Friday, June 10, 2011

Should Gastonia Invest in a Freezer Locker Like Lumberton, 1939

Published in the Gastonia Daily Gazette, Oct. 17, 1939
Some weeks ago we mentioned in these columns the idea of the “quick freeze” process of saving meats, vegetables, fruits and other farm products. Those communities which have tried these “freezer locker” services would not do without them. We wrote about some down in Texas, but we find that there is one right here in North Carolina. It is in Lumberton, and Mr. F. H. Jeter, of the department of agriculture and State College faculty, tells about [it] in the October issue of The Progressive Farmer. The Robeson County plant cost $30,000.
The plant is housed in a simple brick building, nothing pretentious or expensive, but it gives its patrons fresh meat and vegetables the year round. If they want fresh strawberries in January or fresh roas’n’ears  for Christmas, they may have them.
Mr. Jeter visited the plant this past summer in August and found the temperature down to 10 degrees. He tells about it as follows:
“This cold storage plant will take any kind of lamb, beef, or pork, etc., and keep it for the owner as long as he wishes, or until he sells it or uses it at home. Expertly and scientifically the meat is cut for any purpose the owner desires. Another great help is this: the plant makes sausage for all patrons—and who is there whose mouth doesn’t water at the mention of good sausage? Any farmer may bring his sausage meat, have it seasoned properly, ground and delivered to him—sometimes while he waits.
“Finally, a complete curing service is offered. The farmer may kill two or more hogs, bring the carcasses to the plant, have hams, shoulders, and sides cured, and the other portions either stored in his locker or prepared as he wants them.
“Here’s a sample of how the service works. A farmer drives up in a pick-up truck and says, ‘I want two hams out of my curing bin; slide one for frying and trim the other for baking.’ A hustling young man, dressed in spotless white, gets the two hams, fixes them as directed, wraps them, hands them to the owner, and he drives away.
“But this Lumberton plant was established primarily to give ‘freezer locker service’—which means what? It means that at any season of year, a farmer may kill a veal calf, a beef steer, or two or three hogs and say good-by to all worries about its “keeping.” He just carries the meat to the plant, has it placed in the chilling room from which, in the case of beef, it goes into the aging room. Then it is cut up, carefully wrapped, properly stamped, and stored in the freezer locker.
“And this word ‘freezer’ is right. I visited the room one hot august day to see how the meats are stored and found the temperature down to 10 degrees! Some patrons even store fresh strawberries, field peas, beans, the like for use next winter. I saw some strawberries that looked and smelled as fresh as if they had just been taken from the vine. The rental charge per year is about $10 per locker.”
There has been talk in Gaston County, too, of such a plant. The county agent and the Chamber of Commerce have talked about it and have had one or two meetings about it. There is hope that something might come out of the discussion. It would be a fine idea to run down to Lumberton and see the plant referred to above by Mr. Jeter…. If we could get a few thousand dollars in local capital subscribed and the balance by the government, we might be able to build one such in Gaston County. It would be a boon to those who have cattle, hogs and poultry to market, as well as to those who might wish to keep fruits and vegetables on storage.
Like the starch-from-sweet-potatoes project, this thing is worth studying.
I'd be curious to know if they ever did get a freezer locker. Please post a comment if you know or e-mail me at

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