In 1946, a group of Goldsboro businessmen organized the Wayne Cold Storage, Inc. for the purpose of operating a freezer locker to provide cold storage and food processing facilities for farmers and other individual customers. Their plant supervisor, Waitus Worrell, utilized some of the coolers for the purpose of curing country hams, a hobby that he was very well known for amongst friends and neighbors in Goldsboro. Each holiday season, Waitus would give out his country hams to his friends and family to enjoy and serve at Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas parties. Year after year, Waitus began to receive more and more requests for these delicious hams.
In 1963, as more people had started to buy their own freezers, Waitus Worrell bought the company and changed its name to WayCo Ham Company, as it was situated in the heart of Wayne County. He continued curing hams as he always had, using his family’s recipe, which is a perfect balance of salt, brown sugar, seasonings, and time.
Waitus Worrell passed away in 1978, leaving WayCo Ham Company under the guidance of his son, Tony Worrell, who began working with the company in 1968. Tony managed the family business for decades, and then was joined in 2006 by his son, George Worrell, who grew up working in the business. Today, George Worrell is the President of WayCo Ham Company.
WayCo Ham Company has been salt-curing and dry-aging its country hams using the same exact methods and ingredients as Waitus did in 1946. The company entered their ham in its first ham show in 1953 at the National Institute of Locker and Freezer Provisioners Convention, where it competed against hams from all over the country. The company won first prize, as well as the next four years, and thus was awarded a permanent trophy in 1957 for having placed first in the ham show for five successive years.
WayCo Ham Company has continued to have success at ham shows and George Worrell was happy to recently accept another first place on its behalf. In March of 2010 at the National Country Ham Association (NCHA) ham competition in Asheville, NC, WayCo was awarded Grand Champion in the Country Ham division.
WayCo Hams – a family tradition!