65 Years In Business, And A Glimpse Into Our Year

I know, it’s a been a while! We post most of our updates to Facebook and Instagram. It’s quick and easy for the short updates, but I figured I’d take some time to write something a little longer. 

Our holiday season was quick and crazy as usual. We shipped many hams, and other products, all over the country. We put together gift boxes for people to give to family and employees, whatever they wanted. Some of them involved lobster tails and steaks – yum! 

We slowed down a little after the holidays, but not much. We had our state convention in Bloomington, IL at the end of February. Our conventions are always a great time of learning, reuniting with friends in the industry, the ones that don’t mind us talking about meat for hours, and some healthy competition with our fellow processor members of the Illinois Association of Meat Processors. We took home 1st place awards for out Dried Beef, Bacon, Ham, and Habanero BBQ Snack Sticks! We also got 2nd place in a flavored bacon class, and got a Best of Beef award for our dried beef. 

In March we got some beautiful new business cards thanks to Lauren Davis Creative. 

We also came across a BBQ Sauce and Rub company that employs veterans and all of the company’s profits go to veterans’ organizations, they even tell you right on their website which organizations they give to. Oh, what’s their name? Veterans Q of course! We immediately contacted them and got their sauces and rubs in stock and they are phenomenal! 

Also in March we attended the Winnebago Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards night where we and other food businesses in the group brought some yummy food to enjoy while community members were thanked. 

Easter season was once again busy with hams, but we were ready for it!

In Early May we had some grilling at the annual Bird Fest at Sand Bluff Bird Observatory – always a good time and a special cause for some of the Eickmans. 

Later in May we had some big news – We had been playing around with some recipes for a local company that contacted us about a seasonal project. We sold a custom brat, using their famous seasoned salt, to Beef-A-Roo! It was a great partnership for the summer and we were honored to be a part of it. 

In June we celebrated 65 years in business with an open house. It was a great time. We drew names to giveaway some meat boxes. We had freebies for everyone – bags, pens, flashlights and magnet clips, we had tons of old pictures and news clippings out to get sentimental with, and we had family and friends, old and new, here. Merlyn, the one who began it all at Eickman’s, came out and reunited with old friends. It was a special day with tours and a pig roast and lots of fun. 

In July we went to Kansas City, MO for our annual National convention with the American Association of Meat Processors. This one travels to different states each year. We are extra excited for next year – convention will be in Mobile, AL. Bring on the beach! 🙂 We had tough competition from all across the US, but we did walk away with an award for our Ham. We had more great informational sessions and fun times reuniting with other processors and suppliers from across the US. We had amazing meals and events. And now we’re back with new ideas and new seasonings to try (like a dill pickle snack stick! I’ll post on Facebook when we make it). 

And now, at the end of July, here we are, jumping in to fair season. First up is Ogle County Fair this weekend. The carcass show was here yesterday, and the sale is this weekend. It’s a busy time of year, but we enjoy seeing all of the kids’ hard work pay off. It’s not easy for them, but they learn many valuable lessons. We love 4-H! 

After fair season, we’ll roll into hunting season and back into the holidays, and start all over again. There is so much more going on every day, working with local restaurants, catering events, etc., but I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our year here at Eickman’s. Thank you to our customers and the amazing farmers we know and work with – we couldn’t do any of it without you!

(The image on this blog is Ashton Eickman reuniting with Willie Kayser, a meat processor that goes way back with Merlyn. More pictures from the 65th anniversary party can be found on our Facebook page.)