It took more than 61k gallons of water to quell the flames that subsumed Harper’s Country Hams in Hickman County, Kentucky Wednesday morning.
Harper’s is famous in the region for producing some of the finest country hams on earth. In 2013, the old smoked meat concern saw their finest ham sell for $350k at the Kentucky State Fair.
That’s over $26,000 per pound.
Wednesday morning at 5am, a fire broke out in the smokehouse at Harper’s and quickly grew out of control. Fire fighting agencies from five local counties rushed to the scene to attempt to knock down the blaze but the facility is a total loss.
Harper’s fought back from a separate fire in the late 70s.
In 1995, family patriarch Curtis Harper was murdered at the workplace, and the assailants were never caught. These rural charcutieres have known more than their fare share of sorrow.
I have no doubt the company’s family will regroup, marshal their reserves and wade back into the fray once the smoke settles.
The Harper family homestead that sits adjacent to the business was saved by the firefighters.
Harper’s Country Hams was established in 1952, and over the years has won six grand champion awards at the Kentucky State Fair.
I have a Harper’s ham sitting on the mantle in my kitchen right now. I was planning on preparing it in January of 2018 but with the news breaking out of western Kentucky I may have to break down and bring it to table earlier.