Mellon: Think we serve a purpose
Published 10:56 pm Saturday, April 15, 2017
This might not be the busiest holiday of the year for Joe Mellon and his team at Heavenly Ham, but you could not tell that Friday as they worked to put the finishing touches on more than 100 orders.
While Thanksgiving and Christmas are still far larger holidays in the way of ham orders, the week of Easter remains a big jump in ham business when compared to other weeks of the year.
“This is still a big increase over normal business,” Mellon said Friday. “During the rest of the year — with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas — our lunch business tends to carry us through.”
On Friday, Mellon joined Kelley Cox and Alvin Stimage, in cutting down hindquarters into the large bone-in hams, glazing them with honey and spices and then wrapping them.
It was the glazing though that seemed particularly interesting.
While most home cooks glaze a ham using their oven and slowly basting it over a few hours, Mellon uses something to help speed the process.
With a noticeable “whoosh” sound, Mellon ignites a blowtorch. As he dusts the honey over the ham, he uses the torch to melt and then caramelize the honey to the ham. With a final touch of spice and another pass of the torch, the ham is officially glazed.
The ham is then wrapped and placed in the cooler where it waits to be picked up by the customer.
While the bulk of the Easter business is orders for the 8-to-10-pound large, bone-in hams, Mellon said they also sell another 100 or so smaller hams for those not needing quite as much meat for their Easter lunch or dinner.
But, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, orders for the large hams often will reach 400 in the week leading up to the holidays.
For Joe and his wife, Barbara, who have owned the store since 1995, the holidays are a time to catch up with long-time customers.
“Over the years, we have built a clientele, respect for what we provide,” Mellon said. “Vicksburg and our customers have been very good to us and I like to think that we serve a purpose here in Vicksburg.”