Farm to Table Meat You for Dinner

By Christina Staff,
Healthy Planet Staff Writer

Photo Caption: The Scott Family

Do you know where your food comes from? And, not just “the grocery store.” How do we know the foods we buy to feed our families are quality? In this day and age of chemicals and preservatives, ambiguous marketing lingo and corporate greed, it is sometimes difficult to know exactly where our food originated… or, is it? That all depends on where you shop. The “farm to table” mindset offered by Mom-and-Pop businesses like Scott’s Processing is the breath of fresh air we needed to exhale a welcomed sigh of relief from the worry of meat packaging concerns.

“What brings you in today?” came a friendly voice as soon as the front door opened. Sam and Nichol Scott have owned and operated Scott’s Processing in Carlyle, Illinois, since 2011. Behind the counter are pictures of their family. Together, Sam and Nichol have six kids ranging from eighth grade down to a year old. As we stood there talking about the rising cost of living, activities our kids enjoy, and the local power grid, it is then you realize this family is just like your family; they care just as much about the world we are living in. They, too, are doing their best to make it a better place.

As a family of six, the Scotts understand the idea of quality food, but also cost-effectiveness and convenience. In an effort to provide their hometown community with fresh meat options and… meating space… Sam and Nichol purchased a second location in 2022 just minutes from Greenville, Illinois. Within one side of the building is a retail store housing multiple coolers chocked full of various cuts of beef, pork, and chicken; the other side is an event space appropriately labeled, “The Meating Room,” which can accommodate 40-60 people comfortably with an entire space dedicated as a kids’ playroom.

Nichol works tirelessly to brainstorm affordable and convenient meal options for busy families, which include ready-to-go dinner kits and even “snackle boxes” for on-the-go snacking. Their packaging labels also have clearly defined ingredients to protect those who suffer from food allergens. Appeasing even the pickiest eater is another cooler with nothing but flavored brats; over 30 flavor combinations, to be exact. From Regular to Beer, Cheddar to Habanero Mango, Whiskey Peppercorn to Parmesan Garlic, good luck walking out of their store without a package or three to try.

Rest assured shopping there stretches the dollar, as loyal customers are rewarded with “butcher bucks” redeemable for in-store items. Scott’s also offers weekly discounts and grab bags, plus you’ll find the pair cooking for the crowds during local farmers markets and pop-up events. Most often, Sam does the cooking, as Nichol works the crowd; similar to how they run the store. With almost two decades worth of experience in the meat industry, Sam acknowledges being more at home behind the scenes. Admittedly, he loves his job and looks forward to it daily, arriving by 5am most mornings to get the day started.

If you don’t question where your meat comes from, you should. But, if you still choose not to, Sam and Nichol do that for you by operating under strictest USDA regulations. Categorized as a USDA Type 1 meat processing plant, Scott’s is licensed to both wholesale and sell retail meats in their storefront. With a focus on meat processing for small local farms, they partner with area farmers to supply their customers with only the highest quality Angus beef and dirt-raised hogs. Their specialty is dry aging. Instead of using lactic acid or vinegar on carcasses, large cuts of their in-house beef are dry aged ten to fourteen days in a controlled aging cooler, which helps develop the flavor, plus produce the most natural and tender meat possible for the consumer.

Let’s talk more about those USDA regulations. How do we know their meats have been handled and packaged using only the highest standards for food preparation? How do we know this facility is cruelty free? To ensure cleanliness of their facility and equipment, and to oversee that proper protocol is being followed, a USDA inspector is on site five days of week. Does that seem excessive? Maybe so, but Sam and Nichol welcome the inspections, as it further proves their dedication to cleanliness.

How do you know the meat isn’t mixed? Another major benefit that sets Scott’s apart from the majority of others in the industry is they are firm in “you get what you give.” Meaning that the meat you bring in for processing is the same meat you get back in return. Every animal is individually processed from start to finish and never mixed with any other animal. Again, you know where your food comes from.

This is especially crucial during deer season when some hunters may not act as quickly as others to take proper precautions in preserving the meat. Scott’s reserves the right to turn animals away if they are not preserved properly between the time of harvest and arriving to the locker. Even before federal regulations come into play, they hold themselves to a high level of standards to maintain a reputation for excellence. Bearing that in mind, Sam will, without apology, point you down the road before risking the integrity of the facility’s cleanliness. It is quality over quantity, and they care more about protecting their customers than padding their bottom line.

Healthy foods make healthy communities. When you choose to patronize a locally owned storefront like Scott’s over a corporate conglomerate, your dollars are reinvested into the overall health of a community. You are supporting a family that takes pride in their service, and standing behind their products means also standing behind them in public at little league games, county fairs, and community events. There is no high rise to hide behind, but instead a counter and a cash register from which you will hear the warm greeting, “What brings you in today?”

Ending note: With the holidays around the corner, consider shopping local at Mom-and-Pop shops like Scott’s Processing. Old fashioned cold smokehouse products like summer sausage, snack sticks, hot sticks, and Cajun summer sausage are fan favorites, plus easy-to-ship gift ideas! Inquire about their delivery options. Besides the personalized customer service, it is their commitment to feeding our families with quality meats that makes the choice of where to shop easy. Visit them online at scottsprocessing.com.

 Meat-processing location:1810 Franklin Street, Carlyle, IL 62231
General Store & The Meating Space
707 IL-127, Greenville, IL 62246