A note from Andrea:
Freeze drying has actually been around since the 15th century. The ancient Incan's technique was fairly rudimentary at best. The concept of freeze drying is somewhat simple, though. These days, we have machines to do the work for us.
Take a specimen (anything with a cellular structure) and freeze it. Now, with the specimen remaining frozen, remove all of the moisture using an out-of-this world vacuum pressure.
My family's history with freeze drying started back in the 90s. Back in those days, mom was was better know as "The Flower Lady," of Western Michigan. She ran a very successful floral service. In the early 2000s, Cathy pursued a different passion: taxidermy. Her lone north star machine sat covered in dust until she was approached with an odd request: could she freeze dry turkey heads? Sure, she knew everything about freeze drying flowers, but this was completely different. Well, good thing my mom is a quick learner because she soon found herself freeze drying for the taxidermy industry.
I came on board in 2011 with the pretense of just doing web work. I thought I would focus on the web stuff and dabble into the freeze drying, and Cathy would continue with her traditional taxidermy and rug work.
Well, the old saying goes, "you make a plan and God laughs." This couldn't be more true. Cathy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and she decided she didn't want to spend her remaining time on earth doing taxidermy. At that point it was sink or swim for me. I took over operations full time and was running one freeze dry machine. Cathy battled cancer for nearly seven years, and died October 1, 2018 at the young age of 60.
These days, its only me and my four North Star machines running the show. But, let's give credit where its due: my Dad, who is my mechanic, my Mom, my teacher, confidante, mentor, and basically was my world, and a whole lot of other family help to keep this "show on the road."
After all this is still a family-run business.
I am a federally-licensed and Michigan state-licensed taxidermist, member of the Michigan Taxidermist Association, Pennsylvania Taxidermist Association, United Taxidermists Association, National Taxidermists Association, & United Deer Farmers of Michigan.
My expertise is the artistry of freeze drying.