Story and photos by RODNEY D. BOAM
Things were really cooking at Papa Jay’s Jerky International headquarters in Clifton as Christmas got closer.
In preparation of the holidays they doubled their jerky production to 200 lbs. of locally grown USDA approved beef a day.
It takes 15 hours to cut, cook, flavor, package in vacuumed sealed plastic packages then label it, said Mary Penrod, who owns the company with her husband Richard. Richard works as a physical therapist in Logan. The jerky company employs 10 people part time.
Papa Jay’s is Clifton’s only gas and convenience store where the meat is cut, cooked and packaged. The Penrods have been running the show since Mary’s father, Jay Moyle and founder of the jerky line, died in 2004. Using the old family recipe, the meat is packaged moist and not as tough to eat as dried jerky.
After all, it was the same meat snack Jay Moyle used to make, first in a gutted out old refrigerator, said Mary Penrod. West Side residents, as well as those passing through on their way to Twin Lakes Reservoir in the summer, and at other times try the jerky.
Today the meat snack comes in seven different flavors, from mild honey to a scorpion pepper. Scorpion pepper was at one time the hottest or most pungent peppers found. The pepper is so hot, people who handle it wear chemical masks and body suits.
Over the past few years the famous jerky makers have broadened their offerings, especially availability, by adding online sales which gives them worldwide distribution.
“The jerky offers some claim to fame for the community,” Mary said. “It’s something nice for people, that’s what we do. If we didn’t have the jerky, it would really be hard to continue the store on a positive cash-flow basis.”
Mary said the summer months are better than the rest of the year.
“With people heading to Twin Lakes or other summer outings stopping by for staples,” she said. “It’s especially hard in the winter months.”
The store, open Monday-Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., serves largely as a place to pick up the “forgotten stuff.” That is, customers can stop by Papa Jay’s after driving home, often from Preston or Logan from work or other activities, and realizing they forgot that gallon of milk, or chips or headache remedy.
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