Blair Slaughtering and Processing has been providing meat for people in South Central Illinois since 1952. Recently Owner Delton Blair and his children donated meat to the Flora Food Pantry. They have been involved in Sportsmen Against Hunger and some of the other local community benefits, including the Turkey Federation, Boy Scouts, 4-H, local schools and benefits in surrounding counties. “In January, we got a call asking if we had deer meat for the food pantry,” Hope Blair explained. “We took over 900 lbs. of deer burgers to them. We like to help the pantry when we can.”
Blair’s Slaughtering and Processing was started in 1952 by Delton’s father and mother, Donald and Mary Blair. They opened the business at the same location they are currently located, one and a half miles west of Louisville on Vandalia Road. Drafted into the Army in 1965, Delton serving at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, in Washington, DC and Oakland, CA, before being released from service, when his father died in 1966. As the only son, of a family who ran a business, Delton was granted a hardship release to come home and to run the family business with his mother, at the age of 21.
Today Delton and his son, two daughters and grandchildren, who help during deer season, have become the fifth generation in the business. Besides Delton, the day to day business of a slaughter house and processing is run by Gabe, Christine and Hope Blair, along with R.V. Noblet, who is a meat cutter. Some of Delton’s grandchildren, Dalton, Briar, Jada and Stormie are enlisted during deer season, with great grandchildren growing and learning the business. Delton’s long time friend, Linda Henry works as bookkeeper. “We have grown a lot since Dad started the business in 1952,” Delton explained.
“Way back then we had a kill floor and scalded animals for people to come and pick up. We kept adding buildings over the years. I remember one construction job, my sisters, Ramona and Sally, and their friends were roller skating on the concrete pad. People thought we were putting in a roller rink. We then started processing and freezing meat and added a bigger cooler. Last year we built a new processing room and bought a vacuum packer. This has helped us to sell meat as retail, as the meat last twice as long with the vacuum packer. I don’t really think people really know that we sell retail beef and hog products at the store,” Hope remarked.
Over the years Delton has seen the same customers come back year after year, from north to Champaign and south to the border. He has seen a few different types of animals come through for processing, including elk, bear and antelope. The latest interest has been in different types of deer sausage becoming very popular. “The butchering process is a little different than just processing. We butcher three days a week and there is always a State inspector on the premises when butchering. As times change and we need different things we will add as needed.” Delton has lived on the same property since he moved with his family, when he was five years old. Besides the short stent when he was drafted, he has always lived in the same home, one and half miles west of Louisville on Vandalia Road.