737-1927 before Nov. 24. Pick up dates are Nov. 19, and Nov. 22-24, 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Clark Meat Center, or by special arrangement. The cost is $3.49 a pound for a whole bird (12 to 14 lbs) or $3.99 a pound for half a bird.