Whatever Happened To Farmer Peet’s Meats?
From the 1800s up until the 1990s, anyone who grew up in Michigan enjoyed the lip-smackin' meats from Farmer Peet's. The Bonanza Hams, Hickory Sticks, sausages.....and their famous “Repeeter” bacon.
So after over 100 years of eatin' Peet's meats, where did they go?
Peet Packing had been based in the Saginaw County town of Chesaning since the company's creation in 1886. Originally called the G.M. Peet City Meat Market, generations of the Peet family kept the company thriving for 109 years. They cranked out bacon, different varieties of franks, hams, sausages, canned lard & shortnin', sandwich meats, and bologna...and Michiganders literally ate 'em up...day after day, years after year.
At Peet's peak, they had packing plants not only in Chesaning, but also in Bay City and Grand Rapids.
Increasing costs were having a strain on Peet Packing and they were feeling the pinch in the early 1990s. Then along comes former Detroit Tiger pitcher Denny McLain. He and a partner bought the Peet company - and fans of both Farmer Peet and McLain had high hopes for a resurgence of the company. But it wasn't to happen.
They purchased Peet on January 20, 1994.....a year and a half later, on June 1, 1995, Peet closed for good, putting 250 people out of work. What happened?
According to Crain's Detroit Business, McLain and his partner stole pension money as they “siphoned off $3.1 million from the fund to a shell corporation”. The fund had over 12 million dollars, sucked down to 9 million after McLain and partner took over.
The two were convicted and McLain was sentenced to prison for 8 years and 1 month, on charges of “conspiracy, mail fraud, theft of pension, and money laundering”. He was out after six years...he maintains to this day that he wasn't aware of any wrongdoing that may have been committed by him or his partner.
J&J Smoke Meats in Cadillac picked up the company where Farmer Peet left off.
In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery below, full of Farmer Peet memories!
REMEMBERING FARMER PEET