Gray, a fully integrated A&E firm, was on hand to celebrate the grand opening of Clemens Food Group’s new smoked pork operation in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. This marks the second successful project collaboration for the two companies, which recently opened Clemens’ first greenfield operation in Coldwater, Michigan, occupying 650,000-sq.-ft. The Hatfield facility was fast-tracked to completion in 15 months in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clemens Food Group is a sixth-generation, family-owned pork business, which got its start in Hatfield, Pa. more than 125 years ago and is just 20-30 miles from Philadelphia—and a 20-minute drive from my house. Once known as just Hatfield Packing to the locals—or “Hatfield” at the grocery store, Hatfield brand products over the years have been the pork products of choice unless you had a farm and processed your own pork. Indeed, having a pork producer in your “back yard” very much felt like family, and Hatfield brand products were always associated with the pride that comes with locally produced food.

Today, Clemens Food Group maintains the concept of family farms, with a division, Country View Family Farms, which is its hog production and procurement division with more than 250 company-owned and independent family farms throughout Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Clemens’ new operation

The Hatfield greenfield facility is designed with segregation and sanitation controls for the separation of incoming raw ingredients to the finished RTE area. Floor coatings and door colors are indicative of hygiene areas, and there is automation in packing (robots, automatic palletizing, etc.).

Gray also designed and built an isolated viewing corridor for customers of the RTE product lines. In addition, the new operation features a 4,800-ton ammonia refrigeration system to support the process. There is a catwalk in the engine room for increased safety and control of ammonia system and hand valves.

The new facility consists of several processing areas for sausage and bacon processing. For example, the building provides space for raw receiving, sausage formulation, sausage cooking and sausage primary packaging/secondary packaging. If you’re a bacon lover, Clemens has met the market challenge. The facility has key areas for bacon production: raw receiving, bacon processing, bacon smoking, bacon chiller, bacon press-and-slice and primary/secondary packaging.

“This project is another testament to the excellence created when relationships are at the forefront,” says Stephen Gray, president and CEO, Gray, Inc. “Our team and the Clemens team are like family. Through this relationship we were able to navigate the challenges of not only a traditional project, but also the added pressures of COVID-19, and still create a great facility.”

“Clemens Food Group operates with our core values of ethics, integrity, and stewardship always at the forefront,” says Craig Edsill, CEO of Clemens Food Group. “We are pleased to work with great companies, like Gray, that do the same. The Hatfield North Expansion project is key to the growth of our company and our impact on the communities where we live and work. It utilizes best-in-class quality and food safety systems and design to provide our customers with high quality, innovative products. We are thankful to each and every person who helped build this excellent facility.”