NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS — The demand for local smoked hams from the Abattoir Division at the Department of Agriculture on Nevis continues to increase and Mr. Garfield Griffin, Manager of the Abattoir says he expects this Christmas season to be no different.
During a visit to the abattoir on November 11, 2021, he explained the increase in demand they have experienced over the years.
“We started actually doing hams in 2007 and we’ve been doing this annually around Christmas time. They started a bit slow then we started to catch on to the general public. Then I think around 2010 we started having hams throughout the year because persons would occasionally come in and would need a ham to do different stuff…
“Last year we sold approximately 431 hams. I think that was a record year for us. So what I’m doing, I used that gauge 431 and increased maybe another 25 percent. So this year we’re targeting the 431 plus the 25 percent because you always have persons who don’t order would just walk in and get their ham,” he said.
To date the Division continues to improve its product and is offering the public new items for sale this year.
“For this Christmas though, apart from the smoked hams, we normally do smoked chickens and these chickens are local, locally grown. We do smoked ham, smoked chicken, smoked beef. The beef is normally deli sliced. This is a great product to make sandwiches… and also smoked pork ribs. These products along with other fresh products that we sell our fresh meats – beef, mutton and various other products that we have available.
“With the pork also we are now doing bacon. We have two types of bacon. We have the pork belly bacon and the pork loin bacon. This is something new that we just started. It’s been catching on very well with some of the local hotels which take most of these products,” he said.
In response to whether the staff complement at the facility was able to keep up with the increasing demand, Mr. Griffin said they have been able to accomplish that.
“Actually, we have a staff for the processing unit; we have a staff for the slaughtering side. When things slow on the slaughtering side we do cross-training, so we could have extra hands on the processing side when there is a heavy work load on the processing side. We do cross- training among the staff so that they can do everything,” he said.
Mr. Griffin said though he is satisfied with the strides the division has made over the years, there is always room for improvement.
“We could always do better. I always aspire to do better. We would like to expand and get into bigger markets but first we are mostly focusing on satisfying the local demand.
“Yes, some of the products actually have been sent out. People are buying products to send to St. Maarten, St. Kitts and other places so yes, we would like to grow bigger but my biggest challenge is raw material and getting the raw material. Once I have the raw material, we produce any amount,” he said.