Paul and Adam Polashek from Polashek’s Locker attended the annual Iowa meat convention. The 81th Annual Convention of the Iowa Meat Processors Association was held at the Gateway Hotel & Conference Center and the ISU Meat Laboratory in Ames, Iowa on February 16th-17th, 2017.
Polashek’s Locker from Protivin, IA received plaques for the following entries in the competition:
- Grand Champion #1 in the state - Innovative Specialty Pork Product (Pork Bologna Shorts)
- Grand Champion #1 in the state - Beef Jerky
- Reserve Champion - Small Diameter Smoked Cooked Sausage (Smokies)
Article from the Cresco Times
Polashek’s Locker Service has been going to the Iowa Meat Processors Association Convention, and bringing home awards, since 1985. The company has won so many, there isn’t room left on the “Trophy Wall” to put them!
This year wasn’t any different as Paul and Adam Polashek made the trip to Ames for the Iowa Meat Processors Association’s 81st Anniversary Convention and Trade Show Feb. 16-17. Forty-one processing plants and 40 supplier members attended the event.
Cured Meat Competitions were held with the top entries taking home plaques. With 313 meat entries from 27 processing plants and 20 classes, the competition was as intense as ever. Thirty professionals judged from Iowa State University and several other universities, as well as some industry representatives. They returned home with two Grand Champion plaques and one Reserve Champion plaque.
“Out of the 20 categories, we entered nine,” said Adam. “We took down smokies, wieners, ring bologna, jerky, summer sausage, hot sticks, flavored hot sticks, innovative pork and lunchmeat. We start working in the locker a week ahead on the things we have to be extra good at. For example, we don’t want to take smokies, ring bologna or wieners that have any air pockets.”
For the Polashek family, going down to the convention and trade show is more than just competing. There is a lot of equipment and “deals” showcased at the convention.
“Last year we purchased a smoke generator,” he explained. “We now use pellets instead of sawdust with this new smoke generator. This means less creosote, and it works pretty slick. You always learn something there, and a lot of different lockers are there as well so it’s a good opportunity to network.”
Polashek’s Locker Service took home Grand Champion Jerky, Whole Muscle. Product is judged on external appearance, aroma, edibility and flavor. They also took home Grand Champion Innovative Pork Product. Their product was “All Pork Bologna Shorts.” And Reserve Champion Small Diameter Smoked Cooked Sausage. This was their “Smokie Links.”
“Plaques are given up to four places,” said Adam. “We just missed a couple of them. Our lunch meat and wieners took home fifth place. You just never know what the judges will be looking for because the judges are different each year.”
Polashek’s Locker Service has 10 employees. They keep busy year-round, and Saturday mornings are especially busy.
“We have ‘Sample Saturday,’” he noted. “And a lot of people who can’t make it here during the regular work week make it in on Saturday. We also deliver to over 40 stores, and people bring things in to butcher from over an hour away.”
Adam shared that their most popular products are hot sticks, wieners, bologna, summer sausage and the smokies. They also showcase a fresh meat case and local favorites like head cheese and jaternice.
So maybe someday you may want to meander down to Protivin to get some of that award-winning fare or local favorites. Either way, you can’t go wrong at Polashek’s Locker Service, where you are welcomed with a smile and served with small town pride.