Pace of construction picks up at Almena Meat

Workers for Clayton-based Berghammer Builders were busy Friday, April 30, 2021, with this addition to the Almena Meat Company. Photo by Bob Zientara

It was late summer of 2020 when the owners of Almena Meat Company finished their plans for a nearly 2,000 square-foot expansion to their building on the west side of the village along U.S. Hwy. 8.

“We were ready with our plans at that time,” said Jessica Bohn, who runs the business along with her husband, Brent.

“But the contractor (Berghammer Builders, of Clayton) couldn’t get to us until this spring.”

The main reason for the delay is the complexity of the project, which includes a “blast freezer” capable of bringing 4,000 pounds of fresh meat to a temperature of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit in only 12 hours.

“The project involves hanging the ceiling of the freezer from the rafters (of the new addition),” Bohn said Friday, April 30, 2021.

Construction began on the 32-by-60-foot addition in early April, and the building should be done by mid-May, she added.

“We are going to install the freezer ourselves, and we hope to have it running by July 1,” she added.

Manufactured by Barr Refrigeration, of Oshkosh, Wis., the blast freezers are made of heavy-duty materials, including stainless steel, and have floors strong enough to hold forklifts.

The Bohns said they plan to use their existing freezer for the Almena Meat Company’s packaging department.

“The west side of the building, where our meat freezer is now, will, eventually, be all packaging,” Jessica Bohn said.

“Our ultimate goal is to (become) a federally-inspected (meat company) and be able to ship product all over the U.S.”