This summer is, as per usual, been a hectic one for traveling. Within the span of a couple of weeks, I was in San Diego to cover Jensen Meat, our Independent Processor of the Year, and I was in Mobile, to cover the annual AAMP Convention. In both these places, I saw the side of the industry that I’ve come to appreciate: Friendly people, innovative products, and corporate responsibility.

Jensen operates out of one of the most state-of-the-art meat processing plants west of the Mississippi. While taking great pains to develop excellent burgers, including a line of surprisingly tasty plant-based burgers, the company aims to be a good community partner as well as a profitable business. The company contributes to charities on both sides of the border and has several programs to help retain their employees.

The AAMP Convention, once again, felt more like a homecoming than an industry event. While there was plenty of good educational opportunities and a busy show floor, there were also groups of processors gathered at the convention center and the hotel, catching up on family news and sharing tips and tricks.

Along the way, I met Jesse Smith, who is growing a thriving business in Nebraska, and visited Kirk Halpern, who has returned to the industry with an innovative business model to supply meat and seafood to Atlanta restaurants. I managed to show my children the inside of a meat processing operation, and I visited an Atlanta deli institution as it was poised to unveil all-new services. I have many more stories to share with you and more traveling ahead; thank you for reading along.