Business in Canada just makes sense for Holger Rudolph, who together with his wife Karin owns Rudolph’s Pure Sausage in Telkwa.
His passion in creating quality meat products and various sausages and salami’s began when he was little. Growing up on a farm in Germany that produced barley, wheat, and oats, and granola, they’d use the barley and wheat to feed their 60 sows and piglets. Those piglets, once they reached the ideal weight, were then sold to the butcher.
After high school, he spent two years in and out of the classroom in a joint educational process that not only taught you the theory but gave you practical experience as well, he said.
For two more years he’d be off to an advanced sausage making and butchery course before taking a position in a popular establishment for three years.
“What I did a lot in Germany was salami,” Rudolph said. “It was very popular where I’m from, the old-style salami.”
In 1987, he again dove back into studies to perfect his craft even more, heading to Frankfurt where he took a master class that included more instruction on sausage making and meat cutting as well as teaching the how-to’s of business management.
“After this I started my own business on our family farm,” Rudolph said.
There, they managed both the farm and the in-house butcher farm until 2005 he and his family moved to Canada. Business in Germany was declining as the recession started to hit, and with five supermarkets surrounding their butcher store within five kilometres it wasn’t so nice.
“Business was still good, but not fun anymore … so we thought this is either it or we could do something new,” Rudolph said. “So we decided to go to Canada … try something new.”
Settling in Lac La Hache for two years, it wasn’t until 2007 that they settled in Telkwa as he began working at the Northwest Meat Co-op.
Now defunct, he was at the co-op for about one year and when they closed he set up his own small home based business. They just felt so at home here in the valley that they decided to forge their own path here, he said.
But with only the capacity to make a few salami’s, it was small, much too small for the accustomed bustling businessman, so with that he made the move to supply the farmer’s markets in Terrace and Smithers.
Farmer’s markets, he noted, provided a bit of nostalgia for him as they’d supplied numerous markets back home, and allowed him to create a more diverse product line that quickly won the hearts of many.
“Farmer’s markets were popular in Germany too,” Rudolph said.
Last year, they set their eyes on yet more and in late summer of 2010 they began constructing their new location in Telkwa, with Rudolph himself working on much of the building himself.
“When you grow up on a farm you learn many different things,” Rudolph said. “You do many things by yourself.”
And while he’s busily creating a customer base that stretches from Burns Lake to Terrace, in the future he’s hoping on introducing some of the more old-style German recipes that he’s laid to rest for now, instead tailoring his sausage recipes and salamis for a more Canadian appeal. In Germany they had around 90 different kinds of sausage; here, he’s noticed around 40.
“Next year we might have much more different things,” Rudolph said.
But working in Canada has added its own unique flavour in its own right, he said. For example, this week he’s looking to create sausage and salami’s using bison meat, and many of his salami’s started with elk and venison cuts.
Part of his job has, occassionally, been identifying other’s sausage and trying to recreate it, a process he’s had a lot of fun with.
“Basically, I can do everything with sausage,” he said. “We can create new kinds of sausages too, why not?”
Looking at the three months in operation, he’s glad he chose to do business in Telkwa, continuing a passion fostered long ago on a farm in Germany.